MARY E. THELER WETLANDS
WHAT: The Mary E. Theler Wetlands is the perfect place for a sea-level stroll during the winter. While hikers never get more than a mile from downtown Belfair, they’ll feel like they are far away from the two highways that border much of the wetland. A series of short nature walks with interpretive signs cut along the marshes where Hood Canal meets the Union River. The area is popular with bird watchers.
WHEN: Open daily during daylight hours.
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DIRECTIONS: Follow state Route 3 to Belfair and the trailhead at the Theler Community Center, 22871 NE state Route 3.
HISTORY: The area was a gift to Belfair from longtime resident Sam Theler. The wetlands draw 200,000 visitors per year.
OF NOTE: If you are into flora and fauna, this is the place to go. Not only are you sure to see various species of birds, but you can see more than 800 kinds of plants. The longest of the four trails is the 1.5-mile (each way) Union River Estuary Trail. Pets are not permitted on the trails. Maps are available at the trailhead. The Wetlands Exhibit Center is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends and holidays and is run by volunteers. The trails are also maintained by volunteers. The community center offers Zumba classes on most weekdays.
MORE INFO: thelertrails.org.