Category Archives: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

New US Postal Service stamps to feature Pacific NW Wild & Scenic Rivers

The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.

The U.S. Postal Service will feature two Pacific Northwest rivers, one in Oregon and one in Washington, on a new Wild and Scenic Rivers “Forever” postage stamp issue scheduled for later this month.

A pane of twelve stamps will be released May 21 that pays tribute to Wild and Scenic Rivers, exceptional streams that run freely through America’s natural landscapes.

Each stamp showcases a different river, and the issue as a whole is designed to highlight the preservation efforts of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which established the federal designation.

Wild and scenic rivers are those deemed remarkable for values including fish and wildlife, geology, recreation and cultural or historical significance, and flow freely through natural settings, and mostly without man-made alterations.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act categorizes designated segments as either wild, scenic or recreational:

  • Wild rivers are un-dammed, un-polluted and often accessible only by trail.
  • Scenic rivers may be accessible by roads, in places.
  • Recreational river areas are readily accessible, may have been dammed or have some shoreline development, but offer exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, boating, and other activities.

Featured rivers include the lower Deschutes River in central Oregon, which runs through the Deschutes National Forest and is recognized as a Wild and Scenic River for its exceptional recreation value.

The Skagit River segment of the Skagit River System, located on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, is also recognized for its recreational value, while the Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade River segments of the river are designated as scenic under the act.

The more than 200 rivers and river segments designated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System enrich America’s landscape by providing clean water, places of beauty and sanctuary and habitats for native wildlife.

A “first day of issue ceremony” for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Commemorative Forever stamps will be celebrated at Tumalo State Park in Bend, Oregon on Tuesday, May 21. The ceremony is open to all, with free admission and parking. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at uspsonlinesolutions.com (https://uspsonlinesolutions.wufoo.com/forms/zggcc90134hohk/). News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtag #WildScenicRiversStamps and #WildRiverStamps.

To purchase stamps after the first day of issue (May 21), visit usps.com/shop, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), order by mail through USA Philatelic catalog, or visit Post Office locations nationwide.

For more information

America’s Wild and Scenic River system: https://rivers.gov/.

Wild and Scenic River Commemorative Stamps issue: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0419-new-stamps-spotlight-the-natural-beauty-of-americas-rivers.htm.

Day of Issue dedication ceremony – May 21, 11 a.m. at Tumelo Park; Bend Ore.: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0419-new-stamps-spotlight-the-natural-beauty-of-americas-rivers.htm.

The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.
The U.S. Postal Service will release a new issue of 12 wild and scenic river Forever stamps May 21, 2019. Two of the stamps feature Pacific Northwest rivers, the Deschutes River, which flows through the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, and the Skagit River, which flows through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the first day of issue at 11 a.m. in Tumelo State Park in Bend OR. USPS image.

Source information: U.S. Postal Service press release: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0419-new-stamps-spotlight-the-natural-beauty-of-americas-rivers.htm.

Marbled murrelet mysteries revealed by radio telemetry data

A researcher holds a marbled murrelet. The birds were tagged with radio transmitters to record location data as part of a study of their movement patterns. USDA Forest Service photo

In the latest edition of Science Findings, the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station explores the “hidden world” of the marbled murrelet.

The marbled murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus, is a Pacific coast -dwelling shore bird that is federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Ace, in part due to habitat loss.

A marbled murrelet egg rests in a natural shelf. The birds do not build nests for their eggs. USDA Forest Service photo by Nick Hatch.
A marbled murrelet egg rests in a natural shelf. The birds do not build nests for their eggs. USDA Forest Service photo by Nick Hatch.

Their eggs, which are laid on naturally occurring platforms, or shelves, are especially vulnerable to damage as a result of exposure to human-driven activities or development. Their lack of traditional nests also makes it difficult for scientists to study their breeding patterns, even as their total population continues to decline.

A five-year PNW Research Station study used radio transmitters to tag and track a cohort of nearly 150 birds in northwest Washington, producing valuable data about their feeding, breeding and flight habits.

The research illuminated how the birds interact with both marine and coastal forest habitats, and may offer some insight into why this population of birds continues to struggle, despite protections afforded to it by the ESA and in the Northwest Forest Plan amendments.

