The Robert W. Little (Puget Island) Preserve

Why You Should Visit

The Robert W. Little Preserve on Puget Island provides native tidal spruce swampland important for the survival of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. The preserve is bordered by the Westport Channel of the Columbia River and the adjoining mouth of Grove Slough. A shrub swamp on the preserve is also home to scattered Sitka spruce trees.


Near Cathlamet in Southwest Washington


30 Acres

Why the Conservancy Selected this Site

As riverside woodland habitat along the Columbia River has declined, so has the population of the Columbian white-tailed deer. One of 38 subspecies of white-tailed deer in the Americas, it historically ranged from the southern end of Puget Sound to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Today, only two populations can be found: one near Roseburg, Oregon, and another in isolated areas of the lower Columbia River near Cathlamet, Washington, including this preserve.

What the Conservancy is Doing

The Nature Conservancy has cooperated with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to support habitat protection for the Columbian white-tailed deer. In 1991, the family of Robert W. Little donated funds to buy this property in memory of Mr. Little and his strong belief that natural diversity should be preserved. Deer populations in the lower Columbia River have increased in recent years. However, the deer have shown no ability to expand their range and establish new, viable subpopulations outside of their current lower Columbia River habitat – a range to which they have been limited for many decades. Until long-term trends for comeback of the deer can be established, this Conservancy preserve will remain a valuable haven for the Columbian white-tailed deer.


Robert W. Little Preserve Location Map

Click on the map to enlarge image.

What to See: Plants

Cattails border the wetland shrub thicket and Sitka spruce trees. Look for other water-loving plants.

What to See: Animals

The preserve shelters Columbian white-tailed deer, beaver, raccoon, great blue heron and other wetland wildlife. It’s also a seasonal home to migratory songbird species.

Open year round. Park on North Welcome Slough Road. Preserve is a densely wooded shrub swamp with no trails and it is most easily viewed from the road.

  • From Cathlamet: Take State Highway 409 south approximately 1.5 miles to West Birnie Slough Road on Puget Island.
  • Turn west and proceed for approximately three-quarters of a mile to Crossdike Road Junction. Follow Crossdike Road approximately 1.5 miles to its junction with North Welcome Slough Road.
  • The preserve lies along North Welcome Slough Road at this point for one-fifth of a mile. 

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

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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