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December 24, 2003
Contact: John Garrett, (360) 445-4441

Culvert replacement project closes access road, parking on portion of Skagit Wildlife Area

OLYMPIA - Public access to a large portion of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Skagit Wildlife Area will be restricted in early January during a construction project to replace old culverts across the main access road.

The culvert replacement project will mean closing the access roads and parking lots at the Headquarters Unit of the Skagit Wildlife Area to all public use beginning Jan. 5 and lasting for about two weeks, said wildlife area manager John Garrett.

"The culverts are in poor condition, and it is absolutely essential that they be replaced as soon as possible," Garrett said.

Workers will install three new sections of culvert pipe, each five feet in diameter and 60 feet long. The culverts will be placed at the same location of the existing structure, which carries water away from about 2,500 acres of agricultural land on Fir Island.

"We will be using a lot of heavy equipment during the process to remove the old rusted culverts and install the new ones," Garrett said. "It's important for people to stay clear of the area during construction."

The 175-acre Headquarters Unit is a popular destination for both waterfowl hunters and birdwatchers during the winter months. Garrett said hunters have several other sites available to access the Skagit Wildlife Area. The best boat launching option is at the Skagit County Park in Conway. Hunters can launch there and access the Headquarters unit, which is about one mile downstream.

Hunters and boaters who want more information on alternative access options can contact Garrett, (360) 445-4441.