Amon Creek Natural Preserve
Amon Creek Natural Preserve follows along the west fork of Amon Creek from Leslie Road north to Claybell Park. A trail system runs along the east side of the creek from the south trailhead to Claybell Park (about 2 miles). The preserve contains a unique mixture of wetland, riparian and shrub-steppe habitats. Over 150 bird species have been spotted in the preserve, making it a popular birding location (about 25 species are year-round residents). Mammals include black-tailed jackrabbits, coyote, raccoon, beaver, otter and mink. Beaver are particularly active in the preserve and have a marked appetite for the cottonwoods trees that have been planted along the creek.
Enjoy this bird’s eye view of Amon Creek Natural Preserve
Amon Creek is the largest tributary of the lower Yakima River. The east and west forks of Amon Creek are natural drainages for Badger Canyon and run through Amon Basin before joining to form the main stem. Amon Basin is a roughly 200-acre bowl of shrub-steppe and wetlands that were part of the original course of the Yakima River. Material dropped during the Ice Age Lake Missoula floods blocked this channel resulting in the current path of the Yakima River.
Tapteal Greenway first started considering trying to conserve the Amon Basin in about 2001 with the formation of the Amon Basin Community Project. Working with the Trust for Public Land sources of funding were identified along with available parcels of land around 2005. Sixty acres were purchased in early 2007 with funding provided by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, WA Department of Transportation, City of Richland and Tapteal Greenway. This was followed by the purchase of an additional 15 acres one year later. Ownership of these 75 acres was transferred to the City to become Amon Creek Natural Preserve.
Tapteal Greenway attempted to acquire an additional 119 acres by partnering with WDFW on an acquisition grant through the Recreation and Conservation Office in 2010. Unfortunately, the grant was not ranked high enough to receive funding. This property was subsequently sold to Hayden Homes for their Clearwater Creek development.