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Portage Creek Wildlife Area


Map - Portage Creek

Aerial Photo and Description


  1. Interpretive Center
  2. Picnic Tables
  3. Restrooms/Sanicans
Important Notes 
  • Cemetery Road entrance is closed.
  • Dogs are not permitted at this park.
A 157-acre wildlife reserve home to a variety of wetland plants and animals. Stroll along the tranquil stream and enjoy the open meadow paths while catching glimpses of herons, raptors and many species of waterfowl.

Visitors to the Portage Wildlife Sanctuary can enjoy the network of trails that cross the expansive fields. An interpretive shelter is available for learning about the local flora and fauna and a fish ladder for viewing rearing salmon. Other wildlife viewing opportunities include deer, hawks, beaver, raccoons, mink, amphibians, other small mammals, and all types of waterfowl.
Park History
A portion of the site was previously owned by Gene Ammon. Mr.. Ammon used the site as a peat farm until 1978 when he began to preserve the site’s unique natural resources. He restored the wetlands in the mined areas, enhanced fish spawning opportunities, and improved habitat for a variety of wildlife. He referred to the site as Amen’s Wildlife Sanctuary and encouraged the public to visit.  In 1992 Mr.. Ammon approached Snohomish County about preserving this wonderful natural resource. Snohomish County Parks was able to secure funds through the Conservation Futures program and purchased the property in 1995.

One year later the county purchased an additional 137 acres to the north. This addition had formally been utilized as a dairy farm and carried with it an easement from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). The objective of this program is to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands for improving wildlife habitat and increasing the functions and values that wetlands provide within watersheds.  Snohomish County Parks has worked in conjunction with the NRCS, several other partners and many volunteers to achieve the goals of this program. 

Together, these two properties have created a 157-acre wildlife reserve, known as the Portage Wildlife Sanctuary.

Changes at Portage Creek Wildlife Area
To achieve the goals for WRP at this park, NRCS has already decommissioned tile lines, which previously drained the fields, blocked one drainage ditch in several places, and worked with Snohomish County staff to prepare the site for extensive plantings and eventual placement of wood material in Portage Creek. Plantings are scheduled to continue over the next several years and wood placement may occur as early as Summer 2005. All these changes will provide enhanced wildlife value and water quality. 

Several partners have stepped forward to be a part of this effort. They are:
  • The BankSavers Project of the Stillaguamish Tribes
  • The Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force
  • City of Arlington
Other Changes
In addition to the restoration work which is proceeding for this site, infrastructure improvements have taken place and are continuing, to increase access to this unique natural resource area. In the spring of 2005, a new entrance was completed off of 59th, allowing the public to access the property from the northeastern corner of the site.  Plans are continuing to replace two existing bridges within the WRP area with higher capacity structures to increase access by service vehicles and develop an interpretive signage system.

Driving Directions:
From I-5 or SR-9, take SR-530 to 59th Ave SE and turn south.  Follow 59th St to the park entrance (on the right).  If you reach 59th Dr SE you've gone too far.

Comments on this park and changes occurring on the property may be emailed to Sharon Walker Swan, or mailed to:
Sharon Walker Swan, Senior Park Planner
Snohomish County Parks and Recreation
9623 32nd St. SE
Everett, WA 98205