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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.

Barr Creek Property

Property Description

Barr Creek

Skagit Land Trust purchased the Barr Creek property from Kermit and Doris Johnson in August of 2008 with a grant sponsored by the State of Washington through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant funded habitat conservation for endangered species and was matched by Skagit Land Trust. Skagit Land Trust affectionately named this spot after its former owner, Kermit Johnson: "Kermit's Woods".

The Washington Department of Natural Resources holds a conservation easement on the property.

In October 2017, thanks to support from Trust members, Skagit Land Trust added four more acres to the Barr Creek Conservation area through a bargain sale with Doris and Kermit Johnson. Over 100 feet of Barr Creek flow through this property and the additional acres further support of wildlife habitat. Read more about the expansion of the Barr Creek Conservation Area in our Fall 2017 newsletter

Ecology

The maturing forests surrounding Barr Creek Conservation Area make this property ideal habitat for roosting bald eagles that winter along the Skagit River. As the forest matures it will serve as potential habitat for two other species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: the marbled murrelet and the northern spotted owl

Marbled murrelets are threatened seabirds that nest in old growth forests. Photograph by Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service. Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Pictured above: The Marbled Murrelet usually nests in trees greater than 200 years in age. Trees in the Barr Creek Conservation area range from 40-100 years in age. Photograph by Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service.

Barr Creek - also known as Swift Creek - flows from Sauk Lake across the northwest corner of the property. Less than a mile from the parking area, the Hegg - Benson trail leads up through deciduous forests to Barr Creek where bedrock geology creates cascading pools and waterfalls. 

Less than a mile from the parking area, Barr Creek cascades through lowland forests. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Pictured above: Less than a mile from the parking area Barr Creek cascades through lowland forests. The Hegg - Benson trail leads to one of the photogenic spots along the creek. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Barr Creek is not known to be a salmon bearing stream, likely due to the steep topography. The lower portions of the creek surveyed by the US Forest Service are considered suitable habitat for salmonoid species and bull trout. Small cutthroat trout are occasionally reported. The property neighbors conservation lands of the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area. Forests types on the property are consistent with bald eagle roosts. The adjacency of this property to protected Federal lands provides important habitat buffer for over 15 species identified under the  Washington State Department of Natural Resources Habitat Conservation Plan

Barr Creek drains the southeastern side of Sauk Mountain. Ambitious hikers can follow the trail past the Skagit Land Trust property boundary into lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest). The trail follows a historic pack trail that leads up the back side of Sauk Mountain. Prior to the construction of Sauk Mountain Road this seven-mile long trail served as the access to the fire lookout that once stood at the summit.

Pictured below: The view from Sauk Mountain looking south across the Skagit River. Aerial photography by Andy Cline. 

View from Sauk Mountain looking south over the Skagit River. Aerial photography by Andy Cline.

Access

The Barr Creek Conservation Area is accessible to the public and is located two miles east of Rockport along Washington State Route 20. We encourage you to visit this property! 

 Click here for a Google map to Barr Creek Conservation Area and the Hegg-Benson Trailhead. 

 The Hegg-Benson Trail, designed and constructed by Skagit Land Trust members and volunteers in 2009-2010, provides a short walk into this lovely conservation area. Local illustrator and cartographer Jocelyn Curry illustrated a map of the Hegg-Benson Trail.

Local illustrator and cartographer Jocelyn Curry illustrated a map of the Hegg-Benson Trail.

Click on the map above for a larger image.

Community members and volunteers continue to steward the property. Look along the trail for cedar and fir seedlings planted by local Girl Scouts on Martin Luther King Junior Day, January 2019. 

Click here to view information about the land stewards for this and other Skagit Land Trust properties.

Barr Creek Conservation Area Trail Sign. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff

Native plant walk, May 2015. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: Local naturalist leads a native plant hike at Barr Creek Conservation Area in May 2015. Below: Beautiful wooden signs were constructed by volunteer stewards to highlight the Hegg - Benson trail and Skagit Land Trust property boundaries. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff. 

Barr Creek Conservation Area Trail Sign

Aerial Map of Barr Creek Conservation Area and Hegg-Benson Trail. Created by Skagit Land Trust staff. 

Click on the map above for a larger image. Map generated using 2017 NAIP aerial imagergy. The longer trail is the Hegg - Benson trail while the secondary trail to the right is not actively maintained or marked.

How to Get There

Take Highway 20 east to Rockport. Turn left onto Conrad Road at milepost 98, approximately 1.5 miles after the junction of Highway 20 and Highway 530 (which leads to Darrington). Take a left on Conrad Road and drive up the hill, passing several private homes. Approximately 100 yards after house #54607 look for a pullout and the trailhead on the left side of Conrad Road.

Property Info

  • Type: Trust-Owned
  • Location: Rockport, WA
  • Acreage: 44.35 acres
  • Date Added: 2008
  • Please visit this property!

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