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. Please do not attend an event if either of the following are true:
– You currently have any COVID symptoms or have had symptoms in the past 14 days
– You have any reason to quarantine according to the CDC
WNPS event hosts will not facilitate carpooling. While participating in the event, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other participants, or wear a mask if approaching more closely. If you test positive for COVID within 14 days of the event, please contact the WNPS office at 206-527 3210 or the WNPS Business Manager at wnps [at] wnps [dot] org.

Summer 2022 Field Trips

July 13, 2022, Wednesday, 9:00 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 9:00 AM. Discover Pass required for parking there.

Back by popular demand! We will approach the Point 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. Limit 15 participants. Required pre-register (or questions) with Bob at lemprev [at] alphahunt [dot] com or 360-714-8629.

July 20, 2022, Wednesday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Sauk Mountain Wildflower Vistas

After pre-registering with Fritz, meet at 8:00 AM at the I-5 Park & Ride in Fairhaven on the WEST side of the freeway or at the Sauk Mountain trailhead at 9:45 AM.

The trail begins and ends in high mountain meadows offering wildflowers and spectacular vistas the entire length. We will hike through 26 gentle switchbacks in the first 1.5 miles in steep terrain and if we go all the way up to the site that once hosted a fire lookout at 5,500 ft elevation, removed by the Forest Service in the 1980s, it will be about 2.1 miles. There we (hopefully) can enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the North Cascades, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier to the south, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands to the west and the rugged Cascade peaks stretching to the east including Glacier Peak and Mount Baker. We expect an outstanding show of wildflowers that includes paintbrush, phlox, tiger lilies, aster, columbine, lupine, and many others. This trail (roundtrip 4.2 miles and 1,200 feet elevation change) is very popular and the reason for the weekday trip. We still may have to yield to lots of hikers during our botanizing and have to be careful in the steep and narrow sections of the trail. There is a decommissioned toilet at the trailhead or otherwise the woods will do (blue bags are required). The trail is south-facing, sunscreen and hiking poles are advisable. Trip limit: 12 people. Register with Fritz at fritz365 [at] gmail [dot] com. Sauk Mountain Plant List.

August 1, 2022, Monday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Heather Meadows Wildflowers and Bumble Bees

Location: After pre-registering with Jim, meet at 10:00 AM at the Visitor’s Center parking lot in Heather Meadows near the Mt Baker Ski Area.

Volunteers from the WNPS Koma Kulshan Chapter monitored wild flower phenology (when plants bloom) and bumble bee foraging from spring snow melt to first snowfall for five years in Heather Meadows. This hike will visit some of the areas that were monitored to see subalpine wild flowers at their peak and learn about how native plants and bumble bees interact to assure pollination and the profusion of wildflowers at Heather Meadows. We will start the hike at the Visitor’s Center parking lot and tour three of the transects we monitored at that elevation. We will then drive to the Artist’s Point parking lot and visit two additional transects at higher elevations. This will be about a three mile hike with about 300 ft elevation gain. There will be an option of walking up the Wild Goose Trail from the Visitor’s Center to the Artist’s Point parking lot (add about 1.6 miles and 500 ft elevation gain to the hike). Bring warm clothes (just in case), sun protection, lunch, and adequate water. Trip limit: 12 people. Register with Jim Davis at jimdaviscpc [at] comcast [dot] net.

September 7, 2022, Wednesday, 7:30 am – 6:00 pm

Fronds in High Places – The Geology and Ferns of Yellow Aster Butte

Location: Meeting location in Bellingham will be shared with participants after pre-registering with Tim.

The Yellow Aster Butte trail traverses a complex geological region supporting a remarkable diversity of vascular plants, especially ferns. We can expect to see 30-37 species of ferns and lycophytes, including Asplenium viride, Polystichum lemmonii, P. kruckebergii, and several Botrychium species. That’s more fern species than you will find on any other day hike in North America. This is a 6-mile round trip hike, with a total elevation gain of 2000 feet. We will be leaving Bellingham at 7:30 in the morning, and returning around 6:00 pm, or later. Group size strictly limited to 12. Pre-registration is required by contacting Tim McNitt at 360-714-9474 or mcnitt [at] acies [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.