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Central Puget Sound Chapter: Field Trips & Plant Walks

   Chapter Information         


Weigh in on the kind of field trips you would enjoy and where you would like to go. If you have an idea or a request for a field trip, please email Elizabeth Gage, Office and Volunteer Coordinator, at info@wnps.org

Guided field trips and self-guided plant walks are great ways to learn more about native plants.

Field Trip Schedule

CLICK HERE for a calendar showing upcoming field trips and other CPS activities.

The Issaquah Alps hiking club (http://issaquahalps.org) has hikes listed almost every weekend with varying degrees of difficulty.  Go to their website for details.  The public is welcome.

Recent trips: 

  Shrub-steppe Wildflowers and
Wind Power

Saturday, May 12
Puget Sound Energy's
Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility
9:00am - 6:00pm from Issaquah P&R
At the site: 11:00am - 4:00 pm
Led by Ron Bockelman

As a follow-up to Mike Marsh’s presentation at the March 1 meeting on vegetation of the shrub-steppe, Ron Bockelman will lead a field trip to Wild Horse wind farm east of Ellensburg. This wind farm is sandwiched between the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick wildlife areas that were the subject of Mike’s talk. We will explore spring vegetation in both the shallow rocky (lithosol) and deeper soil sagebrush habitats. Time permitting, we will walk these habitats at two different elevations to compare and contrast which species are flowering. A vernal pond and an open Ponderosa pine woodland are other habitats that will provide additional species to observe. We will also stop by PSE’s visitor center, where restrooms and drinks are available. 

The terrain we will walk is relatively gentle, but many areas are quite rocky, so sturdy shoes are recommended. Dress for windy conditions and the associated wind chill factor. Trip Limit 12 Bring your own lunch and your PSE Recreation Access Permit, which is required and available for free online (click here). 

Ron became familiar with Wild Horse while monitoring environmental permit compliance during the wind farm construction in 2006 and its expansion in 2009. Since then he has made over 50 trips to photodocument the plants growing there. Ron has participated in PSE’s spring wildflower walks since 2010, frequently volunteering as a botanist to identify non-flowering or new plants that are found. Meet at 9:00am at the Issaquah P&R. Ron has some room in his car, so call him if you need a ride. Contact: ron.bockelman@hotmail.com, 425-501-9569 (text message preferred).


“Savannah Plants’ Bloom Time and Their Butterfly Partners’ Flight Time” 
Oak Patch Natural Area Preserve 
Date: Saturday, April 21 
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm from Seattle, 10:30am – 3:30pm on site 
Trip Leader: Stewart Wechsler 

With some of WesternWashington’s driest growing conditions and at the edge of a lake, Oak Patch Lake’s natural area preserve has some of western Washington’s rarest plants and some of the best butterfly habitat in this bioregion. While Cascades butterflies’ preference for sun often confines them to sunlit openings and edges of our forests, the glacial outwash Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) savannah has both sunnier habitat and a diversity of the “host plants” on which butterflies lay their eggs. Oak Patch Lake is also home to other species that have become locally rare, such as the western toad (Anaxyrus boreas a.k.a. Bufo boreas), as well as the savannah’s striking wildflowers. 

WNPS plant identification workshop leader Stewart Wechsler started his plant studies by studying the plants on which butterflies rely. He has also studied the full range of plants, animals and fungi, and will share his knowledge about the inter-relationships between plants and the rest of the community of organisims. 

Trail description: Flat. Please note there is no water and no bathroom facilities. What to bring: Water, hand lens and binoculars Contact info and directions : Rio Montana, riodelmontana@yahoo.com 206-403-5562 Trip limit: 12 


Tronson Ridge at Wenatchee National Forest

Photo credit: Richard Ramsden

Saturday, June 24, 2017
Tronsen Ridge from Haney Meadows, Wenatchee National Forest.
Moderate difficulty, 5 miles, 500ft elevation gain.

Led by Richard Ramsden
The desert plants, alpines, and local endemics growing together make this one of the finest sites in the state to learn about and enjoy the native flora.  Meet at 9:30am at the Swauk Forest Discovery Trail parking lot 1/4 mile east of Blewett Pass on FS9716.  The final 8 miles on improved dirt and gravel roads.  Seattle carpool from Ravenna P&R leave 7:30am, Issaquah P&R (Newport Way/SR900) leave 8:15am. For inquiries or plant list and to sign up, contact Richard Ramsden (rtramsden@gmail.com).

