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Blanchard

Basic Stats

Blanchard Launches
Elevation:  1,252'
GPS Coordinates:  48º36'34"N  122º25'34"W

Blanchard Landing Zone
Elevation:  10'
GPS Coordinates:  48º35'34"N  122º25'15"W

Site Rating: Unofficially a P2
Flight Types: Thermal, Ridge-Lift
Best Seasons to Fly: Spring and Fall
Best Time to Fly: Noon to Sunset
Wind Direction:  West and South facing
                        launches, works in anything
                        except strong east or north.

Hazards:  There is a dip between the top of
               the west launch and "the lip" at
               the bottom.  In light air, beware
               of "hitting the lip" caused by 
               sitting back in your harness
               too early.


photo by Ross Jacobson

 Blanchard, located at the north end of the Skagit valley, is an excellent site for P2 + pilots.
Overlooking Samish Bay, the view from the west launch includes the San Juan and Gulf
Islands.  Moving to the south launch two hundred feet away, completes the panorama
from the blue waters of the San Juan Islands to the ever changing patchwork quilt of
farmland tucking in the northern Skagit Valley.  It's a great area to explore in the unlikely
event you are unable to launch.  There may not be a more relaxing plact to fly.

Because of its easy access and short 20 minute turn around, Blanchard is good, even if
only for sledders.  With a driver you can do sled rides all day, so it's a good place for
newer pilots to practice launches and landings.

 
Flying towards San Juan Islands.
Photo by Nancy Kennedy

 

Blanchard Landing Zone

  Photo by Johnna Jones

  The LZ is private property, but the owner has given permission to land there, except when the hay is tall and ready to cut.  Please be sensitive to the concerns of this property owner, which means:  don't block the driveway, stay away from the house (no fly-overs), don't block the road, and don't bother the neighbors.  Keep the number of parked cars to a minimum.  There is additional parking along the road near the organic garden a quarter of a mile --at the first intersection--to the south.  If you were to upset this very gracious property owner, you would also incur the wrath of many pilots.  If you have to bail-out in any of the other fields, we do not have permission, so bunch up your gear and get out of there as quietly as possible.  Beware of crisscrossing power lines to the various farmhouses. 

Getting to Blanchard

From Seattle:  Take Alger Exit #240 off I-5.
   Head west on Samish Lake Road for approx.
   1/2 mile.  Take your first hard left (more 
   than 90 degrees) onto Barrel Springs Road.
   Approximately 6/10 of a mile, turn right on
   Blanchard Hill Road.  It's a dirt road marked
   by a large clear cut.  On the gravel road you
   will pass by trailhead parking for Lizard
   and Lily Lakes.  After approx. 1.6 miles, 
   turn left on gravel road (T intersection).
   There is an old, rusty looking barrel gate,
   swung back on this road.  We've never
   seen it closed.  Go approx. 2.2 more miles
   to the end of the road.
 


View of one of Blanchard's two launches
Photo by Ross Jacobson

 

From LZ (about 20 minutes):  Go south from
   LZ on Chuckanut, take your first left.  Go to
   stop sign at two carved bears on a stump.
   Turn right onto Colony Road.  Stay on
   Colony for a few miles until you come to
   Woods Road (a T intersection across from
   a blue barn with a white corral fence). 
   Turn left onto Woods Road and go to first
   intersection.  Bearing right onto Barrel
   Springs Road, continue on to Blanchard Hill
   Road, a DNR maintained gravel road. 
   Follow the directions to the left to launch.

Copyright 2016 by Northwest Paragliding Club