Central Washington

Wildlife Viewing

Big Pines Recreation Site

At 20 acres, Big Pines is BLM’s largest recreation site in the Yakima River Canyon. The northern edge of the recreation site is adjacent to undeveloped hiking trails on lands managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cle Elum Fish Hatchery

Begun in 1997 and sponsored by the Yakama Tribe the goal of the Cle Elum Supplementation and Research Facility is to boost the production of wild fish through supplementation techniques and to evaluate the program’s long-term success; and to educate people.

The Colockum Wildlife Area features exceptionally diverse fish and wildlife habitat that includes shrubsteppe, conifer forest, high elevation lakes, and perennial and seasonal streams. Every year, thousands enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing here.

The 54,070-acre L.T. Murray unit is about 15 miles west of Ellensburg. WDFW owns 39,305 acres, DNR owns 14,424 acres currently either leased to WDFW or under WDFW management and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) owns 341 acres in the Taneum drainage. Lying in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the eastern end receives less than 16 inches of precipitation, but the westside gets up to 100 inches of snow.

This canyon has been designated as a state scenic route and offers excellent wildlife viewing, fishing in a Blue Ribbon trout stream, family river rafting and camping. Lmuma Creek is the smallest river access site the BLM manages in the Yakima River Canyon.

Naneum Ridge State Forest

The Naneum Ridge State Forest is 71,000-acres and has good accessibility hunting for both elk and deer on or around Table Mountain. The Naneum Basin/Canyon will hold a variety of animals for viewing as well. If there is early snowfall, the deer, and elk will migrate downward and will be found mostly on the south facing slopes of Cooke Canyon and Coleman Canyon.

The Cle Elum area offers many fine birding opportunities, including the freshwater marshes and ponds popularly called the “Railroad Ponds.” Also known as the Northern Pacific Ponds, these were formed when railroad construction impounded some of the waters of the Yakima River.