The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is developing a new management plan for the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area in northwestern Washington. The plan will provide management direction for nearly 2,774 acres in King and Snohomish counties.
The Snoqualmie Wildlife Area consists of six units that are situated within the Snohomish watershed, including the Skykomish and Snohomish rivers, which join to form the Snohomish River. Habitats include estuaries, various types of wetlands, forested uplands, and agricultural lands. The various units contain a wide range of wildlife including waterfowl, eagles and chinook salmon.
WDFW acquired the wildlife area properties between 1964 and 2008, using federal and state funding. The department primarily manages the wildlife area to preserve and enhance wildlife and their habitats, and to provide opportunities for hunting, and wildlife-related recreational opportunities.
The new management plan will address the status of wildlife species and their habitat, ongoing restoration efforts and public recreation opportunities at the Snoqualmie wildlife area.
- Cherry Valley encompasses 386 acres of forest and grassland in the Snoqualmie River floodplain, one mile north of Duvall. This unit consists of deciduous and coniferous forests, wetlands and uplands. The unit also includes some farm fields, grass meadows, streams and hedgerows. The Cherry Valley unit is located on one of the lowest points in the Snoqualmie River valley, so flooding is common from mid-November to April. The department has implemented projects to restore salmon populations in the two creeks that flow through the unit. Recreation on this unit includes pheasant and waterfowl hunting, recreational dog training, and wildlife and bird viewing.
- Corson Natural Unit includes 160 acres of river bottomland just north of Lake Stevens in a rural residential area. It was last logged and cleared in the 1950s. The previous owner donated the property to WDFW in 1976 for wildlife habitat enhancement and non-hunting public use. The unit contains several large ponds and approximately seven acres of fields that provide forage for birds and waterfowl. Corson Natural unit also contains second growth forest with deciduous and coniferous trees. Catherine Creek cuts through the northeastern corner of the unit. In the last 15 years, volunteer groups have cleared the alder trees and brush and planted about eight acres of coniferous trees.
- The Crescent Lake unit totals 360 acres of forest, sloughs and farm fields, located three miles south of Monroe. The property was purchased by WDFW in 1974 for waterfowl and pheasant hunting, wildlife conservation, and wildlife-related recreation. Crescent Lake is a 10-acre oxbow lake that was once part of the Skykomish River. Riley Slough runs through another former river channel and enters into the Snoqualmie River near the northwest corner. The unit also contains a 25-acre marsh and about 215 acres of deciduous woodland. About 100 acres are farmed through sharecrop agreements, which provide forage and cover for wildlife and waterfowl. There is a network of trails through the forest and fields to provide areas for hiking and nature observation. A 200-foot long footbridge built across the lake in 1978 completes the loop. There is a gravel parking area with reader boards at the north and south ends of the property.
- Spencer Island is located in the Snohomish River estuary just east of Everett. Through a joint acquisition and co-management agreement in 1989, WDFW owns 175 acres and Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Department owns 240 acres. The island is a flat, grassy wetland complex ringed by mixed forest that provides waterfowl and wildlife habitat. In 2004, the dike was breached on the WDFW property, on the northwest side of the island providing a tidal influence to the area. Numerous community volunteer projects have restored an elevated hiking trail that is approximately 1 mile long. This trail provides waterfowl hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. Various salmon recovery groups are working together to continue restoration of this estuarine system.
- The Stillwater unit, which includes 456 acres, is located three miles north of the town of Carnation. It was purchased in 1970 for hunting, wildlife conservation, and wildlife-related recreation. This unit contains a mix of active farm fields, forest habitats, wetland and stream drainages with hedgerows and fallow grassland meadows. Seasonal flooding is common and can inundate the entire unit. Stillwater has three small oxbow lakes – two that are connected to Harris Creek during high flow events and one that is a separate drainage. Harris Creek runs through the center of the property before emptying into the Snoqualmie River. This unit also has 8,500 feet of Snoqualmie River shoreline. Waterfowl and pheasant hunting are very popular activities as are wildlife viewing and hiking. King County Parks and Recreation Department owns and manages the Snoqualmie Valley Trail which skirts the unit’s eastern boundary. There are two parking areas a mile apart and adjacent to Highway 203 with information boards.
- Ebey Island is located south of the Highway 2 trestle between the Snohomish River and Ebey Slough. It is 1,237 acres in size and consists of forested swamp and grassland. The forested portion was logged in the 1890s and reforested naturally into one of the few remaining Sitka spruce swamps in the Snohomish River estuary. The unit contains a mix of farm fields, fallow grass lands, and Baltic rush, and is divided by the forks of Deadwater Slough, which spans the unit’s length, north to south. There is also a network of ponds, drainage ditches, and sinkholes throughout the unit. Outdoor activities include pheasant and waterfowl hunting, wildlife viewing, and walking along the Ebey Slough dike road. Much of the unit is closed for waterfowl nesting and rearing habitat during the non-hunting season. Public access is very limited. There are no established walking trails or footbridges on the unit.
The public is invited to participate in the planning process, through public workshops, by sending comments to SnoqualmiePlanning@dfw.wa.gov and by attending Snoqualmie Wildlife Area Advisory Committee meetings.