The Noel Cole Fish & Wildlife Project


recreation & restoration since 1982

On the banks of the North Fork of The Newaukum River

In Memorium

Noel Edward Cole

9/1/27 – 9/4/21


On September 4th, we lost our father, friend, and hero. For over 40 years, Noel graciously gave his time and efforts to preserve and restore the habitat and population of Washington’s treasured salmon.

On Saturday, June 18, we’ll celebrate Noel’s life of hard work and contributions to the community and so many people’s lives.

About The Noel Cole Fish & Wildlife Project

“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

An Idea is Hatched

Noel Cole, an individual with a passion for the outdoors and fishing, is the founder of the Noel Cole Fish & Wildlife Project. After digging a fishpond and raising trout as a hobby for several years Noel decided to partner with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) to raise steelhead salmon. When he heard about barrier-free fishing, recreational areas designed with alternative means of access for those with physical or other disabilities, Noel was impassioned to offer this community service. After discussions with various organizations, a plan was put in place with WDFW and the Olympia WA Chapter of Trout Unlimited in 1983 to offer barrier-free fishing to local special needs students, facility-bound elders, and disabled veterans.

 A Man With A Mission

Noel built wheelchair ramps over the pond and made all adjustments needed to make the pond accessible to everyone. Since inception, over 3,000 underserved community members have been through the program and have had an opportunity to experience trout fishing in the beautiful outdoors.  Each year the pond requires extensive work and monitoring to be able function and facilitate the groups.  Trout Unlimited and community members have volunteered to assist with maintenance and helping on the days groups arrive to fish.

The Project is located in Chehalis, Washington, on the banks of the north fork of the Newaukum River. The Noel Cole Fish & Wildlife Project offers barrier-free fishing to our community of special needs students, facility-bound elders, and disabled veterans. Barrier-free fishing provides a safe and accessible space for our underserved community members to fish for rainbow trout and enjoy a day in the great outdoors. We aim to positively impact the physical, mental, and social health of these groups and our community of volunteers. In addition, the Project works to restore and protect the local run of salmon, maintaining responsible environmental stewardship practices.


According to research done by the National Institute of Health, outdoor activities improve physical, mental, and social health in people with disabilities. Research confirms that both visual and physical contact with natural environments is beneficial to human health. Natural environments have a positive impact on human health by reducing the time it takes to recover from stressful events, reduces mental fatigue, increasing social ties and encourages people to engage in more physical activities.


Salmon are iconic to the Pacific NW. Our lives are interconnected, Healthy habitats protect and restore our salmon populations in rivers, streams, and the ocean. In collaboration with WDFW, Trout Unlimited, and the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, The Project carries on Noel’s work by raising salmon each year and releasing them into the north fork of the Newaukum River, a tributary of the Chehalis Basin.

We Have the Power to Impact Our Future, and We’re Doing Something About It

Be part of the solution – Volunteer.

Our project seeks to continue the legacy that was started by Noel Cole, who passed away in 2021 at 94. Our goal is to continue building an organization of partners and volunteers to make this program sustainable. We involve various groups of volunteers and continue to build a strong network of partnerships. Partnerships with the Olympia Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife have contributed to the program with volunteers and keeping the pond stocked with fish and feed. The program draws groups from Lewis and Thurston counties.


Our Partners & Sponsors

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