The state Department of Fish & Wildlife is considering a move that would about double the land it owns near the mouth of the Samish River, potentially opening more access for fishermen along the popular river.

The 109-acre property east of the river and south of Bay View Edison Road is one of 18 throughout the state that Fish & Wildlife is considering buying to further protect wildlife and provide more access for recreation.

The agency is taking comment on the proposed acquisitions through Jan. 3.

A fact sheet about the proposed local purchase, called the Samish River Addition, states Fish & Wildlife has support from the Skagit County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to helping meet the high demand for fishing access along the Samish River, opening the property to the public could provide land for hunting, bird watching and photography, according to the fact sheet.

Nearby Fish & Wildlife properties called the Samish River Unit and Samish Unit are popular destinations for those uses. They are part of the Skagit Wildlife Area, which is comprised of about 17,000 acres throughout the region.

The Samish River Unit is a 100-acre property just across the river from the proposed acquisition. The 410-acre Samish Unit to the west is accessible from Samish Island Road, and includes shoreline along Padilla Bay.

The area draws wintering swans, geese and bald eagles, and is home to ducks, raptors, great blue herons and many smaller birds.

If Fish & Wildlife proceeds with the proposed acquisition, the state agency would seek state and federal grant funding for the purchase, according to a news release.

Comments can be submitted by email to lands@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to: Real Estate Services, P.O. Box 43158, Olympia, 98504.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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