Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Native Plant Field Hikes

Anyone is welcome to join these free trips. Please reserve a spot on any hike by contacting the trip leader.

Trip Leaders, here are the documents to print for each walk you lead. 

Click Here for the Release Form (Have all attendees fill out)

April 29:  MVIC Native Plant Garden Tour
Wander around the Methow Valley Interpretive Center’s Native Plant Garden and hear about the many medicinal and edible uses of the plants we find there. We will meet at 11am. Space is limited to 12. Reserve your spot by contacting the trip leaders. Rosalee & Xavier de la ForĂȘt or 997-0545

May 28Pearrygin Lake 

A walk in the hills just above Pearrygin Lake on Sunday May 28th; we will park along the road at the big pond on the way in to the lake and walk east from there, around the pond and over hill and dale. making a loop. The terrain will be mild, not steep, but the hike
will be in off trail in the shrub-steppe. We will do some botany-- learning to identify plant families, identifying the grasses that we see, and keying out a few plants just for the fun of it.

There are at least a couple of unusual plants of there: a favorite of mine, blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium), and a rare plant called Monolepis which
we may or may not find.

We will meet at the trailhead parking lot adjacent to Winthrop Physical Therapy at 9 AM, and will try to be back to the cars at 1 PM, after walking 2-3 miles.
Call or write Dana to sign up or with questions. 

May 5: Goal Wall Hike out of Mazama
Our route up the Goat Wall Trail will zigzag gently from the climbing rock parking lot, rather than straight up.  We'll meet at the Mazama store first, to insure all have lunches, water, and to carpool.  Register with Eric Burr & Margrit Broennimann

July 8th: Sweetgrass Butte (Suitable Road and Snow condition dependent)

Sweetgrass Butte is about 17 miles out of Winthrop up the Cub Creek drainage on mostly FS gravel roads.  High clearance vehicles may be needed. You can drive to the top of the Butte, but road conditions may not be ideal.  At 6100’ the plants are starting to take on a bit of that subalpine and alpine feel.  Once up to the Butte, the terrain is easy to moderate depending on where we end up.  Good hiking shoes/boots are recommended.  Bring a lunch, bug repellant, sunscreen, water, and the basic back country attire for all possible weather.  We will meet at the Barn in Winthrop at 8am to carpool.  We will return to the Barn no later than 3 pm.  I will check on road and snow conditions just prior to the trip and let those signed up know what to expect.
Limited to 10 people.

Contact Therese Ohlson or call 509-997-0118. 

July 15-16: Dollar Watch Mountain Obsidian
This is an 18 mile round trip overnight campout in the Pasayten Wilderness. We plan to camp near the Lost River confluence of Deception Creek where we will look for volcanic rocks on Sunday morning. The total elevation gain and trail level of difficulty is moderate, crossing two low passes Billy Goat Pass (<1500 ft relief) and Lucky Pass (1200 ft relief). Email George for more information and a list of required gear for this extended outing. A short version of the hike that only goes to Billy Goat Pass for a Saturday day hike is possible if a leader volunteers for the return portion. Billy Goat Pass is an easy 1.5 mile hike beginning at Eightmile Pass Trailhead. It goes along a Rocky Trail and ends at the Pasayten Wilderness Boundary. Rock lovers will like shrubby penstemon and saxifrages; shade lovers will like Tiarella.

Confirm attendance with leader George Wooten (509-997-6010,, limit 12 people total. You will need Wilderness gear, backpack, meals for 2 days, sleeping bag and a tent. We will carpool from Winthrop. Parking permits are required for $5 per day if you don't have a pass.

June 23: Butterfly Field Trip
Depending on conditions, we’ll choose a spot with easy walking where we can enjoy the flowers and catch butterflies to look at them closely, and then release them. Bring nets and field guides if you have them, but we have extras. Look for location confirmation via email a few days in advance of the trip. We will meet at 9am. Limited to 12 people. To reserve your spot, notify Joyce. 509-996-7808

Saturday, April 16, 2016

2016 WNPS Hikes

Anyone is welcome to join these free trips. Please reserve a spot on any hike by contacting the trip leader.

April 16—Mill Hill (Twisp) for Flowers & Bees—led by Dana Visalli  dana at 509-997-9011
A short (2-miles) but steep hike up the trail that goes up the ridge just south of Twisp. Approximately 9 AM to noon. There is a charming dwarf lupine up there that will be in the youth of its bloom, plus some other unusual plants. We will also observe  pollinators and try to identify them and watch the ravens play along the cliffs. Meet in Hank’s parking lot at 9 AM (we won’t leave cars there).

April 23—Location TBA—led by Rosalee de la Foret-  rosalee at  997-0545
We’ll go slow and spend lots of time talking about the edible and medicinal uses of the plants we see. We hope to see yellow bells, arrow leaf, spring beauties, yarrow, bitterroot, lupine, various Lomatiums and more. 10 AM. 

April 30—Spokane Gulch, Goat Wall—led by Eric Burr  burrski at  996-3101
Spokane Gulch-Goat Wall: Moderate unmaintained foot paths up and back from whichever side the group is most interested in, with the possibility for a through hike(a soggy 3 miler) and car shuttles for those interested. Usually we eat lunch up at a view point and are back down mid-afternoon. Early season flowers and birds on Mazama's most popular unofficial "trail" before the higher country opens up, with views of Gardner and Silver Star.  Meet at the Mazama Store at 9 AM to organize and stock up with lunch stuff.

May 20-21Bee Identification Workshop with Don Rolfs
This will be Friday evening Saturday ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /9 AM- 2 PM field workshop on how to identify our native bee pollinators. Don is one of the best native bee instructors in the country so this is a rare opportunity to learn about bees. Cost $10 (to pay his expenses getting and staying here) A limit of 20 people with 8 signed up; reserve a spot with Dana   dana at  509-997-9011

June 5Grass Identification Workshop with Dana Visalli
There are over 100 species of grasses in the Methow, but most people do not recognize more than two or three of them. In this 9 AM to 3:30 PM program we will work in a botany lab set up at Twisp Works and in the field to learn to recognize 20 of the most common grasses in the Methow, and the basics of how to key out all grasses.
Cost is $35; contact Mary Kiesau at the Methow Conservancy to sign up at 996-2870, mary at

June 11Butterfly Hike—led by Joyce Bergen  
Butterflies for beginners, plants too, location to be announced, depending on seasonal conditions. This will be easy walking. Bring nets & field guides if you have them; we have extras. No collecting, just catch-identify-and-release. Look for location confirmation via email a few days in advance of the trip. We will meet at 9 AM. Limited to 12 people. To join, notify Joyce. magpie at  509-996-7808

June 19Hoodoo/Bigalow for Alpine Forgetmenots—led by Dana Visalli  
This is a difficult 14 mile roundtrip hike up the East Fork Buttermilk trail to see the rare alpine forgetmenots and snow Douglasia blooming on Bigalow Mountain. There will snow to climb and descent at Hoodoo Pass. We will leave early, probably 6:30 AM. dana at  509-997-9011. 

July 3 or thereaboutsMiddle Tiffany Tundra Country—led by Caryl Campbell 
Middle Tiffany, just north of Tiffany Mountain, has a fascinating expanse of tundra-like grasslands with sporadic wetlands, a botanical wonderland. The hike is about 5 miles long with some elevation gain.
 bearfight at  996-3458. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Maple Pass Loop Restoration - Plant-and-Camp

Image courtesy of Andy Porter Photography

Join us on Saturday, September 26 and/or Sunday, September 27, 2015, to help us plant thousands of fragile alpine plants on the high reaches of the Maple Pass trail. Long a local favorite, this trail boast stunning mountain scenery around every turn as hikers pass through alpine meadows and over mountain passes. High use and cross-country travel, however, have severely damaged fragile plants. 

Heather communities that took 10,000 years to establish themselves have simply been walked off. With your help, we will start restoring this special and sensitive place by planting seedlings and rehabilitating areas impacted by campsites.

Camping along this trail is prohibited to protect the fragile plant community from further damage.  However, with thousands of seedlings to plant, the Forest Service has granted us a special exemption from its regulations and is allowing NFF volunteers to camp in previously disturbed areas along the upper reaches of the Maple Pass Loop.  This will minimize travel time to and from the planting areas and allow us to efficiently rehabilitate the campsites on Sunday.

Image courtesy of Evan Eremita

Join us for the full weekend and wake up to a view like this, or participate in either or both days of planting by hiking up in the mornings.

We will meet at 9:00 am at the Maple Pass Loop trailhead in the Rainy Pass picnic area on both Saturday and Sunday to hike on up and start planting!

What to Bring/Wear (Please bring/wear the following if you are joining us during the day only):
  • Long pants
  • Ankle-supported, sturdy hiking/work boots
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Warm layers, including winter gloves and a hat - it may snow at the higher reaches of the Maple Pass Loop at this time of year
  • Extra water
  • Eye protection (sunglasses
    or other glasses)
  • Lunch and snacks

The Forest Service will provide work gloves, hard hats and tools.

If you will be joining us for the Plant-and-Camp, please also bring the following:
  • Camping supplies (tent, warm sleeping bag and pad)
  • Dinner for Saturday and breakfast for Sunday
  • Cooking stove and utensils
  • Headlamp
  • Change of clothes

Image courtesy of Andy Porter Photography

Directions to the Rainy Pass Picnic Area and Maple Pass Loop Trailhead:
From Winthrop, drive west on State Route 20 about 35 miles to Rainy Pass. Park in the south parking lot on the left side of the highway.

Where to Stay
If you will not be joining us for the Plant-and-Camp, you can also camp for free in the beautiful Lone Fir or Klipchuck campgrounds. Please bring your all your own camping gear/supplies.

Questions? Please contact Natalie Kuehler at or (509) 996-4057.

  • Start  26 Sep 2015 9:00 AM (PDT)
  • End 27 Sep 2015 4:00 PM (PDT)
  • Location Rainy Pass Trailhead
  • Volunteer – Free

NOTE: If winter weather closes in on the North Cascades early this year and freezes the soil, this volunteer event will need to be rescheduled.

We look forward to seeing you in the Majestic Methow!

This event is sponsored by the National Forest Foundation and U.S. Forest Service.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring Flowers to Know and Love

Our chapter president, Dana Visalli, will present  “Spring Flowers to Know and Love” at the Twisp River Pub this Tuesday. 

Dana will review our most abundant spring wildflowers and tell some of their personal stories--why they have the color, shape, size, and aroma that they do? 

You will know these little friends better after this program. He will also touch on the larger picture of how flowering plants have affected the rest of life on land.

This is a free event. Doors open at 6:00 and dinner will be available for purchase. 

The presentation will be from 7:00-8:30.

This event is in association with the Methow Conservancy.

Shooting Stars, photo by Rosalee de la ForĂȘt

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Naturally Beautiful Roadsides Project Update

Hello friends of the WNPS Okanogan Chapter,

We had a great year on our Naturally Beautiful Roadsides project. 

Richardson's penstemon was still blooming at the site on October 30th.


Since autumn of 2008, chapter volunteers have cared for a short stretch of roadside along Wa. State Highway 20, between Winthrop and Twisp, from milepost 198.7 to 198.9 approximately, on both sides of the road. We broadcast native plant seeds, plant native plants, and hand-pull weeds rather than use herbicide. Each year we sign a No-Spray Agreement with the Wa. St. Dept. of Transportation (DOT).

Look for our sign!

This spring DOT installed a sign identifying our site and flexible plastic stakes that alert spray crews – red stakes at the beginning of our site mean “stop spraying”; green ones at each end of our site mean “resume spraying”. Those stakes should prevent any accidental spraying of our site. Also, we ordered small “no spray” signs to install each growing season.

Quite a lot of seed

In the past, we always hoped to collect lots of seeds for the roadside, but most years we just didn’t get it done. Still, we wanted to kick-start colorful flowers at our site. So at the 2014 annual meeting, we requested and were granted a budget of $500 to spend on the "no spray" signs described above, and seeds. We spent $474.07 to get signs and all the seeds listed below.

1 lb. of Lupinus sericeus, silky lupine
2 lb. of Linum lewisii, flax
1/2 lb. of Eriophyllum lanatum, Oregon sunshine
1/2 lb. of Penstemon venustus
Ipomopsis aggregata, scarlet gilia (both purchased seeds and seed collected by Dana Visalli, Dorothy Evans, Lucinda Tear, Juliet Rhodes and others)

And many other seeds we collected - 
Ericameria greenei, goldenweed
Erigeron pumilis and E. linearis
Purshia tridentata, bitterbrush
Lithospermum ruderale, puccoon
Gaillardia aristata, blanketflower
Mentzelia laevicaulis, blazing star
Bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and who knows what else
Gloria Spiwak collected penstemon and others from the MVIC native garden.

Autumn work

On a rainy October 30, a hearty crew whipped through the weeding and then put down all the seeds listed above. Peter Morrison took our bags of weeds and continues to compost them as he has in the past. In the future we plan to step back from this project, do only light weeding in spring and fall, and hope that all those seeds pay off with some flowers observable at 60 mph.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

On Fire: Methow Plants, Wildlife & Fire

fire on Balky Hill on 7.19

Our local Okanogan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society is sponsoring a free program that Dana Visalli will be giving at the Twisp pub titled: 

On Fire: Methow Plants, Wildlife & Fire

Join us Monday evening, 
November 10th at 7 PM
doors open at 6:00 for snacks and drinks 

Dana will be discussing the adaptations that our local plant and animal species have to fire, and how they have been responding to date to the summer fires. 

It's a fascinating subject and we hope you can come and participate. 

The doors open at 6 PM for drinks, snacks and socializing.

Regarding fire, why do some of our plants resprout after a fire and some do not?  

And why are there little sunflowers blooming here and there out in the burned areas (have you seen them)? 

Beyond that, we will also briefly address the question what exactly is fire anyway--why can a stick or a tree turn to a pile of ashes--and what impact has fire had on the human evolutionary journey?  

We hope to see you there!

Field aster, Aster campestris, blooming right now,
out of season, due to the fires