To learn more, check out Science Findings #213 at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/57633.

Researchers gathered radio telemetry data from a group of around 150 tagged marbled murrelet birds in northwest Washington. USDA Forest Service photo.
Researchers gathered radio telemetry data from a group of around 150 tagged marbled murrelet birds in northwest Washington. USDA Forest Service photo.

Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station staff report.

In the news: Snowshoe with a Ranger at Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie

Shot of a group of snowshoes on feet, gathered in a circle.

Exploring the outdoors is a passion for Rhonda Miller and Mackenzie Williams, and they’re equally passionate about sharing it with others – which is why they lead the “Shoeshoe with a Ranger” program at Stevens Pass on the Mt. Baker-Snoquamie National Forest.

On weekends through March 31, USDA Forest Service wilderness rangers lead visitors on guided, interpretive hikes, using snowshoes donated by outdoor equipment partner REI. The goal is to introduce new visitors to the forest, and the sport – especially those who may not have the experience, equipment, or confidence to head out into the woods on their own.


“There’s all this public land and we want people to benefit from it,” Williams said. “And we want people to enjoy their forest in a way that’s sustainable and allows them to continue enjoying it for a long time.”

Full story, via the Everett Herald:

“Snowshoe with a Ranger” at Stevens Pass is offered Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. through March 31. For locations and links to online registration info, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD609539.

In the News: Record snows at Mt. Baker this ski season

A chairlift on a snowy mountain

Great news for western Washington-based skiers!

The weather team at KING 5 in Seattle, Wash. reported Tuesday that Mt. Baker Ski Area on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has received a record 437 inches of snow so far, this season – including 105 inches in February, alone.

And today, station staff Tweeted that Crystal Mountain ski area, also on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, received 11 inches of snowfall in the past 24 hours, and that Mt. Baker received an additional 8 inches of snow!

Reminder: If you’re headed to the Cascades, driving through any Pacific Northwest mountains, this season – remember weather conditions in mountain passes and at the summit can be very different than those at lower and coastal elevations, and also conditions further inland!

Long delays while waiting for avalanche conditions or severe weather to clear are common.

Be prepared! Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel, traction tires and chains / traction devices, and warm clothing or blankets in case you find yourself stopped… or stuck.

Baker Lake “Road to Trail” opens for public comment

A narrow, woodland trail.

SEDRO WOOLEY, Wash. – September 19, 2018 – The USDA Forest Service, Mount Baker Ranger District is initiating public scoping on the Baker Lake “Road to Trail” project, a proposed project within the Upper Baker Lake Watershed.

The agency is evaluating alternative trail locations to maintain access to the Baker River trail and Baker Lake trail along the Baker River while ensuring natural river and floodplain processes are protected and that future trail infrastructure investments are less likely to be lost or damaged due to periodic flooding.

The river has damaged the Baker Lake Road a number of times in the past; currently there is a damaged section of road prior to the trailhead’s parking area. This effort will determine which trail relocation alternative provides the greatest certainty for long term recreation access, which also maintains or restores river and floodplain processes in addition to being economically feasible now and into the future.

In an effort to reduce paper use, the Forest will emphasize electronic correspondence throughout this project. Please include with your comment: 1) a valid e-mail or mailing address, and 2) your document format preference. The project website will be the primary avenue through which the Forest Service provides information about the project. That website is: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbs/projects, under the heading “Baker Lake Road to Trail Project.”

Electronic comments are preferred. Email comments to: comments-pacificnorthwest-mtbaker-snoqualmie-mtbaker@fs.fed.us with the subject line, “Baker Lake Road to Trail Project.” Include your comment in the text of the actual e-mail message, or attach a plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), PDF (.pdf), or Word (.doc or .docx) file containing your comment to the email.

Written comments can be mailed or delivered in person to the Mt. Baker District Ranger office:

Mt. Baker District Ranger Office
(attn: Erin Uloth, District Ranger)
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1263

If you prefer paper copies of project documents, or for more information regarding the project, please contact Jeremy Gilman, Project Team Leader, at (360) 854-2633 or jmgilman@fs.fed.us.


