Leadbetter Point State Park

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Leadbetter Point

A nature lover's paradise on the Peninsula's most northern tip is named after a general in the Confederate Army.

Leadbetter State Park, originally named Low Point in 1788 by British explorer John Meares, was renamed in 1852 in honor of Lt. Danville Leadbetter of the United States Coast Survey. Leadbetter later joined the Confederate army where he became a general.

The park is a wildlife refuge, home to innumerable waterfowl and animals. It is known to ornithologists as at least a stopover site for as many as 100 species of birds. Hiking trails abound and can be reached from parking areas, although the road leading to the park can be bumpy at times.

Bird species include sandpipers, turnstones, yellowlegs, sanderlings, knots, plovers, and the Black Brandt, a sea goose which migrates along the Pacific between Alaska and Mexico.

During April and May, Leadbetter Point's marshes and mud flats transform into a Mecca for migrating shorebirds and brandts.

Leadbetter is also the place where the Snowy Plover reaches the northern limit of its breeding range. These small shorebirds nest on the upper ocean beach in small scapes in the sand. Part of the dunes is closed to any entry --foot or car -- from April through August to protect the nesting Snowy Plover, which has been designated as a threatened species.

Hikers who plan to stay on the trails for many hours are encouraged to bring drinking water. Park and refuge officials emphasize that hikers should not wander from the marked paths.

The open dune area at the tip of the point is part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The forested base is managed by the state as Leadbetter Point State Park Natural Area.

Location: Three miles north of Oysterville on Stackpole Road. Drive north along Sandridge Road from Nahcotta to Oysterville, head west (left) at Oysterville and follow the signs.

Park hours: 6:30 a.m. to dusk April 1 through Oct. 15; 8 a.m. to dusk Oct. 16 through March 31.