Pierce National Wildlife Refuge

August 13, 2017

At the time of my visit with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge in late spring, areas of the Pierce Wildlife Refuge were still flooded from all the rain this year, and thus inaccessible for walking. We passed through open fields around tall stands of oaks without walking through them, in order to avoid close proximity with the great heron rookeries nested high in the trees. We listened for species of birds that our guide knew from his deep connection to this area.

There are many who are in tune with listening and identifying bird species. "Does everyone hear it?" In all of the sounds of places and my ignorance of bird identification, I stand with birdwatchers in somewhat embarrassed silence. However, this gives me fine opportunities to take in the landscapes without hurry, and become absorbed in the beauty of these spaces with others in moments of quiet.

This refuge is a protected space, not open to visitors other than through tours:
"The Refuge is home to one of the largest remaining populations of a State threatened plant species Columbia yellowcress (Rorippa columbiae). The wetlands of Pierce Refuge also host an experimental population of State endangered western pond turtles. Multiple partners have worked to raise young turtles in captivity and release them into secure and suitable habitat with the intent of creating new self-sustaining populations. This project has so far been successful due to the multi-agency participation as well as the undisturbed nature of the habitat at Pierce. Pierce NWR is a small landmass and isn't served by any public trails or roads. Access to the Refuge is only allowed by special guided tour. Stay tuned to the Pierce Home Page for announcements."-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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