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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.

Muddy Creek Property

Property Description

The Muddy Creek Conservation Area is located on the north side of the federally-designated Wild and Scenic Skagit River, west of the town of Hamilton, between Muddy Creek, Davis Slough and Carey’s Slough. Protection of the Muddy Creek Conservation Area is particularly important in stabilizing the shoreline of the Skagit River, which is located near the town of Hamilton along a bend in the Skagit River that is particularly prone to large seasonal floods. 

Click here to read more about flooding along the Skagit River in the Lyman - Hamilton area near Muddy Creek Conservation Area in a Skagit Land Trust newsletter from 2016.

Hardwood forest of Muddy Creek Conservation Area support ecosystems along the Skagit River. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: Hardwood forest of Muddy Creek Conservation Area support ecosystems along the Skagit River. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Properties managed by the Skagit Land Trust along the Skagit River and nearby sloughs though are crucial to the conservation and restoration of natural space. The land anchors valuable habitat for juvenile salmon traveling the Skagit. The slower moving waters of Carey Slough allow salmon to grow safely until they are strong enough to join the forceful currents of the Skagit River. These waters also provide resting grounds for salmon making their way upstream to spawn.

Muddy Creek Conservation Area is one of many Skagit Land Trust properties along the upper Skagit River watershed set aside for conservation. The Cumberland Creek Conservation Area lies directly across the Skagit River and the Day Creek Conservation Area, Day Creek Forest Conservation AreaDay Creek Kosbab Conservation Area and Lyman Slough Conservation Area are located within three miles to the south and the west. 

Ecology

The Muddy Creek Conservation Area is located near the north shore of the Skagit River. It primarily consists of a hardwood and shrub dominated floodplain forest between the north side of the Skagit and the Cascade Trail. Seasonal flood channels and wetlands are located throughout the property.

The protected forest of Muddy Creek Conservation Area improve water quality by filtering storm water runoff, shading waters of creeks and sloughs feeding into the Skagit to regulate the temperature of water flowing into the Skagit River and by providing a source of large woody debris to the Skagit River and tributaries which provides habitat for a variety of species. 

A Coopers Hawk and a bullfrog meet on the road near Muddy Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: A Coopers Hawk and a bullfrog meet on the road near Muddy Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

There are seasonally inundated wetlands and channels throughout the property, including more permanent wetlands near the east property edge. The property drains south into the Skagit River. Skagit River water levels are heavily influenced by large dams upstream. The Skagit River and shoreline is habitat for several salmonids, including Cutthroat, Sockeye, Steelhead, Pink, Chinook, Chum, and Rainbow Trout, as well as Bull Trout, all of which are priority species in Washington State.

The Muddy Creek Conservation Area contains Skagit River and Muddy Creek shoreline, wetlands, and seasonal flood channels along the Skagit River. Conservation partners (including the Skagit Watershed Council and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group) are helping the Trust restore this property and adjacent conservation property owned by the Town of Hamilton, which the Trust helped protect. 

Springtime flowers at Muddy Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: Springtime flowers at Muddy Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

The Skagit River is the only large river system in Washington State that supports healthy populations of all five native salmon species and two native species of trout. Muddy Creek Conservation Area is located in the Middle Skagit, an area where the river has historically migrated back and forth across the glacial valley. Along with other conservation organizations in the area, the properties managed by Skagit Land Trust in the middle Skagit create a patchwork of protected shoreline along the river.

Muddy Creek Conservation Area protects shoreline habitat along the Skagit River. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: The Muddy Creek Conservation Area protects riparian habitat along the Skagit River designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1978. The Skagit River is more than 160 miles long and is the third largest watershed on the west coast of the United States, providing 20% of the freshwater flowing into Puget Sound. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Stewardship

At Muddy Creek Conservation Area and other properties along the Skagit River, Skagit Land Trust has partnered with Skagit Watershed Council, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) and the Town of Hamilton to improve riparian habitat along the Skagit River as flood control as salmon habitat. 

In 2015, Skagit Land Trust began working with the Town of Hamilton and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group to develop a restoration plan to improve habitat at Carey’s Slough and Muddy Creek Conservation Area. Carey’s Slough is an oxbow lake that is located in the center of the town of Hamilton. The slough receives inflow from Carey’s Creek, and is connected to the Skagit River at the downstream end. This project included developing plans for replacing culverts at Petit Road and Lyman Hamilton Highway that were at the time impassable for fish. To read more about stewardship initiatives of the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group in Hamilton, click here

Stewardship of Skagit Land Trust properties is only possible with the hard work of our volunteers. Click here for information about the Land Stewards for this and other Skagit Land Trust properties. 

Volunteers from Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group remove several truckloads of metal trash from Muddy Creek Conservation Area in September, 2017. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above and below: Volunteers from Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group remove several truckloads of metal trash from Muddy Creek Conservation Area in September, 2017. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Volunteers remove debris from Muddy Creek Conservation Area in September of 2017. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Access

Muddy Creek Conservation Area is open to low-impact public access.

Click here for a link to Google Maps to access Muddy Creek Conservation Area. 

The property lies southwest of Lyman Hamilton Road and south of the Cascade Trail on the north side of the Skagit River. There is no formal parking at Muddy Creek because it is along the Cascade Trail. Parking is available on the shoulder of Lyman-Hamilton Road. 

How to Get There

From Mount Vernon drive east on Hwy 20 and turn right (south) on Cabin Creek Rd. Take left (east) on Lyman Hamilton Rd. Muddy Creek Conservation Area is located to the south and west of the road, inside of the bend and between the road and the Skagit River. Park along the shoulder of the road and drop off road grade into the property. The Cascade Trail runs along the north boundary of the property.

Property Info

  • Type: Trust-Owned
  • Location: Hamilton
  • Acreage: 3.78 acres
  • Date Added: This property was acquired in 2017.
  • Please visit this property!

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