|The Chelan Wildlife Area includes about 32,540 acres of land ranging in elevation from 710 feet along the Columbia River to 4,300 feet. Most of the area lies in eastern Chelan County. The White River Unit is located near Lake Wenatchee and the Pateros Unit is located in southwest Okanogan County. WDFW acquired most of the Chelan wildlife Area as a result of a 1963 mitigation agreement with the Chelan County PUD that addressed the wildlife impact of the Rocky Reach Dam project. WDFW manages the area primarily for big game and upland game birds but also manages it for a great diversity of other wildlife species. Wildlife using the area includes Neotropical birds, raptors, upland game birds, bear, cougar, mule deer, and bighorn sheep. The Columbia River (Lake Entiat), adjacent or near much of the wildlife area, attracts thousands of waterfowl and other water birds. Bald and golden eagle nesting territories occur on the wildlife area. Sharp-tailed grouse may be reintroduced on the area in the future.
Shrubsteppe is the predominant habitat type through most of the area. Open Ponderosa pine habitat and denser mixed coniferous forest occur at higher elevations. Riparian vegetation occurs throughout the area’s creek bottoms and in the vicinity of springs. WDFW cultivates up to 100 acres of food plots annually and has restored over 350 acres of abandoned agricultural fields to shrubsteppe habitat. An additional 1,300 acres will be restored between 2009 and 2015.
This area provides a great variety of recreational opportunities including hunting, photography, wildlife viewing, and camping. The wildlife area’s numerous dirt roads closed to motorized vehicles offer good hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.