Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

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Whalen Island/Clay Myers Natural Area

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Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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Cape Lookout State Park

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Seasons

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Location

Sitka Sedge State Natural Area (45.263006, -123.954608) is located about 20 miles south of Tillamook.

To reach the area from Tillamook travel south on Highway 101 for 11.3 miles to Sandlake Road. Turn right (west) and continue 9.3 miles to a 3-way stop. Turn left (south) to continue on Sandlake Road (no name change after the turn) for 4.4 miles to the signed park entrance on the right. The park is a no-fee State Park area. The parking area has restrooms, a picnic area, a trailhead, and an information kiosk.

NOAA Tide Prediction for Nestucca Bay Entrance  Note that this tide prediction is for the beach area. The tides at Sitka Sedge dike trail area occur approximately 1 hour later than this prediction.

Directions

Habitat and Birds

Sitka Sedge State Natural Area has many diverse habitats, including tidal flats, fresh and saltwater marshes, wetlands, coastal forest, and beaches. The area is accessed entirely by trail and beach walks. The trailhead kiosk displays a trail map and dog restrictions. Leashes are required on park trails and no dogs are allowed in the Snowy Plover management area on the beach. The trails are shown on this trail map. The trails are well signed.

The Beltz Dike trail (see map) is about 0.5 mile long. It starts at the north end of the parking area and then passes through Sitka Spruce forest habitat before reaching the dike. The remainder of the trail is a wide gravel path along the dike. There are tidal mudflats to the north and tidal wetlands to the south and west. The mudflats start to fill at about a 5.5-foot incoming tide. Belted Kingfisher and Band-tailed Pigeon are common along the first portion of the dike. Shorebirds use both sides of the dike.

At the end of the dike, the trail enters coastal forest of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and Shore Pine with very good understory cover. At this point there are two trail options available, continue to the beach or take the Estuary Loop Trail to the north (see map).

About 0.1 mile further along the beach access trail is the junction with the Kinnikinnik Woods Loop to the south (see map).  All of the forest trails offer similar birding. Wrentit is common here year round.

To reach the beach continue along the signed trail for about 0.4 mile to the dunes and open beach. The dune crest is a good place to scope the open ocean. Marbled Murrelet has been seen here.

The area of the beach north of the trail is a Snowy Plover Management Area with use restrictions. During nesting season (March 15 – September 15) the areas are signed and posted. Walking is restricted to the wet sand. No dogs are allowed (even on a leash). Recent habitat improvement projects have been made in the dune areas to aid Snowy Plover nesting.

A beach walk of about 0.6 mile takes you to the mouth of Sand Lake. Snowy Plovers have been found here year-round in recent years. Scan for them along the wrack line and above. Shorebirds can be found along the beach in migration. There is often a gull roost at the mouth of Sand Lake.

eBird Checklist:

 eBird Hotspot checklist for Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

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