Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, Olympia
(4.8/5 based on 20+ reviews on the web)
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a natural reserve in Olympia, Washington protected under the Washington Natural Areas Program. Once an important processing facility for the logging industry, it has been designated as the Weyerhaeuser South Bay Log Dump Rural Historic Landscape. Today the area is a renowned sanctuary for a variety of birds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, and a colony of bats, as well as serving as an important great blue heron rookery. A recent conservation program in the area between the State of Washington and the Nature Conservancy is the first of its kind in the country.HistoryAmerican Indians use of the area dates back over 5,000 years when the present coast line stabilised. Euroamerican settlement began in the 1850s with Puget Sound's logging era. Early in the history of the area, the Woodard family built the railway for hauling logs down to the waterfront. From there they would load it on ships at the end of the peninsula.In the 1920s the site was bought by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, which brought up to 1 million board feet of timber here annually by rail from all over Thurston and Lewis counties until it closed the site in 1984. A former logging railroad crosses Woodard Bay on a wooden trestle and a narrow peninsula. It runs out onto a pier in Henderson Inlet across the mouth of Chapman Bay. Here logs were dumped in the water, gathered into rafts and floated to mills in Everett, Washington.
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  • Woodard bay is only about 8 minutes from downtown Olympia, but is out of this world. It use to be a logging railway terminus and is now a walk-in park on Puget Sound. The main part of the park is an e...  more »
  • Small parking area at the beginning of the natural reserve; You should take valuables, cars are ever dissolved. A circular route leads through the picturesque North American rain forest. The way is good to run, and you must up on wooden stairs or descend; is not difficult. Arriving in a beautiful Bay; There is a restroom and explanations on the history of the wood transportation in the area. At moderate speeds, the trip takes less than an hour.
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  • What a peaceful and beautiful place, very relaxing. You have to walk in to get to the beach area, about 10 minute walk with some hills, not too taxing. From the shoreline you can hear the seals barkin...  more »