This cluster covers the Central Samish Valley watershed and Butler Hill area. It includes several recently restored wetlands along Thomas Creek and the Samish River which are frequented by swans, eagles, falcons, ducks and herons in winter.
Green Road Marsh
This Skagit Land Trust Property encompasses nearly 42 acres of wetlands, and is part of a larger wetland system including the south side of Thomas Creek (Google Map link). Purchased in February 1997, Skagit Land Trust began restoration work and the development of ponds for year-round waterfowl habitat.
The marsh also provides habitat for eagles and falcons, amphibians, otters, beavers and other wildlife. Green Road Marsh plays a very important role in protecting water resources and in maintaining a healthy habitat for salmon in Thomas Creek. During the 2014-2015 restoration season nearly 2000 trees were planted along with other area improvements.
Access is currently limited to the pull-off on Green Road, but even this provides a good opportunity to observe the many birds species that utilize this habitat. Also keep your eyes out for a group of meadowlarks which can often be seen along the fences lines of Green Road.
Running a little over 2 miles, this straight and narrow country road bisects the prime farmland located between Cook Road and Kelleher Road (Google Map link). There are several large dairy farms on the Butler Flats, and the farmers often plant corn and potatoes in this area, which in turn attracts swans and other waterfowl. The hay fields serve as hunting grounds for Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks and the occasional American Kestrel.
Samish River Fish Trap
Located just off Highway 99 on North Green Road (Google Map link), the 200′ often muddy trail brings you to the fish ladder and trap, where thousands of Chinook, Coho and Chum return each fall and winter. The spawned out salmon attract numerous eagles and gulls while the numerous young fish in the river attract kingfishers and mergansers.
Tope Ryan Conservation Area
This Skagit Land Trust property protects 16 acres with 900 feet of shoreline along the Samish River near the intersection of Grip Road and Prairie Road (Google Map link). The property also contains native riparian forest and several acres of pasture. The property is open to the public, and you are welcome to follow the informal trails throughout.