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National Wildlife Refuge

Dunlin are softball-sized shorebirds that spend the winter feeding on the rich mudflats within Willapa National Wildlife Refuge/Photo courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach
3888 State Route 101
Ilwaco, WA   98624
E-mail: willapa@fws.gov
Phone Number: 360-484-3482
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Dunlin rest on the mudflats of Willapa Bay/Photo courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
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There are miles of foot trails, one on refuge lands and the others on the adjacent state park. These trails are flooded with deep water throughout the rainy season (October through May), so plan accordingly.

Located approximately 1.5 miles north of the refuge headquarters, Teal Slough is a great place to take a short hike. Walk two-tenths of a mile up the main logging road to the entrance of a spur road on the north side to find a small remnant of old growth forest. This unit is open from dawn to dusk, but please do not block the gate.

Located off Sandridge Road at the end of 67th Place, the Riekkola and Porter Point Units provides a level hike to observe waterfowl, raptors, and other wildlife. A wide variety of birds are drawn to this area, with its fresh water wetlands on one side and tidal salt marsh on the other. Open daily from dawn to dusk except during the Washington State waterfowl season when access is limited to Tuesday and Friday. Caution: No large vehicle turn-around.

Several miles of hiking trails wind their way through the shore pine forests and beaches of the Leadbetter Unit at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula.

Biologists have recorded over 100 species of birds on Leadbetter Point. Fall and spring migrations bring dizzying concentrations of sandpipers, sanderlings, plovers, dowitchers, and other shorebirds to its shores and tideflats, while dunlin peak in the winter. Peregrine falcons and bald eagles are among the most common raptors at Leadbetter Point. Occasionally a pure white snowy owl can be seen perched on a log during winter.

The threatened western snowy plover reaches the northern limit of its breeding range in Washington. Leadbetter Point is the largest of only two remaining nesting areas in the state. These small, cryptic shorebirds nest on the upper ocean beaches in small scrapes in the sand. Their well-camouflaged eggs can be inadvertently stepped on by people or run over by vehicles. Incubating adults are easily frightened off their nests, allowing sand to cover the eggs or predators to destroy them. A portion of Leadbetter Point along the ocean beach side is closed to all public entry, including foot travel, generally from March through September, to protect the nesting snowy plovers.

Long Island can be accessed only by boat. Boat launches are available at the Nahcotta Mooring basin in Nahcotta and on U.S. Highway 101 at refuge headquarters. Visitors can observe or photograph wildlife while canoeing, kayaking, or hiking. There is no drinkable water on the island, so bring your own.

Hike along the beaches on the west side of Long Island or the roads to Baldwin Slough and Paradise Point. From the boat landing on the south end of the island, walk north along the main road for 2½ miles to the Trail of the Ancient Cedars, a ¾ mile loop trail in the awe-inspiring old growth Cedar Grove. Please stay on the trails.

High Point Meadow is a good place to observe deer and elk. Stay quiet and alert for a glimpse of a bear as you hike the trails and roads; look for birds on the shore, at Smoky Hollow and Baldwin Slough, and while passing through the forest.

There are five primitive campgrounds on Long Island with a total of 20 campsites. Camp only in designated campsites. Sites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Leaving items unattended to hold a campsite is prohibited. Camp "bear friendly" by hanging food and packing out your garbage. Adopt the "leave no trace" ethic and burn only downed wood in the existing fire pits.

Sleek river otters and muskrat glide quietly through the waters of the Lewis and Porter's Point units. Visitors can view wildlife within the wetland units and enjoy a sweeping view of the south end of Willapa Bay by walking along the outer gravel road.

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