Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area was designated by the legislature in 1987, one of the first in the state. A wildlife sanctuary that is just minutes from downtown Olympia, this 870-acre site protects habitat ranging from marine shoreline and wetlands to mature second growth forest. The site has a rich and varied human history that includes Native Americans, early settlers to southern Puget Sound and the logging and shellfish industries. Woodard Bay provides habitat for shorebirds and songbirds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, a large maternity colony of bats, and one of the most significant heron rookeries in the state. Three hiking trails are within the natural area: a paved road used as trail, a forested loop-trail, and another that is barrier-free, overlooking Woodard Bay. Trails may be closed seasonally to protect nesting herons and eagles. Features protected: Five miles of undeveloped shoreline in Puget Sound, mature upland forests, freshwater wetlands, historic and cultural resources. (Thurston County) DIRECTIONS: From Olympia: Travel north on East Bay Drive, which becomes Boston Harbor Road. Turn right onto Woodard Bay Road. Travel about ~ 1.5 miles and the road jogs to the left then picks up again to the right. Follow Woodard Bay Rd to the bottom of the hill. The parking area is on your left, just before the bridge.