Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the City of Arcata’s innovative wastewater treatment facility. The sanctuary is 307 acres, including freshwater marshes, salt marsh, tidal sloughs, grassy uplands, mudflats, brackish marsh, approximately 5 miles of walking and biking paths (PDF) and an Interpretive Center. By integrating conventional wastewater treatment with the natural processes of constructed wetlands, Arcata has succeeded in turning wastewater into a resource.

Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay, the sanctuary is situated along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico and Central and South America. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary has probably the highest bird populated coastal site between Bodega Harbor and Washington, with literally thousands of birding visitors annually and organized bird walks held at least weekly year-round. The Marsh has hosted over 300 bird species.

viewing deck

Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center - Temporarily closed to the public

The Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center has interactive exhibits, free maps and literature, a bookstore, bird checklists and a log of recent bird sightings. The center is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday 1 to 5 p.m. The center is closed on major holidays.

569 S G Street Arcata, CA 95521
Phone: 707-826-2359 Facebook Logo Opens in new window

Free Guided Walks

Marsh volunteers lead tours of the wildlife sanctuary. No reservations are necessary for the following walks, which take place rain or shine:
  • Friends of the Arcata Marsh (FOAM): Every Saturday 2 p.m. - Meet at the Interpretive Center for guided walks on various topics. No reservations necessary. Due to COVID regulations, FOAM tours are not being offered at this time. Visit their Facebook page for links to virtual tours.    
  • Redwood Region Audubon Society: Every Saturday 8:30 a.m. - Meet in the parking lot at the foot of South I Street for a guided birding walk. Due to COVID regulations, Audubon tours are not being offered at this time. 

Reserved Walk

Free docent-led walks on various topics are available for groups and schools if requested 2 weeks in advance. Schedule a future tour by contacting the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center. 

"Flush with Pride" video courtesy of "earthrise," Al Jazeera English, © 2011.