June 10, 2011
Woodard Bay sees changes in public access: openings and closings
One trail closes while small boat access opens for summer
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the Woodard Bay Overlook trail, which originates at the Chehalis Western trailhead on the east side of the bay off Woodard Bay Road. The trail will be closed until August 15 to protect sensitive wildlife that depends on specific nesting habitats in Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area. This closure does not affect or other trails within the NRCA—the paved and unpaved trails on the west side of the bay.
The informal hand-launch boat access for canoes and kayaks—adjacent to the Woodard Bay parking lot on the west side of the bay—is open until Labor Day, September 5, 2011. The hand-launch access is just past a big yellow gate at this parking spot; the area is closed after Labor Day to protect wintering migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.
Natural Areas Programs and Woodard Bay NRCA
DNR manages a significant statewide system of State Natural Resources Conservation Areas and Natural Area Preserves that protect dramatic natural features. These include native ecosystems and the plant and animal species that depend on them. These areas also provide access for education, research, and low impact public use, where appropriate.
Woodard Bay NRCA was designated by the legislature in 1987, one of the first in the state. A wildlife sanctuary near Olympia, this more-than-800-acre site protects habitat ranging from marine shoreline and wetlands to mature second growth forest. The site has a rich and varied human history that includes Native Americans, early settlers to southern Puget Sound and the logging and shellfish industries.
Woodard Bay provides habitat for shorebirds and songbirds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, a large maternity colony of bats, and one of the most significant heron rookeries in the state. Three hiking trails are within the natural area: a paved road used as trail, a forested loop-trail, and another that is barrier-free, overlooking Woodard Bay. Trails may be closed seasonally to protect nesting herons and eagles.
Media Contact: Jane Chavey, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1721, firstname.lastname@example.org
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