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Redmond Watershed Preserve— March 2002

By Sharon Rodman, with assistance from Fred and Ann Weinmann

Redmond Watershed Preserve offers 7.5 miles of trails through 800 acres of second growth forest, streams, and wetlands. Owing to the sensitive nature of the wetlands and relatively pristine 100-year-old forest, pets are prohibited within the preserve; however, equestrians are allowed on several trails. Visitors may see black-tailed deer, beaver, Douglas squirrels, pileated woodpecker, and a variety of waterfowl and songbirds. The preserve is comprised largely of mixed deciduous and coniferous forest dominated by western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Douglas fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii), big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), and western red cedar (Thuja plicata). Look out for Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) scattered in the understory beside the more common salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), evergreen and red huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum and V. parvifolium), salal (Gaultheria shallon), low Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa), devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus), English holly (Ilex aquifolium), cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), blackcap (Rubus leucodermis), and trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus). Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera = P. trichocarpa) and western red cedar dominate forested wetland canopies.

Good maps are available at the start of the main trail system and wooden markers with maps are placed at every well-defined intersection. Two utility lines cross the preserve and provide trails: the Powerline Regional Trail running east-west, and the Pipeline Regional Trail running north-south. Other trails include the Trillium Trail for both equestrians and hikers; and for people only, the Siler’s Mill Trail, Trout Loop, or the paved, wheelchair-accessible Treefrog Loop.

A recommended trail in March that will avoid muddy and slippery paths along Seidel Creek is as follows: Start from the main trailhead at the parking lot and head north until you reach an intersection with the Powerline Regional Trail. Along the way look out for Henderson’s and Dewey’s sedges (Carex hendersonii and C. deweyana). Turn right along the Powerline Trail, which will connect with the Pipeline Trail in 0.8 miles. Take a side loop when you see a turning to your right. This short woodsy loop will delight moss enthusiasts, and the evergreen violet (Viola sempervirens) might be in flower. Look for triangular wood fern (Dryopteris expansa), deer fern (Blechnum spicant), and the predictably prolific sword fern (Polystichum munitum). You’ll also see healthy clumps of non-native hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta, which keys to C. oligosperma in most plant guides).

After rejoining the Powerline Trial, continue north on the Pipeline Trail until you reach the Siler’s Mill trailhead on your right, which is soon after a ponded area with pond water-starwort (Callitriche stagnalis). En route to the trailhead you’ll cross a small stream over a boardwalk where you’ll notice small-fruited bulrush (Scirpus microcarpus) and piggyback plant (Tolmiea menziesii). Drier areas support twinflower (Linnaea borealis) and, unfortunately, stinky Bob/herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). Take the 1.6-mile Siler’s Mill trail, which is a narrower path for the use of hikers only. Continue north on this trail until you reach the intersection with Collin Creek Trail. You’ll pass small wetland areas on the sides of the path and much larger beaver ponds, complete with beaver dams. Wet patches at the sides of the trail support creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), water parsley (Oenanthe sarmentosa), and the occasional skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus).

Fine examples of nurse stumps can be observed and look for foamflower leaves (Tiarella trifoliata) growing along the trail edges. At the beaver ponds you’ll notice that several of the large black cottonwoods and western red cedar trees have chicken wire around the trunks to deter hungry beavers. You’ll also see several trees that have been felled by our toothy, hard-working friends. If you’re quiet and lucky, you’ll see the creatures. Last fall I observed up to three active beavers at one time and even had the good fortune to see them walk across the path!

Walk west along Collin Creek Trail until you rejoin the Pipeline Trail. Turn south down Pipeline Trail until you reach the 0.3 mile connector with the Trillium Trail to your right. To minimize backtracking, take the connector and return to the parking lot down the Trillium Trail. Look for candyflower (Claytonia sibirica) and bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa). You’ll recognize the intersection with Powerline Trail, after which you continue south on a short backtrack to your car. Enjoy the native plantings in the parking area.

Plants likely to be flowering in March include salal, bleeding heart, candyflower, evergreen violet, low and tall Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa and B. aquifolium), and hairy bittercress.

Allow two to three hours and don’t forget your binoculars. The enchantment of the forest rich in native plants will entice you back another time to explore different trail options and experiences!

Directions: Follow east-bound SR 520 to the end and you’ll find yourself heading north on Avondale Road in Redmond. After 1.25 miles turn right on Novelty Hill Road. Drive 2.4 miles to 218th Ave. NE. Look for and follow the Watershed Preserve sign on the left. Check out the waterfowl on the open water before you reach the large parking area.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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