Washington

Beaver Creek

Protecting a critical marsh and a stunning lake at the headwaters of the Sol Duc River

Beaver Lake in July
Beaver Lake, Washington
Photography | Sue Doroff
River otter
River otter
Eagle flying above Beaver lake
Bald eagle
People kayaking on Beaver lake in July
Beaver Lake, Washington
Photography | Sue Doroff
Baby marbled murrelet
Baby marbled murrelet
Photography | USFWS

Beaver Creek is a tributary to the Sol Duc River, one of the major river systems within the Olympic Peninsula. The Sol Duc is nationally renowned for crystal-clear water that supports healthy runs of salmon and winter steelhead. Beaver Lake drains into a narrow gorge that terminates at the spectacular Beaver Falls, impassable to migrating salmon. From there, Beaver Creek winds down toward the Sol Duc. Beaver Lake and the surrounding marsh provide prime habitat for a host of wildlife, including threatened marbled murrelet and Olympic mud minnow. In 1997, Western Rivers Conservancy began acquiring land to protect Beaver Creek and Marsh.

The first purchase was 213 acres of wetlands and forest from Crown Pacific, Ltd., a Northwest forest products company that Western Rivers Conservancy has partnered with over the years. The property is now owned by the Olympic National Forest, which manages the area for fish and wildlife values. In December 2006, we purchased the second and largest piece of the project: a 420-acre property that includes all of Beaver Lake, parts of Beaver Creek and Marsh and a stretch of Cold Creek, which flows into Beaver Creek. With an appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we have conveyed the 420-acre property to become part of the surrounding Olympic National Forest. This provides protection for the entire marsh, which is also habitat for bald eagles, trumpeter swans, wood ducks, harlequin ducks and other waterfowl, herons, otter, beaver, numerous reptiles and amphibians, as well as countless other plant and animal species, many of them on the federal and state endangered, threatened or sensitive list.

Critical support for Beaver Creek and Marsh has been provided by the Bullitt Foundation, Horizons Foundation, and Wiancko Charitable Foundation.

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