Source information: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest staff report. The press release is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD596225.

In the News: Bringing diversity to the outdoors

a girl smiles while holding up her shoeshoes, amid a crowd of students

“With the Olympic Mountains on its western fringe and the Cascade Range to the east, the Seattle area is at the center of some of the most eye-popping landscape in the United States,” Lornet Turnbull, writes for the Washingon Post: “Several million acres of wilderness lie within an easy drive, and in recent years, the increasingly crowded trails here have also begun to reflect a growing diversity — despite Seattle being one of the least diverse major cities in the country.”

The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region is among a diverse coalition of individuals, agencies, non-profits, and private companies working to ensure all Americans enjoy access to the the outdoors, especially on the nation’s national forests and grasslands.

In addition to helping organize and support outdoors experiences with non-profit partners (like Latino Outdoors in Seattle, as referenced in the article), other programs that support improved diversity in access to – and management of – federal lands managed by the agency include the national Every Kid in a Park pass program for 4th graders and families; AmeriCorps paid high school completion, vocational training, and education stipends for young adults; summer jobs performing trails maintenance and stewardship work for high school and college students; and scholarships and research fellowships for students interested in pursuing a land management -related career.

Read more:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/hiking-a-diverse-trail-the-great-outdoors-is-finally-drawing-more-people-of-color/2018/09/08/c429e470-ad6b-11e8-a8d7-0f63ab8b1370_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ec721209a9f3

In the News: Mountain goat relocation set to start this week

A mountain goat, perched on a rocky outcrop.

The first of hundreds of mountain goats will be removed from Olympic National Park and relocated to Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests by helicopter, beginning this week, reporter Logan Stanley writes for The Olympian.

The goats are native to Washington State’s northern Cascades range, but were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.

“The move is aimed at re-establishing the depleted mountain goat populations in the Washington Cascades, and reduce problems caused in the Olympics by the non-native goats,” he writes. “Mountain goats have been known to approach hikers because they are attracted to the salt from their sweat, urine, and food. That behavior is less likely in the north Cascades where visitors are more spread out, said Rich Harris, a WDFW wildlife manager who specializes in mountain goats. The north Cascades also have an abundance of natural salt licks, while the Olympic Peninsula has virtually none, Harris said.”

Read more: https://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article218060560.html

Bog-dwelling beetle spotted on Olympic NF

A beetle crawls on a piece of moss.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Aug. 24, 2018 –  An Olympic National Forest biologist and a pair of Student Conservation Association student interns have documented the first known site for the Beller’s ground beetle (Agonum belleri) on the Olympic Peninsula.

Karen Holtrop, a USDA Forest Service wildlife biologist, Student Conservation Association interns Karen Guzman and Conor Cubit, and employees of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, found the beetle while conducting surveys for the beetle at the the Cranberry Bog Botanical Area in the Dungeness watershed, located on the Olympic National Forest,in June.

An intern sets beetle traps

Student Conservation Associaton intern Karen Guzman sets an insect trap during a survey for Beller’s ground beetle at the Cranberry Bog Botanical Area on Olympic National Forest June 14, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Karen Holtrop.

Beller’s ground beetle is a wetland-dependent ground beetle that is regionally listed as a “sensitive species” by the USDA Forest Service.  The agency lists species as “sensitive” when there’s a concern regarding the species population numbers, density, or habitat.

A woman examining a beetle in a specimen jar.

Annabelle Pfeffer, an intern working with the USDA Forest Service, holds a Beller’s ground beetle specimen during an earlier survey, May 3, 2018. USDA Forest Service file photo by Karen Holtrop.

The beetle was suspected to live on the Olympic National Forest, but that had not been confirmed until now. It is usually found in sphagnum bogs at a range of elevations, from sea level to alpine.

Threats include habitat destruction from urban development, logging, water-level alteration, peat-mining, and pesticides, and climate changes affecting bog water levels or seasonal duration periods.

The Beller’s ground beetle is also known to live on the Mt. Hood National Forest, and is also believed to be present on the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests — although this has not yet been confirmed.

The Olympic National Forest conducts regular surveys for wildlife, fish, and botanical species. Surveys are usually done in cooperation with state and federal agencies, tribes, non-government agencies, citizen volunteers, and others.

