Skagit Wildlife Area Headquarters Unit to remain closed to public


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WDFW statement

The Skagit Wildlife Area Headquarters Unit (Wiley Slough) remains closed until further notice. For access updates, please see our Skagit Headquarters Unit webpage or review the project webpage for background information.

Contact:, 425-775-1311
Media Contact: Chase Gunnell, 360-704-0258

Following heavy rains and flooding last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has determined that the Skagit Wildlife Area Headquarters Unit near Conway will remain closed to public access until further notice due to safety concerns. Walk-in access is prohibited.

WDFW hopes to reopen the Skagit Headquarters Unit to the public later in 2024 once critical public safety and habitat protection work is complete.

The area—also known as Wiley Slough—is popular for water access, waterfowl hunting, and bird watching and has been closed for construction since spring 2023. The construction project includes elevating dikes to improve protection of neighboring lands from flooding, renovating the boat launch on Freshwater Slough, and installing an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible loading ramp. Habitat restoration planting is also underway.

The project is not complete, hazards remain on the construction site, and recent rainfall and high water in the South Fork Skagit River have increased concerns about erosion and damage to soft surfaces including dike trails, a temporary flood barrier, parking areas, the boat launch, and staged construction materials. Use of heavy machinery and other active construction work will resume in spring and may continue through early fall.

Area users are encouraged to recreate on other nearby WDFW-managed lands, including the Fir Island Farm Reserve Unit (no dogs allowed), North Fork Access Area (at the end of Rawlins Road on Fir Island), Leque Island Unit, and Samish Unit. Directions to these and other areas can be found at:

Watercraft launched from other areas may access the adjacent Skagit Estuary and Island wildlife area units as well as intertidal waters and public tidelands on the Skagit Headquarters Unit, but may not land or disembark on, anchor or affix watercraft to dikes, the temporary flood barrier, or other lands or features above the high tide line on this unit.

Since 2016, multiple high-water events have overtopped dikes in the area, resulting in temporary inundation of public and private property. This construction project will raise and widen the dikes in accordance with Army Corps of Engineers standards. More information is available on this webpage.

The Skagit Headquarters Unit was acquired by WDFW in the 1950's to provide agricultural enhancements for wintering waterfowl and increased hunting opportunity. With the Endangered Species Act listing of many salmon species including Puget Sound Chinook, habitat management has since shifted to restore estuary habitat while continuing to provide access for hunting and wildlife watching.

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.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or