Long Lake

Lois Lake

Lois Lake

Every day, 20,000 motorists drive over Lake Lois - located along Carpenter Road between Pacific Avenue and Martin Way - yet few people seem to be aware of this small waterbody, which is part of an urban oasis in the middle of Lacey.

Appearing at times, especially the late summer, to be more of a pond/wetland complex than a true lake, Lake Lois is a two part complex bisected by Carpenter Road where the lake waters flow through a beautiful stone arch under a Carpenter Road bridge. To the east of Carpenter Road is the Lake Lois Habitat Preserve featuring the larger portion of the lake and a wooded, rustic nature trail. To the west of Carpenter Road is Lake Lois Park, featuring mowed lawn, park benches, picnic tables and mulched walking trails in more of a city park setting.

Lake Lois is the fourth and final lake in a chain of lakes consisting of Hicks Lake, Pattison Lake, Long Lake and finally, Lake Lois in the headwaters of Woodland Creek, the largest creek flowing into Henderson Inlet. Woodland Creek emerges from Long Lake and flows about one mile through Woodland Creek Community Park and travels under Pacific Avenue where it enters Lake Lois behind the Safeway store. Here one can find steps to the nature trail and an information kiosk, courtesy of several Boy Scout Eagle Projects and the Lacey Rotary Club. The Lake Lois Habitat Preserve is also accessible off Lake Lois Road on the east side of the Preserve. At this location, people can stroll along the margins of the lake through mature second growth forest and observe western pond turtles sunning themselves, mallards, bufflehead, goldeneye and other waterfowl, as well as a variety of songbirds. An ADA accessible viewing platform is located on the south side of the lake.

Like the other lakes in the chain, Lake Lois also featured lakeside destination resorts and camp grounds during the 1920s. During this era, the Lake featured a wood bridge that allowed horse drawn carts and early automobiles to cross at its narrowest point. Fishermen caught large chum salmon in Woodland Creek and the lake. Later, the bridge was replaced with fill and a 48 inch culvert as the Lacey area and the resulting traffic grew.

In 1993, the City of Lacey obtained what would become the Lake Lois Habitat Preserve and Park with funds provided by a State Department of Natural Resources ALEA (Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account) grant. Funds for this account are derived in part from revenue generated by the leasing of DNR managed tidelands for shellfish aquaculture including oysters and mussels.

In 2011, Lacey in conjunction with Thurston County, completely rebuilt Carpenter Road through the Lake Lois area and widened the road from two to four lanes. At that time, the old failing culvert was replaced by a bridge with a new bottomless culvert, allowing for much easier fish passage through the lake and upstream points in Woodland Creek. During this same construction project, stormwater treatment facilities were installed allowing polluted runoff from Pacific Avenue to receive treatment before flowing into Lake Lois and eventually Henderson Inlet.

Today, Lake Lois features a beautiful stone bridge that incorporates this fish-friendly arching culvert. The bridge is popular with local fishermen who seek to catch its bluegill, yellow perch, largemouth bass and rainbow trout. People can picnic next to attractive stormwater treatment facilities that help keep Woodland Creek clean, benefiting the health of Henderson Inlet and its shellfish resources some five miles downstream. Lake Lois and its Habitat Preserve, along with the adjacent wooded parts of the Saint Martin’s University campus provide an intact tract of woods and waters within the busy limits of the City of Lacey. The next time you drive down Carpenter Road in Lacey, stop and enjoy this small, oft ignored gem.