This summer, surveyors also confirmed the presence of the Makah copper butterfly on the forest.

Information gathered by such surveys not only documents where habitat for species can be found, but also helps identify locations for and the success of restoration efforts. For example, Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly, a federally endangered species was discovered to have returned to an area of the peninsula, following planting of native vegetation in its historical habitat as a result of a wildlife survey.

Interns prepare to survey for beetles in a spaughnum bog.

Karen Guzman and Conor Cubit, Student Conservation Association interns working with the Olympic National Forest, surveyed for Beller’s ground beetle on the forest’s Cranberry Bog Botanical Area June 27, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Karen Holtrop.


Source information: Olympic National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/olympic/learning/?cid=fseprd587761

Special activities, events through Labor Day weekend on Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF

An accessible trail circles the shore of a small alpine lake

EVERETT, Wash.August 22, 2018 —  The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is offering a number of opportunities to explore the history, culture, ecosystem, and other features of the forest through Labor Day weekend.

At Heather Meadows Visitor Center, a guest speaker, class, activity or event is scheduled every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., through Sept. 2. The visitor center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 7 days a week and features exhibits on local geology, plants, and animals, and a Discover Your Northwest gift shop. Please note: Heather Meadows Visitor Center exhibits and the events listed are ADA-accessible, free, open to the public – but you will need a federal inter-agency / “America the Beautiful” pass or the Northwest Forest Pass annual pass or day-pass for your visit.

Upcoming special presentations at Heather Meadows Visitor Center include:

  • AUG. 25, 1 p.m.: Civilian Conservation Corps and Camp Glacier – Janet Oakley. Listen to local historian, Janet Oakley, as she shares her knowledge of the Civilian Conservation Corps and their pivotal role in developing infrastructure within the rugged Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
  • AUG. 26, 1 p.m.: Nooksack Tribal Storytelling – Tammy Cooper-Woodrich. Join Nooksack Tribal elder Tammy Cooper-Woodrich for traditional stories about the animals, plants, and people of the Nooksack River drainage.
  • SEPT. 1, 1 p.m.: Local Wildlife Education – David Drummond. Join David Drummond as he talks about local wildlife within this Alpine Ecosystem!
  • SEPT. 2, 1 p.m.: The Grand Old Lady of Mt. Baker – Michael Impero. A history of the Mt. Baker Lodge with Michael G. Impero, author of the books, “The Lone Jack: King of the Mount Baker Mining District” and “Dreams of Gold” will give a presentation on his newest topic of interest, the Mount Baker Lodge.

Guided hikes at Deception Falls:

At Deception Falls Picnic Area, guided hikes are offered with a Forest Service field ranger Saturdays through Sept. 1. Learn about identification of local plants and animals, forest ecology and health, and the geologic processes which have shaped this unique landscape during a free, one-hour interpretive hike, beginning at the Deception Falls Picnic area. Bring your wilderness related questions about animals, vegetation, geology, waterfalls, hiking and forest safety!

You’ll find the Interpretive Ranger near the picnic tables, just off of the parking lot at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the scheduled days. Come early as the walks begin promptly. Guided hikes are complimentary and open to everyone. For questions, please contact the Skykomish Ranger Station on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest  at (360) 677-2414.

A uniformed Forest Service field ranger speaks as a visitor listens attentively

A field ranger talks with visitors at Artists Ridge, near the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, on Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Wash., August 4, 2016. USDA Forest Service photo.

 

Further afield: Spring wildflower preview

There’s a saying, April showers bring May flowers. But even in March, any color that punctures winter’s gloom makes us wonder “when will the wildflowers arrive?”

Wildflower season brings big crowds to the region’s most accessible mountain meadows, which are renowned for producing dense displays of short-lived summer blooms.

Beginning March 31, 2018, Skamania County will provide shuttle service on busy weekends at Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to help alleviate traffic that created parking and safety issues, and visitors who don’t use the shuttle on those dates will need a Forest Service permit before they go.

More information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/crgnsa/fire/?cid=FSEPRD572962.

