Sinclair Inlet Wildlife Viewing Area (SIWVA) is, according to a mildewed sign, “one of the largest undeveloped wintering area(s) in Kitsap County for many waterfowl.” Widgeons, mergansers and other migratory marine birds spend the winter feeding from the area’s expansive mudflats, the sign explains.
Located between Elandan Gardens and the Mattress Ranch, the park has an abandoned feel. Its welcome sign – large but not easily seen from nearby Highway 16 – is weathered and peeling. Nests of tarps and trash hint that this is a spot where you won’t be told to move along if you need a place to hide out for few nights.
Nowhere in the park can you escape the highway noise. A billboard aimed at westbound drivers looms over the ponds of standing water in the SIWVA’s gravel parking lot.
SIWVA’s owner, the Kitsap County Parks Department, doesn’t have much information on the property. The department’s list of parks puts SIWVA at 17.5 acres. County property records list it as a much smaller 6.75 acres.
It was purchased by the county for $128,000 in 1993, according to property records. Continue reading