STEIGERWALD LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Located on the Columbia River just east of Washougal, this 1,000 acre refuge supports diverse species of wintering, migrating, and breeding birds in a variety of habitats.
by Elaine Murphy, Naturalist
The Gibbons Creek Wildlife Trail was opened in June, 2009. This 2.2 mile trail connects the parking lot off Hwy 14 with the Columbia River Dike Trail. As you meander past creeks, ponds, fields, and stands of cottonwood & oak trees, you will be able to enjoy quiet wildlife observation. Bicycles, joggers, dogs, and horses are not allowed on the refuge, although you may encounter them on the Columbia River Dike Trail.
Scan the wetlands for blackbirds, herons, and American bitterns. On the ponds, look for a variety of ducks, including pintails and hooded mergansers. Goldeneyes have been seen here, and a mute swan has been a regular visitor. Check out the woodlands for brown creepers, nuthatches, chickadees, and woodpeckers. Watch for raptors perched in the trees or cruising over open areas. Occasionally, you may see stray migrants that are normally found in the eastern part of the state.
When you reach the end of the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Trail, you can continue along the 3.5 mile Columbia River Dike Trail in either direction. From this vantage, you can enjoy great views overlooking the refuge.
Check out Steigerwald by visiting their website: http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/steigerwaldlake/index.html
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