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National Wildlife Refuge

100 Brown Farm Rd
Olympia, WA   98516 - 2302
E-mail: Glynnis_Nakai@fws.gov
Phone Number: 360-753-9467
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Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm (closed on all federal holidays).

NO DOGS (or other pets) are allowed on the Refuge, including the parking lot.

Jogging and bicycling are also prohibited on the Refuge.

There is a $3 daily entrance fee which admits 4 adults. Kids under 16 years of age enter free. For more information see Fee information.

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located where the freshwater of the Nisqually River meets the saltwater of south Puget Sound, creating the Nisqually River Delta. The delta is a biologically-rich and diverse area that supports a variety of habitats including the estuary, freshwater wetlands and riparian woodlands. It is considered the last unspoiled major estuary in Puget Sound. The Nisqually Delta has been designated as a National Natural Landmark because of its national significance as one of the best examples of this kind of coastal salt marsh system remaining in the North Pacific.

Nisqually Refuge is famous for the more than 275 migratory bird species that use the refuge for migration, wintering, or breeding. The refuge provides rearing and migration habitat for steelhead trout and several salmon species, and habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered species. The Black River Unit, southwest of Olympia, provides high quality habitat for Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, migratory birds, and a diversity of other species.

The Black River is one of the largest undisturbed freshwater wetland systems remaining in western Washington. Situated between Olympia and Seattle and within 100 miles of more than 4 million people, Nisqually Refuge is visited each year by more than 200,000 people who come to enjoy and learn about these sensitive natural resources. The refuge provides environmental education programs for 8,000 school children every year.

Getting There . . .
The refuge is located about 8 miles east of Olympia, on the north side of Interstate 5. Take Exit 114, turn north under the freeway, then turn right on Brown Farm Road. An entrance fee is required.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Many species of waterfowl feed, rest, and nest on the freshwater ponds. Salmon and steelhead use the estuary for passage to upriver areas. Songbirds, woodpeckers, hawks and small mammals are found in the dense woodlands and grasslands. Mixed conifer forests on the bluffs above the delta provide perches for bald eagles, osprey, and other birds of prey, as well as the nesting site for a colony of great blue herons.

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In 1833, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post and farm in the Nisqually River delta. Soon, European-Americans began to settle in the area. By 1839, a major part of the econmy began to shift from fur trading to farming and sheep grazing.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
This unique combination of estuaries, tidal flats, and fresh water marshes is being preserved and enhanced as a wintering area for waterfowl. The refuge has a haying and force account mowing program, and limited abilities to manage water levels on some parts of the refuge. Nisqually River and McAllister Creek serve as spawning, rearing, or passage areas for anadromous fish. The variety of habitats also supports a great diversity of raptors, shorebirds and songbirds.

The refuge has almost 3,000 acres of estuaries, tidal flats, freshwater marshes, riparian woodlands, forest lands and grasslands on the Nisqually Delta. Nisqually Refuge has an active program of volunteers helping with public information, education, office administration, maintenance, and wildlife protection. If you would like to become involved, call the refuge office.

The Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was released in late August 2004 and is now available to read online. This plan, required by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, outlines a vision and evaluates four alternatives for future management of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

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