Get Lost! Lost Lake Trail Race 2022

The Get Lost! Trail Race and campout has become one of the most anticipated events of OHA’s year, and this year was no exception! On the weekend of July 9-10, 2022, friends and families gathered from far and wide to enjoy the peaceful setting at Lost Lake, compete on the Strawberry Mountain, Big Tree, and OHA’s wetland trails, share a meal, and build community.

This event could not happen without the many volunteers who share their time and resources to prepare a delicious post-race lunch and pinata, guide participants through the race course, take photos, supply the aid station, help with communications and first aid, time the racers, organize the kids activities. Thank you volunteers!

Sponsors contribute food, prizes, and help support race expenses! Thank you to our 2022 race sponsors: Spring Creek Ranch, Lee Frank Mercantile, Iron Grill Restaurant, Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op, REI Co-op, and Big 5 Sporting Goods!

We are so fortunate to be able to host the race at the beautiful US Forest Service Lost Lake Group Campground. Thank you to the USFS and camp hosts!

Click Here for full race results! (Including new course records in the 3 mile, 7 mile and 14 mile women’s races)

Save the date, and join us next year: July 9, 2023! 

Start of the 3 mile race
Start of the kids race

Topographic Survey Shows Progress at Triple Creek

OHA partners with US Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct topographic surveys of the stream channel and banks to measure (even small) changes in elevation of the creek bed and shifts in the streambanks over time. The topographic surveys show how silt, sand, and gravels have accumulated, scoured, and moved throughout the project reach as the force of water carries the sediment downstream, recruits it from the streambanks, and deposits it on the creek bed. 

Graph above shows topographic survey (elevation data) plotted versus the relative distance in the thalweg of the stream. Points A-D on the graph are comparable to those points on the map below.
Aerial view (above) of Triple Creek Project area. Cooler colors signify aggradation and warmer colors signify erosion. Both processes are critical to the restoration of this stream and wetland.
The aerial view above shows that the reach is significantly longer and more sinuous now than it was before the project started.

Progress By The Numbers: 

  • 3800 yd3 = 271 dump trucks of sediment deposited in the reach!
  • 1500 yd3 = 107 dump trucks of sediment eroded in the reach!
  • 5300 yd3 = 378 dump trucks of sediment shifted within the reach!
  • 2300 yd3 = 164 dump trucks of sediment carried from outside the project area and deposited in the reach!

Adamera Exploration Drilling Comments Needed

Adamera is an exploration company that seeks to develop mining prospects on Buckhorn Mountain near the Buckhorn Mine. They have acquired the mining claims from Kinross in the 9600 acres of public land surrounding the Buckhorn Mine, as well as information and data related to Kinross exploration efforts. Adamera has submitted Notices of Operations to the BLM Wenatchee Field office and to the Colville National Forest for exploration core drilling. Adamera seeks to conduct their exploration under rules that: a) allow exploratory drilling without a reclamation permit if less than one acre of area within eight acres is disturbed through exploration drilling and, b) related to a Categorical Exclusion for exploratory mining activities of less than one year.

OHA is very concerned that the exploration drilling proposed by Adamera, combined with the ongoing pollution generated by the Buckhorn Mine, would have significant environmental impacts. The companies should be required to collect baseline water quality data before engaging in potentially polluting exploration activities. They should also analyze the cumulative impacts associated with the proximity of the exploration to the polluted water at the Buckhorn Mine site, as well as impacts from multiple (Forest Service and BLM, so far) exploration projects as part of a more extensive environmental review. OHA encourages the state and federal agencies to coordinate on this issue, to engage in a full interagency environmental review process, and to require the mining companies to collect baseline data on the areas that they seek to explore. For more information including the scoping notice, map and plan of operations, see below. OHA encourages public participation in decisions involving the integrity, sustainability,and prosperity of our community and the environment.

Please submit comments to the U.S. Forest Service by September 5, 2022. Direct comments, questions, or concerns to Minerals Administrator, Anna Lowell, at anna.lowell@usda.gov or 509-684-7266.

Landscapes and Landforms of the Okanogan Highlands: 2022 Field Trip with Dr Karl Lillquist

On a beautiful Sunday in June, 2022, Dr Karl Lillquist led an enthusiastic group on a tour of the Okanogan Highlands, observing and discussing evidence of ice sheets and glaciers that are visible on our landscape today. From glacial sediments, to sinuous eskers, to unexpectedly flat areas where ancient glacial lakes and river deltas once covered the land, Dr Lillquist explained how scientists puzzle out the processes that contribute to the geology and geography of a place. As if leading a field trip isn’t enough, Dr Lillquist developed the attached field guide, which is available for all to enjoy!

Trail Day 2022! Antoine Loop, Highlands Sno Park

On June 4, 2022, OHA teamed up with the Highlands Nordic Ski Club to clear the Antoine Loop – making it accessible and enjoyable for summertime use by bicycles and hikers. Ten volunteers cleared about a half a mile of mulch and branches from the trail! It was a beautiful, misty day and we got a lot done! The trail is ready for you to enjoy! Here is more information about how to find it:

This map will take you to the main Highlands Sno Park Parking area (vault toilet and information kiosk can be found here).

For a complete (printable) map of the Highlands Sno Park Trails, click here to visit the Highlands Nordic Ski Club website. Please note that some of the trails are not available in the summer months, as they travel over private property. The Antoine Loop, on the east side of the park, is fully on National Forest land and is accessible year-round.

