Woodard Bay (in Thurston County) is one of the most significant heron rookeries in the state. Photo:DNR/Roberta Davenport
For National Walking Day, we have two exciting natural areas that are great for a 30-minute walk.
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area
Woodard Bay NRCA, nestled in South Puget Sound near Olympia, protects native shoreline habitat, much to the delight of bird watchers, nature conservationists, and others who enjoy the beauty and peace of minimally disturbed habitat.
Some of Puget Sound’s most stunning native shoreline habitat is revealed along the paths and waterways of DNR’s Woodard Bay NRCA. Nature enthusiasts; bird, bat and seal watchers; and others who enjoy the beauty and peace of forest and estuary habitat have a new favorite location nestled in South Puget Sound near Olympia. Interact with new tribal heritage-inspired artwork, learn from large, new interpretive signs, and get inside a historical timber camp-car that’s now used for site interpretation. Woodard Bay offers an unparalleled glimpse into the South Sound’s natural, economic and Native American history. Click here for directions.
Dishman Hills NRCA
Dramatically sculpted by the great Glacial Lake Missoula floods, Dishman Hills NRCA give you the chance to see Spokane the way it was before civilization. Photo by: DNR/Jane Chevay
The Dishman Hills NRCA is a 518-acre nature reserve just east of Spokane that is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic after a nice nature walk. This area, which was dramatically sculpted by the great Glacial Lake Missoula floods, is guaranteed to wow people with over 50 species of butterflies.
Bring the kids and enjoy the singing of frogs, colorful wildflowers, and over 50 species of butterflies. Because it is a conservation area, leave your mountain bikes, horses, rollerblades, rock climbing gear, and motorized vehicles at home. The serenity will give you a unique chance to see the land the way it was before the chaos of modern civilization. View some trails where you can enjoy wildlife, rare species of plants, and spectacular geological features. Click here for directions.
Before you go, remember to bring your Discover Pass, the gateway to exploring Washington’s great outdoors.
Protecting the state’s natural areas
DNR manages two different kinds of natural areas to conserve and restore special state-managed lands. There are Natural Area Preserves (NAPs), like Columbia Hills NAP, for the protection of scientifically important sites and Natural Resources Conservation Areas (NRCAs), which include scientifically important sites that also have outstanding scenic values—such as Woodard Bay NRCA.