About the Refuge

Pierce - from beacon Rock - Lyn Topinka

Pierce National Wildlife Refuge is located in southwest Washington within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It encompasses 329 acres of wetlands and uplands along the north shore of the Columbia River immediately west of the town of North Bonneville.


In 1983 Mrs. Lena Pierce donated 319 acres of her ranch to provide sanctuary for wintering waterfowl, particularly Canada geese. Seven years later the US Fish and Wildlife Service was able to purchase the remaining ten acres of the Pierce Ranch to create what the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge is today.
For a relatively small landmass the Pierce Refuge is rich in natural resources. The habitats of the Refuge include wetlands, grasslands, riparian forests, deciduous woodlands of ash and Oregon white oak, coniferous forests, streams, seeps, and springs.

Hardy Creek, which bisects the Refuge from east to west, supports one of the last remaining runs of chum salmon on the Columbia River. In addition to chum salmon, the creek also supports small remnant runs of coho, steelhead and chinook salmon, as well as a variety of native species of freshwater fish.

The Refuge is home to one of the largest remaining populations of a State threatened plant species Columbia yellowcress (Rorippa columbiae). The wetlands of Pierce Refuge also host an experimental population of State endangered western pond turtles. Multiple partners have worked to raise young turtles in captivity and release them into secure and suitable habitat with the intent of creating new self-sustaining populations. This project has so far been successful due to the multi-agency participation as well as the undisturbed nature of the habitat at Pierce. Pierce NWR is a small landmass and isn't served by any public trails or roads. Access to the Refuge is only allowed by special guided tour. Stay tuned to the Pierce Home Page for announcements about special spring bird walks. See the “Get Involved” page for more information on how to help conserve and restore this amazing natural resource.