Visitor Activities

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The salt marsh, brackish marsh, tidal sloughs, mudflats, and coniferous and deciduous forestland of Siletz Bay NWR offer unparalleled estuarine habitat for a panoply of plant and animal species, most of which are observable to even casual visitors. For an in-depth look at the ecological workings of this refuge, consider paddling a kayak or canoe up its sinuous creeks and channels. Twice-daily tides ebb and flow across the estuary, constantly altering the landscape and influencing its inhabitants.

  • Wildlife Viewing

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    The Alder Island Nature Trail is a short (1/2 mile), easy walking trail that winds along the Siletz River and Millport Slough.  It's open from sunrise to sunset and is a wonderful place to look for songbirds and waterfowl using refuge lands. Access the trailhead by turning east off of U.S. Highway 101 onto Millport Slough Lane and into the refuge parking lot. Dogs are not allowed on the nature trail.
    Tips to make watching wildlife enjoyable and rewarding: 

    •Download our Watchable Wildlife guide (PDF 444 KB), consult Oregon Explorer's Watchable Wildlife page to locate hotspots for wildlife, or look for the "Wildlife Viewing Station" sign wherever you visit. Plan your visit according to the season, tidal phase, and time of day. Wildlife is generally more active in the mornings and early evenings than in the afternoon.

    •Download a copy of the Oregon Coast Birding Trail guide. 

    •Keep voices down while approaching a viewing area to avoid scaring wildlife away before you get there. Although animals may disappear when you arrive, they often return shortly if you are quiet and still.

    •Use binoculars and spotting scopes to bring animals "closer" to you without disturbing them.

    •Bring a field guide to help you identify various species and the habitats they prefer. But, remember the goal is to identify with the wildlife, not just identify it.

    •Often a close look reveals more. Look up, look down. Or peer through a hand lens to enter the world of insects. Animals come in a range of sizes and occupy a variety of niches.

    Avoid disturbing wildlife. Remember that all coastal rocks and islands are closed to public access, and all watercraft should stay at least 500 feet away.

  • Interpretation

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    There is a nonmotorized boat launch adjacent to the small parking area for the refuge.  Visitors can launch a canoe, kayak, paddleboard or other nonmotorized craftand paddle along the Millport Slough and the Siletz River.  The launch is free and open to the public from sunrise to sunset. 


  • Photography

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    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising—the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or camera-phone will do just fine for most visitors.  The Alder Island Nature Trail is a great place to take photographs of plants and wildlife of the refuge.

  • Hunting

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    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System. Go to the Permits page for more information about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations at Siletz Bay NWR.