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Mad River Slough Wildlife Area


The 587-acre Mad River Slough Wildlife Area was formerly part of Arcata Bay's extensive intertidal salt marsh and mudflats. Old tidal sloughs still meander through the land, which is periodically flooded during periods of heavy rain. Egrets and herons are found here. Red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, kestrels, harriers, kites, and osprey are all occasionally to commonly seen. The shorebirds commonly seen are dunlin, sandpiper, dowitcher, godwit, and willet among many others.

For more information, call the Northern Region Eureka office at (707) 445-6493.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing Waterfowl Hunting Hunting with Shotguns

NOTICE: The wildlife area is closed to public use from the Monday following the Youth Waterfowl Hunt (usually the first week of February) until April 1.

Activities: wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and hunting

Hunting: Type C Wildlife Area. Waterfowl, coot, and snipe may be present.

Facilities: None

PLEASE NOTE: For information on public use regulations for this area and other Department lands please refer to the link opens in new windowCDFW Public Lands Regulations booklet. Scroll to the Table of Contents. Locate the page number for general regulations for public uses on all Department lands. For additional regulations that apply only to certain properties, check the Table of Contents for sections that refer to additional or property-specific regulations for wildlife areas or ecological reserves. All visitors are responsible for knowing and following the general and property-specific regulations.

Area History

The property has been in use for agricultural purposes since the land was reclaimed around 1900. It was, at one time, four separate ranches prior to its consolidation by the Ford family. At one time or another, various portions of the property have been used for farming, dairy ranching and livestock grazing.

In 1984 the people of California passed the Proposition 19 Bond Act to provide funding for acquisition and enhancement of coastal wetlands. The Mad River Slough Wildlife Area was purchased by Proposition 19 funds. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1989.

Last update : 10/31/2018 9:35:08 AM

Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-0411

Map of Mad River Slough WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Northern Region (Region 1)

Humboldt County

just west of Arcata City limits

Access: From Highway 101 in Arcata, take Samoa Boulevard west to the Wildlife Area. Access is from the designated parking area only.

CDFW Lands Viewer