Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area is approximately 44 acres and is located on the left bank of the Cedar River. The Natural Area is adjacent to the Cedar River Trail and to State Route 169, Renton-Maple Valley Road.
Getting There: From I-405 exit to the Renton-Maple Valley Highway (Hwy 169). Drive east past the Maplewood Golf Course and turn left on 174th ST SE into the River Bend Mobile Home Park. There is no authorized parking at the site; parking on the east edge of the site is owned by the Riverbend Mobile Home Park and parking for Natural Area use is not allowed.
Where to go: The primary access to the site is on the easternmost parcel of land: 174th Avenue SE provides direct pedestrian access off of SR 169 and the adjacent Cedar River Trail. From the 174th Avenue entrance, a roadbed provides the main trail into the property. The road extends along the top of the river revetment to the western edge of the pond at the Cedar River. Other informal trails may exist at the site, but there is little to no access to the western parts of the property due to dense vegetation and occasional wetlands along the Cedar River Trail.
Setting: Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area supports a variety of habitats from riparian forest to a structurally complex wetland, which provide diverse habitat for fish and wildlife. Cavanaugh Pond is noted for its populations of spawning sockeye salmon. The mainstem Cedar River supports coho salmon, chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, and winter steelhead.
This area contains Cavanaugh Pond, the only Class 1 wetland on the Cedar River valley floor. The wetland supports open water, forested, scrub-shrub, and emergent habitats. The dominant vegetation at the site is typical red alder and black cottonwood riparian forest, with dense understory vegetation. The eastern part of Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area supports regular use by local foot traffic from the Cedar River Trail and by other local residents. Use is primarily for walking and nature observation, concentrated on the levee road and the area around Cavanaugh Pond.
Wildlife Commonly Seen: Several dozen bird species live around and use the pond you will see Red tailed hawks, Bald eagles, Black tail deer, beaver, muskrat, otter, and coyote. Waterfowl use the pond as a stop over site on their migratory journeys. Several duck species and Canadian geese use the pond to nest and raise young. Native amphibians use the pond to breed every spring. These include the Red Legged Frog, the Chorus frog, the Northwest salamander and the Long-toed salamander. Other species have been recorded from time to time.
Restrictions: There is no authorized parking at the site; parking on the east edge of the site is owned by the Riverbend Mobile Home Park and parking for Natural Area use is not allowed.
For more information: http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/lands/natural/cavanaugh-pond.htm