Wildlife Area Location

Belinda Rotton
21961 Wylie Road
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 445-4441
(360) 445-2093 fax

Wildlife Areas
Skagit Wildlife Area
Headquarters (Skagit) Unit
This 190-acre tidal marsh (estuary) on Fir Island, west of and adjacent to Freshwater Slough, is predominantly vegetated by cattail and sedge and used extensively by waterfowl. To enhance the site for both hunting and viewing opportunities, 100 acres are planted annually with cereal grains (corn, pasture grass and/or barley) by local farmers under sharecrop leases or by wildlife area staff. This unit includes a visitor information shelter with seating for about 50 people, a parking lot, two toilet facilities, 17 footbridges, and holding pens for pheasants released on site for hunting. The area is heavily used for walk-in waterfowl and pheasant hunting, fishing, bird dog training and bird watching. A two-mile loop dike-top walking trail also attracts dog walkers and joggers.

The Headquarters unit was purchased beginning in 1948 with federal Pittman-Robertson funds for pheasant hunting and growing waterfowl forage grains. Management has since shifted to also restoring estuary habitat for Chinook salmon. In 2005, a design was completed to restore 175 acres of this unit to intertidal estuary for salmon and other aquatic species. Building setback levees, relocating the Wiley Slough tide gate farther inland, and removing part of the perimeter levee will allow tidal and river flows to recreate channels and provide additional natural estuary habitat. Future waterfowl hunting will be limited to boats (or hunting on foot only during low tides), the loop dike-top trail will be replaced with a shorter trail, and WDFW is trying to purchase areas for replacement hunting and develop bird watching trails nearby.

Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Eagles
  • Marine Brids
  • Shorebirds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Wading Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Deer
  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    Take Interstate 5 to Exit 221, just south of Mount Vernon in Skagit County. Go west from the freeway and turn right on to Fir Island Road, following the sign for Conway/La Conner. In 1.8 miles, turn left onto Wylie Road and follow for 1 mile to a T-intersection and a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sign. Turn left and follow the signs to either of the two parking lots.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    There are two parking areas, each with a restroom facility.
    Other Information
    This Unit is closed during hours of darkness.
    Unique Features
    This is one of the most popular Units on the Skagit Wildlife Area. Activities include duck hunting, pheasant hunting, wildlife viewing and dog training/walking. Hunting seasons for a variety of game typically go from September 1 to March 15.
    Other Information

    A boat launch at this Unit provides access to the Island Unit and portions of the Skagit River estuary via Freshwater Slough.

    Skagit Wildlife Area Waterfowl Hunting Guide
    Skagit Wildlife Area Management Plan
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    • Bird watching
    • Dog training/trials
    • Hunting
    • Wildlife viewing

    If you are Hunting or Fishing, remember to check all current regulations.

    Activities may include restrictions or require permits. Please see Public Conduct Rules for more information.