What do drinking water and wildlife have in common? Both benefit from public land set aside by Seattle Public Utilities. You can learn more about all kinds of critters in the Cedar River Watershed by heading to the edge of the protected land in North Bend. Experts there are hosting a special educational open house on Wednesday, December 30.
“Wondering about Wildlife” is the name of the all-day event. Education center coordinator Christopher Holland says they’ve planned things for people of all ages to do, from demonstrations of how Karelian bear dogs are used by state wildlife officers, to how to identify tracks and scat you might see near a trail.
“Every room will be filled with activities that focus on wildlife. And that’s wildlife that you would find within the Cedar River watershed or in this area in general," Holland said.
He says bald eagles, osprey, otters, deer and elk are the critters people most often spot in the rattlesnake lake scenic area near the center. Cougars have also been seen in some years and bears are not uncommon. They enjoy a fairly pristine area because nearly 90,000 acres of the Cedar River watershed are owned by the city of Seattle and managed to protect the source of drinking water for 1.3 million people.
“Because the Cedar River Watershed is closed there is an amazing array of wildlife. And we manage for that as well. So we want people to understand more about this great resource that is for the people of Seattle and everybody in the surrounding area, including all the animals,” he said.
If the weather cooperates, he says you could also enjoy a hike while you’re near the center. The popular Rattlesnake Ledge Trail offers a 4-mile round trip with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain. There are also two multi-purpose trails nearby, where hikers, bikers and equestrians share the right of way.