Description - The Nisqually River Delta is a biologically rich and diverse area at the southern end of Puget Sound that supports a variety of habitats including woodlands and fresh and saltwater marshes. Together with McAllister and Red Salmon Creeks, the Nisqually River forms one of the largest remaining undisturbed estuaries in Washington.
- The Nisqually NWR receives approximately 80,000 visitors a year. Many species of waterfowl feed, rest, and nest on the freshwater ponds at Nisqually NWR. Salmon and steelhead use the estuary for passage to upriver areas. Songbirds, woodpeckers, hawks and small mammals are found in the dense woodlands and grasslands. Mixed conifer forests on the bluffs above the delta provide perches for bald eagles, osprey, and other birds of prey, as well as the nesting site for a colony of great blue herons.
Twin Barns Education Center is available for school groups and is open to the public. There are photo blinds and observation decks for wildlife observation and a visitor center. The refuge has approximately 7 miles of foot trails for visitors.
Recreation - The refuge has numerous diverse activities for visitors. Hiking and walking on seven miles of trails, wildlife viewing and fishing opportunities are available.
Climate - The climate of Washington varies within each region. The Cascades split the state and alter the weather patterns. The mountains receive large amounts of wet, heavy snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year. The terrain east of the mountains receives approximately 12 inches of rainfall per year, generally much less than west of the mountains. Since the area east of the mountains is landlocked, temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Due to the coastal geography, western Washington is primarily temperate. The proximity to the ocean stabilizes the climate, making extreme temperatures very rare. The area receives large amounts of precipitation from Pacific rain and snow storms.
Nisqually NWR is located about 10 miles east of Olympia on the north side of Interstate 5. Take Exit 114, turn north under the freeway, then turn right on Brown Farm Road. A $3.00 entrance fee is required.