Tag Archives: SKAGIT WILDLIFE AREA

Public Lands Access Closed Due To ‘Trash Dumping, Vandalism, Target Shooting’; Thanks, Bozos

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Big Ditch Access Area along Pioneer Highway near Stanwood will close Aug. 14 through Oct. 1, 2019. Dike district personnel and neighboring farm owners will still have administrative access.

WDFW SHARED THIS IMAGE OF TRASH DUMPED ON STATE LANDS UTILIZED FOR HUNTING AND BIRD WATCHING IN ANNOUNCING ITS CLOSURE. (WDFW)

Belinda Rotton, wildlife area manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the site is becoming very popular for trash dumping, vandalism, and target shooting. Area users and neighbors have complained and the local dike district is concerned about potential infrastructure damages.

The site is most commonly used by bird watchers and waterfowl hunters for access to the Skagit Bay Estuary during the fall and winter.

“Since we’re seeing most of the site challenges in the summer, we think the seasonal closure can help address issues with a relatively low recreational impact,” said Rotton. “We may consider an annual summer closure of the site, but we would first go through a formal public review process before making that level of a change.”

The Big Ditch Access Area is within the Skagit Wildlife Area, which contains a little over 16,700 acres of wildlife habitat composed primarily of intertidal estuary, managed agricultural (diked) lands, and native habitat.

WDFW actively manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 500 water access sites across the state to preserve natural and cultural heritage, provide access for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, and to foster experiences and exploration for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors each year.

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Skagit Wildlife Area Open House Coming Up As New 10-year Plan Development Begins

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a public open house March 28 to kick off a planning process for the Skagit Wildlife Area, which includes critical estuary and other habitat valuable to species such as waterfowl, shorebirds, and juvenile salmon.

SKAGIT WILDLIFE AREA DUCK HUNTERS WILL WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSIONS SETTING THE MANAGEMENT PATH OF THE POPULAR NORTH SOUND WATERFOWL HUNTING AREA THAT IS ALSO KEY HABITAT FOR YOUNG SALMONIDS. (ANDY WAlGAMOTT)

The wildlife area consists of 17,000 acres in Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan counties. A huge portion – about 12,000 acres – of the wildlife area is estuary in Skagit County. The wildlife area contains wetlands, agricultural habitat, and natural areas managed for the protection of sensitive species.

The open house is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Padilla Bay Visitor Center at 10441 Bayview Edison Rd, Mount Vernon. There will be stations set up to showcase the different wildlife area.

The Skagit plan will propose actions for the management of the wildlife area over the next 10 years. The Skagit Wildlife Area is managed to preserve fish, wildlife and their habitats, and to provide access for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, said Belinda Rotton, wildlife area manager.

At the upcoming open house, the public will be able to talk to individual WDFW staff members about wildlife area history, current management, recreational activities, and the planning process, Rotton said.

“We want to hear from the public about how people use this area and what recreation and natural resource values are important to them,” she said. “We’re also looking for interested citizens to sit on the wildlife area advisory committee.”

WDFW is seeking advisors to represent diverse interests including wildlife area neighbors, the agricultural community, and various recreational user groups such as wildlife watchers and hunters.

The Skagit Wildlife Area advisory committee will guide development of the wildlife area plan and ongoing management activities, Rotton said. Those interested in serving should contact her at 360-445-4441 or Belinda.Rotton@dfw.wa.gov.

Rotton said the public will have several opportunities to comment on the plan over the next year as a draft is developed.

She noted that the March 28 meeting will focus on management planning for the entire wildlife area, not specific actions at a specific location.

Information on the wildlife area is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/skagit/.

The department is revising management plans for all of its 33 wildlife areas to reflect current conditions and identify new priorities.