smith & bybee by Andy Price

Wetlands Wonderland

In the Smith and Bybee Lakes Wildlife area, a paved one-mile interpretative trail meanders through riparian forests with very old ash trees, swampy meadows, lake and marsh areas and seasonal mudflats with shore birds. There are two bird blinds with access to as many as 40 or so species per trip. We see all kinds of migratory ducks in winter including ruddy ducks, ring neck ducks, wood ducks and pied-billed grebes. The woods fill with migratory warblers and vireos in the spring. In this area one can usually see the unusual northern shrike and hear owls even during the day.

This trip takes about one to two hours depending on how long you want to spend here. The area has a rich history which I can share with you: the changes in the area with swamp reclamation acts in the early 1900s, the history of the farming areas, the break in the dike with the Vanport flood in 1942, the local Chinook Indian villages and how it looked when Lewis and Clark came in the early 1800s. There are some lovely sculptures and interpretative areas. Nearby is the Vanport Wetlands with many waterfowl and raptors and songbirds easily accessible from the parking area.

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