Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, Olympia

4.9
#7 of 17 in Parks in Olympia
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.
American 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.
To visit Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area and other attractions in Olympia, use our Olympia vacation website .
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Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
38 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is the site of an old rail head for the lumbering industry that has been cleaned up and now is a beautiful PNW natural asset available to the public. Parking is available but a permit is necessar...  more »
  • We had friends from AZ and wanted to show them our area a bit, and Woodard Bay was an excellent stop. A pretty spot, some interesting interpretive signage, easy to get to. A lot of typical Puget Sound...  more »
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