Parks and Recreation
Director: Brian Adams
State Recreation Area
Revised Master Plan
1991, Skagit County purchased a 726-acre portion of the former Northern
State Hospital from the State of Washington for the purpose of developing
a major regional recreation facility for the citizens of Skagit
County and beyond. The site, now called the Northern State Recreation
Area (NSRA), is located on the eastern edge of the urban growth
area of Sedro-Woolley in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
NSRA has a diverse range of natural, cultural and topographical
features. There are significant wetlands on site as well as large
areas of dry meadow and forested uplands. Hansen Creek, a significant
salmon stream slated for restoration, flows through the site. Prior
to closing in the 1970's, NSRA was the working farm associated with
the Northern State Hospital. Perched on a plateau overlooking the
southern meadows are the abandoned dairy barns from the farm operations,
built in 1921.
Some preliminary planning for NSRA occurred in 1993-94 that included
a resource classification study and a conceptual master plan for
development. However, between 1994 and 1998, the site received little
attention due to county staff being fully committed to other projects
and minimal public involvement in the site. That changed in 1998
when a group of citizens formed the Northern State Task Force (NSTF)
to work on implementing some of the development plans on the property.
In support of the NSTF efforts, the County Board of Commissioners
earmarked three million dollars in December 1999, as seed money
to get development started.
Rationale for Revised Plan
It was evident that a revised plan was required to update the 1994
conceptual master plan because a number of significant changes had
occurred since 1994. These included:
delineation and mapping (completed in 2000 on the southern half
of the site) revealed significantly less land available for development
than originally thought.
new high school, originally included in the 1994 plan, was no
longer slated for location on the site.
planning had occurred for the restoration of Hansen Creek that
needed to be factored into the new master plan.
area ordinances requiring buffers around streams and wetlands
had changed a great deal over six years.
The documents offered are in Adobe Acrobat .Pdf format. You
need the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in loaded on your
browser to view and print Acrobat .pdf files. You can download it