Mark Skinner, regional botanist for the Forest Service – Pacific Northwest region spring, 2018 seems like a relatively typical wildflower season so far, in that the first spring flowers don’t seem to be significantly ahead or behind schedule in most areas.

But it’s notoriously difficult to predict when flower displays will “peak,” he said.

“Any place you go there are things that bloom early and there are things that bloom late. There are irises blooming the second week of April on the Umpqua (National Forest), but the lilies aren’t going to bloom until early July,” Skinner said.

Some of the first spring flowers in the northwest arrive as early as late winter, such as the blossoms on native cherries and other fruit-bearing bushes and shrubs.

The glacier lily, Erythronium grandiflorum, is among of the first flowers that emerges at higher elevations, appearing as snowbanks retreat in sub-alpine areas.

A Pacific Dotted Blue butterfly perches on a bluehead gilia blossom

A Pacific Dotted Blue butterfly perches on a bluehead gilia blossom at Marys Peak on the Siuslaw National Forest in this undated Bureau of Land Management photo.

One such area, Mary’s Peak, on the Siuslaw National Forest, is known to be an excellent site for spring flower spotting.

The area is a Forest Service-designated special botanical area.

“It’s a little earlier of a season than other spots in the Cascades, on higher peaks, and it’s also easy to access,” Lisa Romano, the forest’s Public Affairs Officer, said.

The Marys Peak day use area and parking lot are located alongside the largest of the mountain’s five sub-alpine fields, with a dirt road a path around the summit’s other meadows, a rock garden and a streambed, where a variety of other flowers can be found.

If you’re up for a more of a challenge, Tatoosh Ridge on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington, offers views spectacular views of Mount Rainier beyond exuberant summer flower displays in July.

Longtime northwest hiker Jay Stern filed trip reports from the trail on nwhikers.net in 2016 and 2017.

meadow filled with wildflowers

Bands of colored flowers dominate the landscape in this Tatoosh Ridge meadow, photographed by hiker Jay Stern during a July 16, 2017 trip to Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Originally published on nwhikers.net by the photographer (used with permission).

He recommends waiting until the July snow melt is well underway, bringing hiking poles, plenty of water, and watching other hiker’s trip reports if you are trying to time your trip around “peak color.”

“It’s worth the effort,” Stern said. “But that first section, the first two miles are going to be steep… you’re going to work for it.”

For a less intense hike, Willamette National Forest botanist Ryan Murdoff suggests the Tire Mountain trail, where visitors can find Washington lily (Lilium washingtonianum), wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), vanilla leaf (Achlys triphylla), field chickweed (Cerastium arvense), Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum quamash), broadleaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius), and other wildflowers. The trail leads into the Pacific Crest Trail system and is also open to horseback riders and mountain bikes.

For access to a variety of hikes and an expansive assortment of wildflowers, public affairs specialist Chiara Cipriano suggests the Iron Mountain, also located on Willamette National Forest.

More than 300 species of wildflowers grow in the area, and nearby trailheads offer several hiking options.

Two popular routes include the short summit hike, which leads to a viewing platform, and the Cone Peak trail, a longer trail but at a a gentler grade that takes hikers through several meadows.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest botanist Helen Lau likes to send flower-seekers on a scenic driving tour: from Reecer Creek Rd. in Ellensburg, Wash., to Forest Service Rd. 3500 on the forest, and then follow the road up Table Mountain.

“The diversity of habitats within this drive are wonderful,” Lau said.

Wildflowers paint a red and green swath along the rocky edge of Soda Creek

Wildflowers paint a red and green swath along the rocky edge of Soda Creek on Deschutes National Forest in this undated USDA Forest Service photo.

Visitors who time their trip right can see forested roads carpeted with yellow balsam root (Basamorhiza sagittatta), dotted with showy phlox (Phlox speciose), and brightly-colored penstemon species. At higher elevations, they’ll find rugged, rocky meadows studded with brightly colored blossoms.

Cheryl Bartlet, a botanist based on the Olympic National Forest, also suggested a forest drive; Forest Road 24 to Lake Cushman, outside Hoodsport, Wash.

“It’s accessible to everyone, and is very easy to get to,” she said.

