The Chehalis River Surge Plain Natural Area Preserve supports high quality Sitka spruce-dominated wetlands laced with saltwater-influenced slough channels. The walk starts in a lot off Preachers Slough Road (3.8 miles southwest from Montesano on SR 107) to the Blue Slough access along the Chehalis River. It is a graveled railroad grade. Be sure to check Chehalis River levels in winter to avoid floods. And check tide charts for Montesano, to note rising or falling tides, for a point of interest.
We will hike on an old railroad grade at a social pace. Bring lunch to eat by the water before we start our return back to the cars. Along the trail are various interpretive signs telling of the history of the surge plain area, as well as telling what a surge plain is. Various plants and trees line the sides of the entire trail. There are maples, willows, dogwood, and alders, along with fruits such as different kinds of salmonberries. Sitka spruce is the most abundant evergreen tree found in the surge plain. Sitka is the largest spruce in the world, capable of growing up to 210 feet tall and living to be 800 years old.
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