Skagit Wildlife Area Fir Island Farms Reserve Unit
This managed agricultural land (225 acres on the south side of Fir Island Road) was purchased in 1995 to create an upland snow goose reserve. This non-hunted Game Reserve is managed to provide a winter feeding and resting area for snow geese adjacent to the Skagit Bay estuary. The management of this site occurs through a lease agreement with a local farmer who plants a commercial agricultural crop that is harvested, and an over-wintered cover crop of winter wheat for snow goose forage.
This area is part of the tidal delta of the Skagit River flanked by Dry Slough on the east and Brown’s Slough on the west. In the late 1800’s, following human settlement, dikes were built and the land was converted to agricultural uses.
Following the Endangered Species Act listing of Chinook salmon as threatened in 1999, and the subsequent development of the Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan, this site was identified as a prime location for the implementation of a restoration project to improve salmon habitat. During the spring and summer of 2015, year one of a two-year salmon habitat recovery project began. This project restores approximately 130 acres of the site to intertidal estuary while maintaining 100 acres of agricultural land for snow goose forage. This Unit is a popular wildlife watching site, and has a gravel road and parking area with two ADA parking spots.
Map and Driving Directions
Access Site #1
Driving Directions From Interstate 5, take Exit 221 (Lake McMurray/Conway) and turn west. Drive 0.1 mile. Turn right (west) onto Fir Island Road. Drive west 3.2 miles. Turn left (south) at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sign. Drive 0.5 mile to parking area.
Parking/Restroom Information There is a parking area on this Unit.
Other Information This area is closed during hours of darkness.
The area will also be closed during the Spring and Summer of 2016 to complete the estuary restoration project.
The Fir Island Farms Snow Goose Reserve attracts thousands of snow geese from October until April. There is a short trail along the dike offering views of Skagit Bay and opportunities for shorebird and waterfowl viewing. No hunting is allowed at this site.
This site is currently undergoing some major habitat changes. Approximately 130 acres of the site are being restored to intertidal estuary. The first year of construction has been completed and the dike set back project will occur during the summer of 2016. To learn more click on the link above.
Various shorebird, waterfowl, and raptor species to include Bald eagles, northern harriers, red tail hawks are common here throughout the winter. An active bald eagle nest is located in a tree on the west side of the entrance road.
A Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass
is required on all WDFW lands. Learn more at DiscoverPass.wa.gov