McNary Dam and McNary Wildlife Nature Area

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The McNary Wildlife Area is the area in Oregon from one-half mile above McNary Dam to the freeway bridge, 2.5 miles below the dam. From the town of Umatilla, take any road north to 3rd Street. Take 3rd Street east under the freeway and turn left at the first opportunity (Brownell Blvd.). Take this road to the river and bird the marshy area near the bridge. Returning to 3rd Street, continue east and there are several side roads to the north that take you to trails that wind through the natural area. Take them all and look for surprises around every corner.


Habitat and Birds

Check the park below the dam for gulls and passerines. The ponds are full of ducks from mid-November to the end of January. This is a good place to look for Harris’s Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow in winter. Work your way around and above the dam to the boat ramp just above McNary Dam and further east to McNary Beach where you can view gulls, grebes, and ducks loafing above the dam. The most unusual birds seen at this location include a Ross’s Gull in 1994, a Rusty Blackbird in 2003, a Black-headed Gull in 2015, and an Emperor Goose in 2021.