I am going to start doing some entries on places I want to go but haven’t gone yet due to a lack of time (a constant problem!) This is the first one.
The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) is a local organization that seeks to “increase citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region’s environment. Through community organizing and education, PCEI assists members of our communities in making environmentally sound and economically viable decisions that promote a sustainable future.” (From their website http://www.pcei.org/mission.htm.)
Its website describes a handful of “Special Places” which I am very much looking forward to exploring this summer. The Special Places include Rose Creek, Magpie Forest, Smoot Hill, Moscow Mountain Cedars, Idler’s Rest and PCEI’s stream restoration sites. These sites are all close to Pullman.
From the PCEI website, here is some information about each Special Place (note there is a lot more info on the PCEI website -these are just small excerpts):
ROSE CREEK: “The Rose Creek Nature Preserve (RCNP) is a special place located only 7.5 miles northwest of Pullman, Washington, near Albion Rose Creek Preserve is the best example of the distinct quaking aspen-black hawthorn-cow parsnip community type of its kind remaining in the endangered Palouse meadow steppe ecosystem. The twelve-acre preserve is bisected by Rose Creek with a plant community of native bunchgrass species in the upland, and a lush community of species such as Fendler’s waterleaf, and purple trillium in the wet meadow.” (http://www.pcei.org/rosecreek/)
THE MAGPIE FOREST: “The Magpie Forest is important because it provides wildlife habitat and represents one of the last remnants of native Palouse shrub-steppe vegetation. Pullman’s Environmental Quality Commission has designated the Magpie Forest as one of city’s most important and endangered “critical areas” in anticipation of its eventually becoming part of Pullman, Washington. [P] The Magpie Forest provides an opportunity to explore native plants, wildlife habitat, invasive species and conservation issues.” (http://www.pcei.org/magpie.htm)
SMOOT HILL: “This 730 acre farm, located 12 miles from the Pullman campus, was purchased by the WSU in 1972 for research and educational use. Over 300 acres of this property are in the Conservation Reserve Program because it one of the largest intact remnants of the native Palouse plant community. Smoot Hill’s natural diversity and beauty make it popular for ecology and botany field trips.” (http://www.pcei.org/smoot_hill.htm)
MOSCOW MOUNTAIN CEDARS: “Largely spared from disturbance by its location on top of a steep 4700’ ridge, this 269-acre parcel of state school trust land is home to an ancient grove of western red cedars estimated to be 1000 years old. Nurtured by the headwater springs of Felton Creek and Hatter Creek, this stand of trees was nominated in 1974 to be a National Natural Landmark as the best extant example of western red cedar/larch habitat.” (http://www.pcei.org/mm_cedars.htm)
IDLER’S REST: “Idler’s Rest in managed by the Palouse Land Trust. The site has several trails, one easy along the creek with towering fir and cedar, one middle that goes through a grassland, and one longer and harder that climbs out of the valley floor.” (http://www.pcei.org/idlers_rest.htm)
The PCEI website http://www.pcei.org/ has a lot more information about its activities, which include all sorts of things regarding environmental education, restoration and preservation. Of course, it encourages donations and membership and provides volunteer opportunities.
As I visit the Special Places, I will do complete entries. Another reason to look forward to summer!