EVERETT — It’s open season on Smith Island.
The 320-acre Snohomish County property between Everett and Marysville is now open to the public Oct. 1 to Feb. 28 annually, and available for for waterfowl hunting through Jan. 31. Along with managing the hunting season, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife opened a new parking lot on the island that allows new access to some trails.
Dikes built in the 1930s once kept Smith Island and other low-lying areas dry for farming. They also deprived young salmon of tidal waters to grow and get stronger before heading into Puget Sound.
In 2018, the county flooded parts of the island, reopening almost 380 acres of habitat south of Union Slough and east of I-5 to juvenile salmon. That’s about a third of the land Snohomish County hopes to restore in the Snohomish estuary.
Waterfowl and shorebirds also benefit from the improved habitat.
On Wednesday the estuary teemed with ducks and grey herons.
“Smith Island offers great waterfowl hunting opportunity close to Everett, while providing high-quality habitat for Snohomish river system salmon,” Brendan Brokes, the WDFW Puget Sound regional director, said in a statement.
Hunters will likely find dabbling ducks (mallard, American wigeon, green-winged teal, and northern pintail) and possibly Canada geese, according to the department. The hunting dates vary for different waterfowl, and there are some breaks throughout the season. For site details, including information about site rules, parking, boat access and safety zones, visit the state Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
An eight-car parking area is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Everett. The lot also connects to the Smith Island Nature Trail and South Spencer Island, previously accessed through the south end of Langus Riverfront Park. The Smith Island Nature Trail is freshly paved, offering a smoother ride for roller blades, strollers or wheelchairs.
A Discover Pass is required to park, and Register to Hunt cards are available at the lot. Boat-in access is also allowed.