Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area
Woodard Bay Road
Olympia, Thurston County, Washington
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a natural reserve in Olympia, Washington protected under the Washington Natural Areas Program.
American Indians use of the area dates back over 5,000 years when the present coast line stabilised. Euroamerican settlement began in the 1850s with Puget Sound's logging era. The bay was named after Harvey and Solome Woodard, pioneers who arrived in 1853.
In the 1920s the site was bought by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, which brought up to 1 million board feet of timber here annually by rail from all over Thurston and Lewis counties until it closed the site in 1984. A former logging railroad crosses Woodard Bay on a wooden trestle and a narrow peninsula. It runs out onto a pier in Henderson Inlet across the mouth of Chapman Bay. Here logs were dumped in the water, gathered into rafts and floated to mills in Everett, Washington.
The 600 acres (2.4 km2) features a maturing second-growth forest edging five miles (8 km) of shoreline at Woodard and Chapman bays on Henderson Inlet. The shallow, saltwater bays are largely undeveloped and has attracted wildlife not usually seen so close to an urban area.
Facilities include group meeting areas for small school groups, picnic tables, benches and a toilet. A camp car once used as a cookhouse and later an office has been refurbished to represent its former uses.
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