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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.

White Creek Property

Property Description

The White Creek Conservation Area is located on a forested hillside above the Sauk River adjacent to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The majority of the property is forested by maturing coniferous forest and protects over one mile of the length of White Creek, a tributary to the Sauk River.

White Creek Conservation Area is one of nine properties transferred from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to Skagit Land Trust in March of 2017. This aquisition of 1,024 acres expanded the total area of lands managed by Skagit Land Trust by over one third at the time of the transfer.

The White Creek Conservation Area was set aside for conservation over 30 years prior by The Nature Conservancy and other community partners who desired to conserve habitat for Bald Eagle and other species along the upper Skagit River. The White Creek Conservation Area was part of the conservation of over 8,000 acres that now make up the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area.

Click here to read more about the land acquisition between TNC and Skagit Land Trust in our Summer 2017 Newsletter. 

Forested slopes surround White Creek at White Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.
Above: Forested slopes surround White Creek at White Creek Conservation Area. White Creek is a tributary to the Sauk River. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Ecology

The White Creek Conservation Area is located on a steep, primarily west-facing hillside above the upper Sauk River. A deep ravine containing White Creek extends from the northeast portion of the property to the southwest property corner. The majority of the property supports maturing coniferous forest at varied ages. The Sauk River flows along the southwestern corner of the property.

The majority of land adjacent to White Creek Conservation Area is managed forestland that has previously been logged and will likely be harvested in the future. Selective logging occurred on the gently sloping forests of White Creek Conservation Area at three selective timber harvest sites from 1993-1997. During this period of timber harvest several logging roads were constructed. Logging did not take place on the steepest slopes of the conservation area.

The protected forest of White Creek Conservation Area provides many ecosystem functions including improving water quality, providing a source of large woody debris to White Creek and the Sauk River, and providing habitat for a variety of native plant and wildlife species.

Above: Trillium flowers are a sign of spring at White Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.
Above: Trillium flowers are a sign of spring at White Creek Conservation Area. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

There are many species prioritized by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for protection which make their home along White Creek and the Sauk River. The streams and shoreline are habitat for several species of fish, including Coho, Pink, Chinook, Chum Salmon, Cutthroat, Steelhead, and Bull Trout, all of which are protected species in Washington. Spotted owls have historically nested on this site and could be using the property as foraging or roosting habitat. Marbled murrelets have been documented on the adjacent property managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources immediately to the north. White Creek Conservation Area contains mature trees that would provide roosting habitat for Bald Eagles which winter in the area.

Above: Skagit Land Trust volunteer Pete Haas conducts salmon spawning surveys along White Creek at the White Creek Conservation Area in June of 2018. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.
Above: Skagit Land Trust volunteer Pete Haas conducts salmon spawning surveys along White Creek at the White Creek Conservation Area in June of 2018. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

White Creek Conservation Area includes nesting habitat for harlequin ducks along a portion of White Creek. Photograph credit: National Park Service.
Above: White Creek Conservation Area includes nesting habitat for harlequin ducks along a portion of White Creek. Photograph credit: National Park Service.

Violets bloom in White Creek Conservation Area in the spring. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.
Above: Violets bloom along White Creek Conservation Area in the spring. Photograph credit: Skagit Land Trust staff.

Above: Aerial map of White Creek Conservation Area taken in April 2013. Photograph credit: Unknown.
Above: Aerial map of White Creek Conservation Area taken in April 2013. Photograph credit: Unknown.

Stewardship of this property is only possible through the hard work of volunteers. Click here to view information about the land stewards for this and other Skagit Land Trust properties. 

Access

White Creek Conservation Area is open to low impact public access.

White Creek Conservation Area is located along Highway 530 between the communities of Darrington and Rockport, where White Creek flows under the highway to meet the Sauk River. The property in on the east side of Hwy 530, approximately 6 miles south of the town of Rockport.

Click here for a link to Google Maps for the parking area of White Creek Conservation Area

Note that this property is located on a steep heavily forested slope. While there are some old logging roads they are not maintained and therefore are overgrown. Caution should be taken when hiking on this property.

Aerial map of White Creek Conservation Area. Map created by Skagit Land Trust staff.

Click on the map above for an enlarged image. Map created using 2017 NAIP aerial imagery. 

How to Get There

From Mount Vernon, drive east on Hwy 20. Take a right (south) onto Highway 530 in Rockport. Follow Highway 530 for 7 miles. Park on the side of the road just south of the bridge over White Creek.

Property Info

  • Type: Trust-Owned
  • Location: Sauk River
  • Acreage: 384 acres
  • Date Added: This property was acquired in 2017.
  • Please visit this property!

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