Field Trips

Koma Kulshan chapter Washington Native Plant Society field trips are generally free and open to the public. Exceptions are noted in the trip descriptions.

Washington state COVID safety guidelines continue to affect our field trips. In general, face masks are required outdoors only for large outdoor gatherings.

Introductory Native Plant Walks

Join our fun, informal walks and get familiar with plants native to Whatcom County. Sponsored by the Koma Kulshan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS), these introductory plant identification walks feature an easy pace and will each last about two hours. Details are on the Introductory Native Plant Walks page. These introductory walks are shorter than our full-fledged field trips.

Spring 2022 Field Trips

May 14, 2022, Saturday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Restoration Work in Maritime Heritage Park

Location: Meet at 9:00 am at the BTC fish hatchery parking lot at the end of C St off W Holly.

Join NSEA and Bellingham Parks volunteers to continue restoration of salmon habitat in this historic area in Bellingham. A WNPS groups will focus on invasive plant removal on the SE bank of Whatcom Creek near the Native Plant Trail. Gloves and tools provided at the check in area, near the BTC fish hatchery on the NE bank of the creek, at the end of C St off W Holly. Contact Allan Richardson if you have any questions at 360-305-5270 or asrichardson5 [at] gmail [dot] com.

May 18, 2022, Wednesday, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Marine Algae, Invertebrates, and Ecology of Point Whitehorn

Location: After pre-registering with Bob, meet at SW corner of Birch Bay State Park (boat ramp and last toilet facility) at 9:30 AM. Discover Pass required for parking there.

Does it get any better than greeting a -3.3 ft tide at The Point itself? We will approach it from the Birch Bay side, about 3 miles of beach walking, total. Rubber boots, field guide, snacks, water, hand-lens, hand towel all recommended. Anticipate MUCH COOLER, BREEZY conditions than in your garden. All knowledge levels and backgrounds are welcome. An algae list is provided; bring whatever field guide you may own and like. If buying or updating, I suggest Druehl, Louis D and Bridgette E Clarkston, 2016, Pacific Seaweeds, and/or Sept, Duane J, 2019, The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Leaders, Bob Lemon, Glen (Alex) Alexander, Lynne Givier, Doug Stark; limit 16 participants. Required pre-register (or questions) with Bob at lemprev [at] alphahunt [dot] com or 360-714-8629.

May 21, 2022, Saturday

Small Ground-Cones in Port Townsend

To register and for more details, contact the field trip organizer Paul Brallier (pabrallier [at] gmail [dot] com). Instructions for joining the event will come with registration.

Small ground-cones (Kopsiopsis hookeri) look like yellowish or purplish or brown fir cones. These members of the Orobanchaceae family parasitize salal and kinnikinnick by penetrating them with haustoria to tap nutrients. Come to look for small ground-cones and locate several examples of parasitic and mycoheterotrophic vascular plants near Port Townsend, with an easy 1-3 miles level walking on a mix of trails and off trail. This will be a joint Koma Kulshan and Olympic Peninsula Chapters field trip. You must register ahead of time, as group size is limited. Due to location near Port Townsend and taking the ferry, expect to return to Bellingham early evening. We’ll meet at 11:30 am for lunch in Port Townsend before breaking into small groups for botanizing. To register and for more details, contact Paul Brallier (pabrallier [at] gmail [dot] com). Instructions for joining the event will come with registration. Travel from Bellingham includes driving to Whidbey Island and taking the Coupeville to Port Townsend ferry. Plan on making reservations and waiting in line for the ferry.

May 28, 2022, Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Squires Lake/Alger Alp

Location: After pre-registering with Lyle, meet at 9 am at the Park and Ride at I-5 and Fairhaven Parkway on the EAST side of the freeway.

This is a moderate hike of about 5 miles round trip with 1,000 ft elevation gain. It’s a good early season hike to stretch those muscles for hikes later in the season. Squires Lake is a Skagit County park about 10 miles south of Bellingham just off I-5. We will hike the loop around the east side of the lake, take a brief side trip to see the beaver pond, then continue the loop leading to the Alger Alp trail. Depending on the group, we will go to the top to see views of Alger and the Skagit valley. Bring a lunch and water. A plant species list can be found here. Trip limit: 12 people. Restroom at trailhead. RSVP with Lyle Anderson at lyleand2 [at] comcast [dot] net.

June 4, 2022, Saturday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Native Plants Home Garden Tour

Seven unique and beautiful private Whatcom gardens will open to the public, each owned and cultivated by amateur botanists and native plant enthusiasts, all Koma Kulshan members. Dinstinctive among gardens, these will all showcase the beauty and practical advantages of plants that grow natively in the Pacific Northwest. In our region’s relatively short horticultural history, our local native plants remain yet undiscovered wonders to most gardeners. Volunteers will be available to answer your questions, and learning materials will be available to help you bring native plant gardening to your home. This is a free event. More details will come as the tour date approaches. Volunteers will be needed to help our garden hosts on the tour day! Please contact Eric Worden for more information (eric [at]

June 14, 2022, Tuesday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Horseshoe Bend Trail

Location: After pre-registering with Allan, meet at 9 am at the trailhead on Mt Baker Highway across from the Douglas Fir Campground, just after the river bridge 1.2 miles east of the USFS Ranger Station in Glacier.

This is an easy hike in the rainforest close to the North Fork Nooksack River, about 3 miles round trip and 300 ft elevation gain. The habitat varies from the open, rocky river bank to deep woods and brushy slopes. We will identify all the plants we possibly can to build a plant list to post on the WNPS website. Bring a lunch and dress for the weather. Contact Allan Richardson with any questions and to confirm: 360-305-5270 or asrichardson5 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Previous field trips are listed on their own page in case you’re curious about where the Koma Kulshan chapter has explored in previous seasons.