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
Skagit Bay Estuary Unit
Prior to the 1940s, the USFWS owned 7,425 acres of inter-tidal marsh and second-class tidelands on Skagit Bay. In 1959 land exchange agreement, the federal government conveyed all of its bay ownership to the Washington Department of Game for Columbia white-tailed deer habitat in southwest Washington. With additional acquisitions over the years, WDFW now owns about 13,000 acres of estuary in Skagit, Snohomish and Island counties. There are six access sites (Headquarters, Milltown, Big Ditch, Jensen, North Fork, and Davis Slough) and one boat ramp (Headquarters Unit) for waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, hiking, boating and kayaking.

The Skagit estuary contains critical habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds, fish and other aquatic species. Prior to conversion, the Skagit estuary covered approximately 25,766 acres. It is estimated that 75 percent of the historic estuary habitat has been lost due to dike building, water diversion, and drainage before the turn of the century, and changes in the frequency and magnitude of flood events on the Skagit and Stillaguamish rivers. Upper Skagit River hydroelectric dams have also contributed to the loss of estuary habitat. WDFW is working with the Skagit River System Cooperative to restore natural hydrologic processes in the estuary to benefit salmon, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other aquatic species.

Viewing Opportunities


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

  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • 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 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, following the sign for the boat launch. The estuary can be accessed by going downstream from the boat launch.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    Parking and restrooms are located at the Headquarters boat launch.
    Other Information
    This Unit is closed during hours of darkness.
    Other Information
    Tides and river levels may restrict access. You must carry and be able to understand a tidebook (tides here closely resemble those listed under "Seattle" in Puget Sound tidebooks).
    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
    • Fishing
    • 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.