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Blind Slough Swamp Preserve

Why You Should Visit   

Well-known for birding, canoeing and kayaking, Blind Slough Swamp is the best example of a Sitka spruce swamp remaining in Oregon. Once common in coastal estuaries from Tillamook to Alaska, this habitat type has been mostly lost in Oregon and Washington to logging, diking and other development. The preserve is bordered on three sides by Columbia River sloughs and channels, and is adjacent to the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.


Lower Columbia River, east of Astoria, in Northwest Oregon


897 acres

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Each spring and summer, teams of volunteers remove invasive blackberry, English ivy and purple loosestrife to protect the preserve's native habitats and the wildlife they support. 

What to See: Plants

The preserve's overstory is dominated by Sitka spruce trees — some 400 years old — with younger western red cedar and western hemlock also present. Dense thickets of coast willow, Sitka willow, twinberry and nootka rose line the channels, as well as abundant sedges, wildflowers and bulrushes.

What to See: Animals

The preserve provides habitat for an abundance of birds, fish and other wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, river otter, beaver, coho salmon, nesting yellow warblers, olive-sided flycatchers and rufous hummingbirds.

May, June and September are the best times to visit. During February/March and July/August, the preserve is closed to visitors without permission due to the presence of nesting and fledging bald eagles.

Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:

  • Stay on the trail. Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.
  • No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.
  • No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.
  • No hunting, camping or campfires.
  • For groups of 10 or more, please contact us before visiting a preserve (a volunteer naturalist guide may be available).
  • Please bring a bag and carry out any trash you find.
  • Please report to us any problems you observe (e.g., camping, plant removal, hunting, off-road vehicle damage, etc).

This preserve is accessible only by canoe or small boat. 

  • Proceed on Highway 30 to Knappa Junction (85 miles W of Portland and 12 miles E of Astoria).
  • At the Logger Cafe (on your right) in Knappa Junction, take a right (N). 
  • Drive less than .25 mile and turn right onto Brownsmeade Road. 
  • After one mile, the road forks; bear left and continue towards the river. 
  • Cross a wooden bridge over railroad tracks and go 100 yards to the Knappa Docks. 
  • Try to park on the left. 

There is no boat ramp, but kayakers and canoers can carry their craft a few feet down the bank. The floating docks to the right are not for public use. Knappa Docks is on Knappa Slough with Karlson Island, part of Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, directly across the slough. Warren Slough, east of the docks, takes you into the heart of the preserve. Please respect private property signs and avoid log rafts.  Check tide charts since winds and tides can be strong. 



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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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