WDFW seeks public input on recreation at Cowlitz Wildlife Area in Lewis County

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News release

Holly English, 360-489-4253
Media contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is asking for public input about recreation at the Cowlitz Wildlife Area in Lewis County.

Follow the link to the survey to provide feedback. WDFW will use public input from the survey to help inform future planning and management at the wildlife area.

“The Cowlitz Wildlife Area is a destination for many Southwest Washington residents looking to get outdoors,” said Cowlitz Wildlife Area Manager Richard Vanderlip. “This survey will help us better understand how the public uses the area and how to best serve their needs while protecting wildlife and habitat." 

Consisting of approximately 14,200 acres owned by Tacoma Power and separated into eight units, the Cowlitz Wildlife Area is managed to conserve habitat and wildlife and provide recreation opportunities as mitigation for the Mayfield and Mossyrock dams along the Cowlitz River. The area boasts diverse recreational opportunities, including robust fishing opportunities found along the Cowlitz River and on Riffe and Mayfield lakes, hiking, bird- and wildlife-watching, big game and waterfowl hunting, and some dispersed camping.

The landscape also features a variety of habitats, including emergent wetland, riparian and forested wetland, coniferous forest, and mixed deciduous forest. The area is home to a variety of species, including elk, black-tailed deer, pileated woodpeckers, Douglas squirrels, migratory birds, and raptors such as osprey and bald eagles.

WDFW initiated the process of developing a new management plan for the wildlife area in spring 2023. The current management plan is available on WDFW’s website. This planning is informed by WDFW’s 10-year recreation strategy, which was adopted in 2022 and aims to improve visitor access and nature-based recreation experiences while increasing protections for habitat, fish, and wildlife.

“Recreation is a huge part of our current and future land management efforts,” said Holly English, environmental planner with WDFW. “We want to understand how people recreate on WDFW-managed lands so we can work to provide the best possible access for outdoor enthusiasts, while still preserving our natural spaces and the wildlife that calls them home.”

The survey is open through Dec. 31, 2024.

WDFW manages more than a million acres of land and hundreds of water access areas throughout the state. By actively managing lands, restoring habitats, and preserving wild places, the Department serves as stewards for Washington’s natural places, protecting the state’s land and water for its human and wildlife populations.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-855-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.