With Sunday’s end of the waterfowl hunting season, the final 700 feet of the Nisqually Estuary Trail boardwalk will reopen Monday. The reopening includes the Puget Sound viewing platform at the end of the nearly 1-mile long boardwalk.
The final portion of the boardwalk has been closed since Oct. 19. The closure is required for the safety of refuge visitors while waterfowl hunting is allowed on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife lands in close proximity to the trail.
As of Monday, visitors will be able to hike the mile-long Twin Barns Loop Trail and the nearly mile-long Nisqually Estuary Trail. From the visitor center to the viewing platform is about a 4-mile hike.
The boardwalk offers a chance to see numerous bird and waterfowl species. Visitors also can time their visit to see the power of the tidal change in the area.
At the beginning of the boardwalk is a viewing tower overlooking freshwater wetlands and the salt marsh. There is a mounted spotting scope on the tower. Further along the boardwalk, visitors will come to the Shannon Slough viewing blind, available on a first-come-first-served basis, and the McAllister Creek viewing platform
The refuge trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The refuge visitor center is open Wednesdays-Sundays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. You can learn more about the refuge, including tide times, at fws.gov/refuge/nisqually.
What you might see
There are still lots of waterfowl, both ducks and geese on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, visitor services manager Sheila McCartan said. Here’s a list of some of the birds you might see: