Green River Natural Resources Area
(also known as the Kent Ponds)
The Green River Natural Resources Area began as a project by the City of Kent, which transformed an abandoned sewage lagoon system into a combined stormwater detention and enhanced wetland facility, and which now provides a rich diversity of wildlife habitat. The 304-acre site is a multi-use refuge with open space, raptors (including Peregrines and Kestrels) and many species of ducks and shorebirds. There is also excellent viewing along the paved trail that follows the power lines. Also look for Mergansers along the Green River at Van Doren's Landing Park along Russell Road across from the Natural Resources Area.
The project area is bounded generally by the Green River to the west, South 212th Street to the north, 64th Avenue to the east, and the Puget Power pedestrian/bike trail to the south.
Photos in the slide show above were taken by Dan Streiffert.
Map of the general area:
Map of the specific area:
Map of the specific area:
From I-5: Take exit 152, Orillia Road. This is near SeaTac airport. (So. 188th St. borders the airport and becomes Orillia Rd. at I-5.) From I-5, turn east and travel on Orillia down into the valley (1.5 miles). Orillia Rd. becomes So. 212th St. at the light at 42nd Ave. So. at the bottom of the hill. Reset your odometer and travel east on 212th to 64th Ave. So. 1.2 mi.
From I-167: Take the So. 212th exit which is to the north of downtown Kent. Travel west across the valley on 212th to the light at 64th Ave. So. (1.5 mi.). From the intersection of 212th and 64th Ave, reset your odometer and travel south on 64th .5 mi. Park in a pullout that has room for two or three cars on the right, or park across the street at the building called Web Press. Walk to the west from the pullout about 100 feet up onto the "Grassy Knoll." You are now able to view Green River Natural Resources Area (GRNRA) (also known as Kent Ponds). You will have views of the pond called "The Constructed Wetland," and views of snags in the distance. Look for raptors on the snags, and waterfowl in the pond.
Continue to travel south on 64th Ave. past views of Kent Ponds on the right to So. 226th St. (0.8 mi). Turn right (west) on So. 226th. Near the corner, a small pullout will be to your right. You can park here and walk the Powerline Trail.
On 226th, travel west to 54th Ave. So. (0.5 mi). You are now parallel to the Powerline Trail and Kent Ponds is to your right. Turn right on 54th Ave, go about 100 feet and park along the side of 54th. Walk north across the grass to the Powerline Trail. The trail is approximately 0.9 miles long. Standing on the trail, look to your right; about .2 miles in the distance, you'll see what we call the South Tower. This viewing tower has the best view of the "Lagoon" (the largest pond) from any of the three towers.
Back at the street parking on 54th Ave, travel south on 54th to So. 228th/Russell Road (0.3 mi.). Turn right (west) on Russell Rd. as it bends around next to the Green River. At 0.5 miles on Russell Rd, there is a big fir tree on the right. It has an owl box that occasionally contains Barn Owls. At 0.7 miles you will reach the GRNRA Nursery on the right, the headquarters for the site manager and crew, and the west trailhead to the Powerline Trail. To the left, there is a footbridge over the Green River. Park in a pullout (don't block the nursery drive), walk across the bridge, and walk left on Frager Road about 200 feet. There is a public trail under the power lines that has a No Trespassing sign. Despite the sign, we haven't had problems birding there.
You can walk back on a gravel trail to view a pond that we call RIVERVIEW MARSH. A half-mile overgrown trail loops around the back of the marsh; you may also enter the trail farther south on Frager Rd.
Back at the nursery, reset your odometer to zero. Continue north on Russell Road. Van Doren's Landing Park (0.2 mi.) on the left has restrooms. The main parking lot for GRNRA (0.3 mi.) on the right has a gate into the meadows and a trail to the southwest tower. A sign says that the gate is closed from 9 or 10 AM to dusk, but it's rarely closed anymore. The views from this parking lot and nearby trail are best in fall and winter. Farther north on Russell Road (0.7miles) is the north parking lot. Park here to walk into the north tower and to view the pines in the small Anderson Park.
For more information about Green River Natural Resources Area, visitwww.ci.kent.wa.us/publicworks/specialprograms/grnra.asp