The Whale Trail

Organizational History

January 14, 2002
Springer (A73) Rescued

Springer (A73) Rescued

Orphaned orca A73 Springer discovered near Seattle. Six months later she was successfully rescued, rehabilitated and reunited with her family on the north end of Vancouver Island. Orphan Orca Fund leads community fundraising efforts.

June 27, 2005
SRKW Listed as Endangered

SRKW Listed as Endangered

Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) are listed as endangered by NOAA Fisheries. If current population trend worsens or stays the same, J, K and L pods could go extinct in as few as 100 years.

January 20, 2008
Whale Trail Founded

Whale Trail Founded

Core team meets for the first time. Founding team includes NOAA Fisheries, WDFW, People for Puget Sound, Seattle Aquarium, and Whale Museum. Mission and goals established. Sixteen inaugural sites selected. 

January 20, 2010

First Signs Installed

Whale Trail inaugurated at Salt Creek Recreation Area with welcome by Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. Signs funded by ALEA grant.

June 16, 2010
Non-Profit Status

Non-Profit Status

Recognized as a 501c3 non-profit organization.

June 17, 2010
Gray Whale Tail

First Orca Talk

John Calambokidis launches our long-running lecture series with a talk about gray whales, held at the Duwamish Longhouse

October 16, 2010

PTMSC Sign, and Orca Bingo!

Our largest sign is hung on the exterior wall of PTMSC. We invent Orca Bingo and play for the first time at the sign dedication!

March 10, 2011
Washington State Ferry Signs

Washington State Ferry Signs

Two signs posted on every Washington State ferry and one at every terminal!

August 13, 2011

Whale Trail Shuttle Pioneered on San Juan Island

Shuttles to shore based viewing sites, based on where the whales are!

April 19, 2012
West Seattle Signs Added

West Seattle Signs Added

Four new signs funded by City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF)

April 21, 2012
Orca Steward Program Piloted

Orca Steward Program Piloted

Citizen steward training in West Seattle funded by City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund

July 13, 2012

Celebrate Springer 2012

Tenth anniversary of Springer’s homecoming celebrated in Seattle, Vancouver, and Telegraph Cove, BC

June 6, 2013

Whale Trail Hosts Erich Hoyt

Author and marine conservationist gives his first lecture in PNW in more than 40 years.

July 14, 2013
Springer’s first calf!

Springer’s first calf!

Springer is spotted with her first calf on the central BC coast! The calf survives her first year and is named Spirit.

August 17, 2013
Kalaloch – First Sign on Pacific Coast

Kalaloch – First Sign on Pacific Coast

New signs including Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park (ONP) installed in partnership with OCNMS and ONP.

May 16, 2014
Orca Tour 2014

Orca Tour 2014

TWT produces lecture tour featuring Erich Hoyt. We travel from Saturna BC to Monterey CA – 9 cities, 4 states, 2 countries in 2 weeks. Co-hosted by SIMRES, ACS Oregon, PTMSC, OCNMS, NMS West Coast Region and the Georgia Strait Alliance. We travel with Mike, a life-size replica of J26!

November 29, 2014
First signs in California

First signs in California

New signs at Point Lobos, Point Reyes, and Santa Cruz – southern end of SRKW range!! Funded by NMS West Coast Region.

February 16, 2015
British Columbia Team Forms

British Columbia Team Forms

We partner with BC Cetacean Sighting Network to promote shore-based whale watching in BC.

July 17, 2015

First signs in BC

Interpretive panels installed in Vancouver, Southern Gulf Islands, Uclulet and Telegraph Cove. Southern Gulf Islands fund and install custom Whale Trail markers.

August 25, 2015

Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership

The Whale Trail included in signage project on southern Oregon Coast

December 8, 2015

Exhibitor at Marine Mammal Biennial in SF CA

December 28, 2015
Orca Tour 2015

Orca Tour 2015

A new tour with Erich Hoyt, featuring stops in Saturna, Sydney, Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle.

January 22, 2016
New Signs on Central California Coast

New Signs on Central California Coast

Cayucos, Avila, Los Osos/Baywood, Oceano Dunes/Nipomo, Montana de Oro State Park! Partners include Stewardship Travel, Highway One Discovery Route, California State Parks and more.

July 11, 2017
Springer seen with Second Calf

Springer seen with Second Calf

DFO team spots Springer, Spirit and a new calf in Whale Channel!

July 21, 2017
Celebrate Springer 2017

Celebrate Springer 2017

Team gathers on Vashon Island and Telegraph Cove to celebrate 15th anniversary!

August 1, 2017
Five new signs in BC

Five new signs in BC

Funded by Patagonia/World Wildlife Fund

August 1, 2017
3 new signs in Washington

3 new signs in Washington

Faye Bainbridge, Point Robinson and Point Defiance. Funded by WDFW Enforcement.

October 15, 2017
La Ruta de las Ballenas

La Ruta de las Ballenas

Mexico team forms!

June 1, 2018

Gov. Inslee forms Task Force on SRKW Recovery

Director Donna joins Task Force and Vessel Impacts Working Group

August 11, 2018

First sign on Oregon Coast

At beautiful Don Davis Park, Partners: American Cetacean Society Oregon Chapter, Hallmark Resorts and City of Newport

August 19, 2018
New Web Site Launches

New Web Site Launches

We start our second decade with a new look! Thanks to Lucky 7 Foundation, NOAA Fisheries, developers Casey McSpadden and Jamie Shairrick, and volunteers Faye Kennedy, Anderson, Karen Sinclair and many others for making it possible.

August 25, 2018
Northern California Signs Added

Northern California Signs Added

Hollings Award from National Marine Sanctuary Foundation funds 11 new signs!

VIEWING GUIDE

View our guide on how to watch marine animals from shore.

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