On their way to the lake, travelers pass cliffs and rocky areas supporting a diverse mix of summer wildflowers, including harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora), seablush (Plectritis congesta), farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena), checker lily (Fritillaria affinis), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), columbine (Aquilegia formosa), and sticky cinquefoil (Drymocallis glandulosa).

“Every spring, there’s a pretty spectacular display of seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) and chickweed monkeyflower (Erythranthe alsinoides) on the cliff faces,” Bartlet said.

Just watch out for the equally-bountiful poison oak along the roadway, she warned; wait to reach the lake before getting out to enjoy the scenery, or extend your trip by following trails from the Dry Creek, Mt. Rose or Mt. Ellinor trailheads.

Three Peaks Botanical Area, located in the upper Wynoochee River watershed along Forest Service Rd. 2270, is another top spot for wildflowers on the Olympic Peninsula.

The area was designated as a botanical area to protect ancient stands of Alaska yellow cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis), but is also home to wet meadows that support a particularly diverse mix of species, such as the yellow-flowered sedge (Carex anthoxanthea) and northern Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), Bartlet said.

Yellow, red and blue wildflowers in a grassy field.

An array of primary colors make this grouping of wildflowers stand out at Starvation Ridge, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in this undated USDA Forest Service photo.

Other species include elephant’s head (Pedicularis groenlandica), pale larkspur (Delphinium glaucum), sticky false asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa), arrowleaf groundsel (Senicio triangularis), Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis), marsh violet (Viola palustris), broad-leaved Caltha (Caltha biflora), leatherleaf saxifrage (Leptarrhena pyrolifolia) and yellow willowherb (Epilobium luteum).

Visitors may even catch a glimpse of Bartlet’s favorite flower, the common butterwort; a small plant, with a purple flower rising from a bundle of yellow-green leaves and one of the Pacific Northwest’s few native carnivorous plants.

The leaves secrete a digestive enzyme that slowly dissolves small insects, and it’s scientific name, Pinguicula vulgaris, means “greasy little fat one.”

“What’s not to love?” Bartlet said.

For earlier blooms, Patrick Lair, public affairs officer for the Ochoco National Forest, suggests visiting the Big Summit Prairie, near Prineville, Ore.

Wildflowers on Big Summit Prairie

Wildflowers abound on Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco National Forest, in this undated USDA Forest Service photo.

As early as April, visitors can find pink desert shooting stars (Dodecatheon conjugens) and lavender grass widow flowers (Olsynium douglasii).

In May and June, yellow wooley mule’s ears (Wyethia mollis) and purple camas flowers (Camassia quamash) begin to bloom in the fields, while pink and white bitterroot blossoms (Lewisia rediviva) emerge on the dry, rocky flats.

In June and July, look for western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), coastal larkspur (Delphinium decorum), giant red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), Oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana), and arrow-leaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), and Peck’s mariposa lily (Calochortus longebarbatus var. peckii) – a delicate blossom with round, blue-lavender petals that grows only in the Ochoco Mountains.

Fireweed bush grows on a rocky ridge above a lake

A cluster of fireweed grows on Harry’s Ridge, above Spirit Lake, at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in an undated USDA Forest Service photo.

For a longer drive, the forest’s Paulina District created a “Scabland Tour” that maps an all-day trek through several forest habitats. The route includes juniper and pine forest, wet meadows, and rocky scabland, views of the Snow Mountains, and a spectacular array of wildflowers, including Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamhoriza sagittata), mule-ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis), Sagebrush mariposa lily (Calochortus macrocarpus), lupine, and tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum).

In southwest Oregon, the T.J. Howell Botanical Drive through Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest offers several vantage points for viewing wildflowers and unusual plants, including Eight Dollar Mountain Botanical Wayside, Days Gulch Botanical Area, Josephine Camp, and Little Falls Trail.

Howell’s saxifrage (Micranthes howellii) and Howell’s mariposa lily (Calochortus Howellii) can be seen at various locations. Both named for Thomas Jefferson Howell, one of the state’s earliest botanists.

Another of the Northwest’s few carnivorous species, the California pitcher plant (Daringtonia californica), is found in wetland areas.

