Located on the tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, Leadbetter Point separates Willapa Bay from the Pacific Ocean. In addition to Leadbetter Point, the Willapa Refuge consists of Willapa Bay, Long Island, Lewis Unit and Riekkola Unit.
Willapa Bay boasts the most pristine estuary in North America. Rich with clams, crabs and oysters, the bay is harvestable year-round. Seasonal clam and crabs harvesting is allowed*, however all oyster harvesting is private or commercial.
Long Island is home to deer, bear, elk, grouse, beaver and numerous songbirds and small mammals. A stand of old growth western red cedar is a remnant of the virgin forest that once covered the island. A handful of tent sites in this rain-drenched coastal forest are available to campers who want to pack it in, pack it out, and leave no trace. Access to Long Island is by private boat or kayak only.
Refuge Headquarters are located on US 101, across from the southeast tip of Long Island. Public boat access to Willapa Bay is available, as well as restrooms. The Art Interpretive Trail is a beautiful trail with interpretive art produced by college students.
History, Ownership and Management
Originally named Low Point in 1788 by British explorer John Meares, the name was changed in 1852 to honor Lt. Danville Leadbetter of the U.S. Coast Survey. Lieutenant Leadbetter went on to become a brigadier general in the Confederate Army.
Leadbetter Point is in two different public ownerships. The open dune area at the tip of the point is a part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, under management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since its addition to the refuge in 1968, the primary management objective for Leadbetter Point has been wildlife use.
The stabilized, forested base of the point is managed by the State of Washington as the Leadbetter Point State Park Natural Area. It is managed for public recreation in an undeveloped setting.
- US Fish & Wildlife Service: Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
- Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
- funbeach.com: Art Interpretive Trail
- funbeach.com: Long Island
*Regulated by Washington State. Consult WDFW for maps and regulations (360) 796-3215.