Wildlife Area Location

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

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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 and other waterbirds. The area is used for waterfowl hunting, fishing, bird dog training and bird watching. The dike-top provides walking access for hunting and bird watching. The trail also attracts dog walkers and joggers. This unit includes a visitor information shelter with seating for about 50 people, a parking lot, and two toilet facilities.

The Headquarters unit was purchased beginning in 1948 with federal Pittman-Robertson funds for waterfowl hunting. Historically the site was managed to provide agricultural enhancements for winter waterfowl forage. With the Endangered Species Act listing of many salmonid species such as Chinook salmon, habitat management has since shifted to restore estuary habitat. The restoration design which included building setback levees, relocating the Wiley Slough tide gate farther inland, and removing part of the perimeter levee allow tidal and river flows to recreate channels and provide additional natural estuary habitat. This project was completed in the fall of 2009.

These changes in land management result in access changes for Wildlife Area users.

  • Pheasants will no longer be released on the Headquarters Unit
  • Seasonally flooded fields now have tidal flooding.
  • Field walk in access are impacted by tides.
  • Waterfowl hunting is limited to boats, dike-tops or hunting on foot during low tides.
  • The loop dike-top trail no longer exists and is replaced with a shorter out and back trail.

Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Eagles
  • Shorebirds
  • Songbirds
  • Wading Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • Wildflowers
  • 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, wildlife viewing and dog training/walking. Waterfowl hunting seasons typically begins with the early goose and youth waterfowl hunt and opens again in mid-October to the end of January.
    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
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    Green Dot Maps
    • Bird watching
    • Boating
    • Dog walking
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • 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.