Near OLYMPIA, Wash. - When dikes were removed to recreate the natural river delta in the Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve, bird watchers and hikers lost a very popular trail.
The trail took them along the top of a dike, deep into the refuge, for one of the best bird watching opportunities in the Northwest.
But now a new one mile long, $2.7 million boardwalk is about to provide access to tide lands that have been gone from the delta for a hundred years.
Refuge managers say bird watchers are already reporting sightings of species they've never seen before at this site and the boardwalk isn't even open yet.
Construction of the elevated path has not been easy.
Contractors say they could not use the motorized equipment they would normally have on a job like this. They have to protect the land and wildlife from heavy machinery, so much of the work had to be done by hand - by a large crew with strong backs.
The 762 acre refuge is expected to draw millions of birds and thousands of visitors by the time the boardwalk opens; in time for the winter's best birdwatching opportunities.