 Tour of the taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden at Seattle University

“The Earth is our First Teacher”

May 3, 2017

Seattle University
901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
Trip Leader: Professor Rob Efird

Rob Efird is an applied cultural anthropologist with a special interest in environmental education and working with community partners.  He had a major role in the development of the Seattle University Ethnobotanical Garden, along with the SU gardening staff and local First Peoples, including Vi Hilbert.  In December of 2016, Rob joined the Central Puget Sound Chapter to share with us the creation of the Ethnobotanical Garden.  He also shared his vision for using the garden and the installation of native plant gardens at local schools to ground young people in our natural environment and its cultural history.  Rob also agreed at that time to lead field trip at the Garden for us in the spring. That time has come!

The 11,500 square foot taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden is organized in four biomes, representing the major ecological areas of the Pacific Northwest. They include alpine, lowland forest, wetland and prairie. Exploring the biomes will allow us to learn more about how the First People of the Puget Sound co-existed with their environment, using the plants for food, medicine, and materials for building, carving, weaving, fishing and ritual activities. As the plaque at the entrance to the garden says:

“Where Seattle University stands, a forest once stood. In and around this forest people and plants lived closely together for many centuries before the city of Seattle was established. This garden invites you to learn more about this intimate, sustainable relationship and encourages you to cultivate your own relationship with our native plants.”

Meet at the West Entry of Seattle University’s Lemieux Library

Attendance will be limited to 12 individuals. To register for the event, contact Sharon Baker


206 464 1068 cell

206 935 1769 home




April 8th, 2017, Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm             
Evans Creek Preserve east of Redmond

Join Elby Jones and Dan Paquette for a WNPS hike to Evans Creek Preserve to be held at 9:00 AM on Saturday, April 8th.  Evans Creek preserve is located a few miles east of Redmond and just north of Sammamish. This 3 ½ mile hike has moderate elevation gains.  It passes through islands of trees and shrubs on a flood plain, then retreats to the forested hillsides that are covered with a mixture of deciduous trees and conifers. Help us add to the plant list begun last December. 

The group will meet at the lower trail head.  Expect to be on the hike for about 3 ½  to 4 hours.  Directions, maps and plant lists will be sent to participants.   The leaders will try to hook up any participants who wish to carpool.  This field trip is limited to 12 participants.

To sign up, email  Dan Paquette at  jdanj.paquette@gmail.com

Directions to the trail head: Take SR 520 to the Redmond Way exit (SR 202). Turn south at the fork and proceed 3.8 miles on SR 202 to 224th Ave NE. Turn right, and the trailhead parking area is 500 feet to the south. There are 9 parking spaces and one ADA space.

Recent Trips

New Year's Day Field Trip to Evans Creek Preserve in Sammamish

Evans Creek Preserve, a former 179 acre farmstead, was opened to the public in 2011.  Calvin and Minnie Galley established the farmstead at the turn of the 20th century and the family sold it to the City of Sammamish in 2000. The City of Sammamish developed the farmstead into a suburban nature preserve, reachable by public transportation. The forest is stunning and surprisingly mature with Douglas-fir, western hemlock, red cedar, alder, and maple in the canopy and vine maple, low Oregon grape, Indian plum, and salmonberry in the understory.  There is a rich supply of lichens, ferns and mosses. We companionably wandered the meadows, forests and wetlands, enjoying and identifying the abundance and variety of native plants and wildlife (native slugs included).  Chinook, coho and sockeye salmon have been observed in the creek.  WTA warned that black bears have been seen in the preserve.

For a complete guide to WNPS guided field trips provided by other Chapters 
please see Chapter Field Trips.

Field Trip Policies
Field trips take place rain or shine, so proper clothing and footwear are essential. Trips may be strenuous or hazardous and please contact trip leaders if you have questions about degree of difficulty. Bring water, lunch and the ten essentials (map, compass, flashlight or headlamp with spare bulbs and batteries, extra food, extra clothing and rain gear, sunglasses and sunscreen, first aid kit, pocket knife, matches in a waterproof container, and fire starter).
Bring the Northwest Forest Pass if you have one.  Please notify the hike leader if for some reason you can't make it.

Cost-sharing  Policy for Car Pools
The WNPS policy in 2009 was for passengers to  provide the driver trip mileage reimbursement of $.25/mile, to be split among  the passengers.  In addition, passengers
are expected to chip in for tolls, ferry fees and entrance or parking  fees.   Since gas prices have  increased since 2009, please be ready to offer your driver a higher per mile
reimbursement. Drivers, please keep  track of field trip miles driven and ask enough to cover gas, plus wear and tear on your vehicle.

We frequently meet at the following Park and Ride areas for carpooling

Issaquah Park & Ride
1050 17th Ave. NW, Issaquah (SR-900 & Newport Way)

Green Lake Park & Ride, north side (NE 65th and Ravenna)
6601 8th Ave. NE, Seattle (NE 65th St & I-5)
WNPS maintains an extensive plant species list for various areas in the state.

Updated: July 19, 2018
Copyright 2000-2018 Washington Native Plant Society. All rights reserved.

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