The forest’s Rough and Ready Flat Botanical Area is another area known for unusual plants, including several rare, threatened and endangered species.

Three Fingered Jack rock formation with flowers in the foreground

Wildflowers pepper the field beneath Three Finger Jack at Canyon Creek, Deschutes National Forest in an undated USDA Forest Service photo.

McDonald’s rock-cress (Arabis macdonaldiana), a federally listed endangered species, Hooker’s Indian-pink (Silene hookerii), and the two-eyed violet (Viola ocellata) are among the more unusual blooms, and appear alongside more common species like nodding arnica (Arnica cordifolia), coast larkspur (delphinium decorum), and western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis). Flowers begin to emerge in March, with peak blooms in later April through May.

Further north, the Sauk Mountain day hike on Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest offers 1500 feet of elevation gain over two miles, with sweeping views of sub-alpine meadows, North Cascades mountain peaks, and the Skagit River valley.

Trailhead parking tends to fill up on weekends during peak wildflower season, so mid-week hikes are recommended. The mountain’s wildflower season is typically peaks in late July.

Wildflowers skirt the shore of Crescent Lake

Wildflowers skirt the shore of Crescent Lake on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in this undated USDA Forest Service photo.

And although Heather Meadows is better known as home to Mount Baker ski area, forest staff  say it’s also an excellent setting for wildflower hikes in late July, when the snow pack briefly recedes.

The Fire and Ice interpretive trail includes a 100 yard, accessible paved path with seating and an overlook, while Artist Ridge trail is a one mile loop featuring fields of Alaska bell-heather (Harrimanella stelleriana) and species like Avalanche Lilies (Erythronium montanum), broad-leaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius) and spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa).

The Bagley Lakes trail features a 3/4 mile path, with waterfalls and wildflowers along the route.

Green Mountain, accessible via Suiattle River Rd. (Forest Service Rd. 26) off State Route 530, is another popular hike on the forest. Its wildflower season peaks in mid to late July, and is best visited mid-week to avoid crowds.

Wildflowers along Kettle Crest trail

Wildflowers grow along the Kettle Crest Trail, Colville National Forest in an undated USDA Forest Service photo.

In northeast Washington, the 44-mile Kettle Crest – South trail, part of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail on the Colville National Forest, offers numerous opportunities for wildflower seekers, as it follows the ridgeline over multiple peaks. One highlight is the White Mountain trailhead, located 30 miles outside Colville, Wash.

Kettle Crest – North also features numerous mountaintop meadows along the route.

For non-hikers, the portion of State Route 20 from Usk to Cusick, Wash., near Colville National Forest, features plentiful flowers along the roadway in mid-to-late May. The route is paved and passable by passenger vehicles.

If you have a vehicle capable of driving off-road (pick-up truck or SUV), consider entering the forest via Iron Mountain Rd. (Forest Service Rd. 9535) outside Addy, Wash. in late May or early June. Look for a rocky outcrop about 1 mile southwest of the junction with Forest Service Rd. 300, for “a stupendous view of the Colville Valley, north and south,” Franklin Pemberton, the forests’ public affairs officer, said.

Highlights include prairie stars (Lithophragma parviflora), desert parsley and biscuitroot species (Lomatium sp.), and shooting stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii), plus “a few surprises,” he said.

But while flowers are a great way to get people excited about the outdoors, regional botanist Skinner believes sometimes people focus too much on timing trips in search of peak blooms, and overlook the flowers blooming all around them, every day.

Glide Wildflower Show; April 28-29, 2018 in Glide, OR. Suggested donation is $3.

The Glide Wildflower Show is April 28-29 in Glide, Ore.

“We have one of the outstanding floras of the world, with plant diversity being especially rich. We’ve got hundreds of species found nowhere else, and some of the most spectacular forests in the world. It’s a fantastic place for plants.” Skinner said.

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One place visitors are guaranteed to see plenty of wildflowers is at the Glide Wildflower Show, April 28 and 29, at the Glide Community Center in Glide, Ore. Forest Service botanists will be among those helping identify more than 600 flowering plants gathered from local forests and fields by volunteers for display! Find news about the exhibition and related events on the show’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Glide-Wildflower-Show-377053879003054/

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