As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
DNR manages and protects wetlands and adjacent uplands within two state Natural Area Preserves, Ink Blot and Schumacher Creek. Both preserves are located in Mason County near Hood Canal and the Skokomish Valley. These preserves contain three imperiled wetland and bog ecosystems and seven very rare and/or high-quality occurrences of wetland plant communities. One of the plant communities found on Schumacher Creek Preserve, the Sitka alder/skunk cabbage – water parsley community, has a very restricted geographic range; it is only found in the Puget Trough ecoregion and is critically imperiled globally. Inventories by two Natural Heritage scientists at the sites indicate that all of these wetland types and plant communities are in excellent condition. At both sites, the proposal was to buy parcels from willing sellers that contain the rare and high-quality wetlands or that border the wetlands. The key property at Ink Blot NAP was acquired, which established the new site.