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Conserving wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations.

Barney Lake Property

Property Description

The Barney Lake Conservation Area protects critical open water, wetland and working resource lands just to the east of growing Mt. Vernon, WA.  Over-wintering populations of waterfowl, including Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans, find refuge at the lake.  The Nookachamps Creek borders the eastern edge of the property, providing salmon habitat.  And the open fields and uplands demonstrate the ability of working resource lands to co-exist with nesting and forage areas for Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons.

Barney Lake by Christine Farrow

photo: Christine Farrow

Protection Many Years in the Making

The protection of Barney Lake began in 1995 with two donations of land and two acquisitions by the Trust. Nearly 80 acres of land along the western and northern shores of Barney Lake were donated to the Trust in 1995 and 1997. An additional 15 acres were purchased using a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

In 2012, Skagit Land Trust acquired an additional 255 acres through a community fundraising campaign and with the support of Ducks Unlimited and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant. 

In 2014, Skagit Land Trust expanded protection in the Barney Lake area by purchasing the forested 16 acre Bell Property with contributions from 250 donors and grants from The Skagit Community Foundation’s Clarence Stewart Fund for the Environment, The Seattle Audubon Society’s Martin Miller Fund, The Norcliffe Foundation, Skagit Audubon, and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.

In 2016, Quadrant Homes donated 3.67 acres of land along College Way to the Conservation Area. This forested wetlands is in very good condition, with intact native vegetation.

Stewardship and Future Restoration

Since 2000, volunteers have planted several thousand trees in the pastures above the lake, beginning the restoration of forested habitat around the wetland. In partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Skagit Land Trust will be pursuing opportunities to further restore and protect the wetlands, lake front and riparian areas of the Barney Lake Conservation Area over the coming years. This area is also used for environmental education for community clubs and afterschool groups, especially for birding and amphibian research.

Creating Connections: The Centennial Trail

The Centennial Trail is a regional non-motorized trail that runs along portions of the old north/south abandoned Burlington Northern railroad right of way in Puget Sound. Throughout a given year, over 500,000 hikers and bikers use the trail as it ambles its way through rolling farmlands, historic towns, and crosses several flourishing streams of Snohomish County.

Currently this popular trail ends a mile north of the Snohomish County line. Skagit County Parks has begun to be more active in developing the Centennial Trail and has partnered with Skagit Land Trust  to secure access for the future trail along the eastern edge of this wildlife sanctuary, adding significantly to the aesthetic value of the trail corridor. Skagit County Parks assisted with purchasing the trail portion of this property through funds derived from a portion of the state gasoline tax that allows for the acquisition and development of corridors that promote non-motorized connections.


Barney Lake's current access points include:

1) The western portion of Gunderson Road off Highway 9 provides access to Barney Lake’s eastern grasslands and wetlands. Travel down the undeveloped road to the SLT sign and park (note: there is only space for 1 car).

2) Signe Place off of Swan Road (about 1 mile west of Francis Road) provides access to the northern perimeter of the lake. Park along the pavement on the west edge of Signe Place then walk down the grassy strip towards the forest perimeter of the lake.

To access other parts of the Barney Lake Conservation Area, please call the Trust at 360.428.7878. We have a lease agreement with a farmer on some parts of the property and some areas have limited access due to wildlife sensitivity.

How to Get There

Property Photos

Rainbow over Barney Lake Barney Lake aerial - Christine Farrow Barney Lake plantings Barney Lake forest Bell Forest Barney Lake with Big Rock

Property Info

  • Type: Trust-Owned
  • Location: Barney Lake
  • Acreage: 361 acres
  • Date Added: 1995, 2012, and 2014
  • Please visit this property!

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