Volunteers clearing the trail of mulch and branches
Spring flowers enjoying the wet spring!

Podcast! Traditional Ecological Knowledge

with Amelia Marchand of the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation

Illustration by Diana Weddle

Amelia Marchand, of the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, joins OHA to share her experiences and perspectives on traditional knowledge, or teachings, and the role of ecological knowledge within the bigger framework of cultural understanding that has been amassed over a millenia by indigenous peoples. She shares stories of her life and the inspiration that has driven her and her husband, Joaquin, to create the L.I.G.H.T Foundation, whose mission is to cultivate, enrich and perpetuate native plants and the cultural traditions of Pacific Northwest tribes.

To learn more and donate to the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, visit the website at: thepnwlf.org

Check out this article by Amelia Marchand, from June 22, 2022: Climate and Cultural Vulnerabilities of Indigenous Elders, published in the Generations Journal of the American Society on Aging.

Additional resources to learn more (list specially curated by Amelia Marchand):

Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network: an opportunity to learn about (and add your local) unusual environmental, animal and weather events world-wide.

2021 Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report produced by The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives : a practical guide to developing collaborations that honor traditional knowledge and minimize risks to indigenous peoples who might be sharing traditional knowledge. Intended audience: agencies, researchers, tribes and traditional knowledge holders (and valuable information for everyone).

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers: How to cite oral traditions and ways of knowing in a way that honors and recognizes information shared by indigenous knowledge keepers on a level with written sources.

Find the full theme song, Blessed Unrest, by Tyler Graves on Spotify, Apple Music, or your favorite music platform.

For more information about Okanogan Highlands Alliance, or to become a member or volunteer, visit: okanoganhighlands.org or email us at info@okanoganhighlands.org

Happy Earth Day 2022!

OHA is celebrating Earth Day 2022 with gratitude for everything you do to support OHA’s work and to honor and protect the earth wherever you are!

A sampling of the beauty of the Highlands this Earth Day

Check out our calendar of upcoming events, and join us as a participant or volunteer! For more details on our upcoming events, reply to this email or contact us at info@okanoganhighlands.org

We are inspired by the circle of generations working together to make the world a better place. This photo shows the kickoff of a field trip to the Triple Creek Restoration Project!

Upcoming opportunities to get involved with OHA!

  • Saturday, May 28: Trail Stewardship (Location TBD)
  • Saturday, June 4: Trail Stewardship (Sno Park Pond – Fence repair)
  • Saturday, June 11: Trail Stewardship (Virginia Lilly Trail)
  • Tuesday, June 14-Thursday, June 16: Forest Ecology and Stewardship with Upward Bound (Lost Lake)
  • Saturday, June 18: Trail Stewardship (Pine Chee Trail)
  • Saturday, June 25: Trail Stewardship (Virginia Lilly Trail)
  • Saturday, June 25: Family Nature Hike with Kim Kogler (Beth/Beaver Lake Trail)
  • Sunday, June 26: Geology Field Trip with Karl Lillquist
  • Saturday, July 9: Trail Stewardship (Strawberry Mountain Trail)
  • Saturday, July 9: OHA Annual Membership Meeting/30th Year Celebration (Lost Lake Group Camp)
  • Sunday, July 10: Get Lost! Trail Race (register using this link!)

You can also find these events, and details about them on our Events Page Calendar!

Podcast! Beaver Believers: The Next Generation (Part 1)

with Sarah Koenigsberg of Tensegrity Productions

Anna, Nature Detective and Her Beaver Friends, illustration by Diana Weddle

This special episode features many voices! The Tonasket Elementary School 5th Grade teamed up with OHA and Sarah Koenigsberg, who is an award-winning film-maker, educator, and, most importantly, beaver believer, to answer students’ questions about beavers and how they protect water quality, water quantity and healthy wetlands throughout the West.  Before you listen, here is a story from Anna, Nature Detective!

Anna, Nature Detective

Season 2, Episode 5: Beaver Believers, The Next Generation

Anna is a daring and precocious nature detective. She loves to sing and dance, and make up songs and dances about the things that she observes. Anna LOVES animals (especially the fuzzy ones), and she is the kid who can catch the cat that no one else can. When Anna explores she likes to look at things close up, touch them, peer at them through her Nature Detective hand lens. Sometimes, things that can’t run away suit Anna’s detective style best, but fortunately Anna is also very careful not to hurt anything, and to keep her distance when she comes across wildlife.

One spring day, Anna wakes up singing, “I like oceans and rivers, I like oceans and rivers, and everything that is wet. Even though, I been trying to go, on a mountain road, I can’t stand it. You’re. So. Cute.” Her dad laughs, “What are you singing about, Anna?” Anna looks at her dad sideways, and says “Beavers, dad! Of course.” It is very obvious to Anna. What else could she possibly be singing about?

Her dad nods his head seriously, remembering the beaver lodge they had seen last summer in the Okanogan Highlands. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is warm, the snow is nearly melted, so they decide to go pay the beavers a visit. Up they go, following that long  mountain road to their favorite lake, where they set up a picnic, test the still- frigid water, and watch the birds busily flitting from tree to tree, some building nests. At the end of the day, as the light begins to fade, Anna and her family peer through their binoculars toward the rounded mass of tree branches along the distant side of the lake, and suddenly they see it! A little head, swiftly moving through the water toward the lodge!

Anna’s questions begin.

“Where is that beaver coming from?”

“Was that beaver swimming underwater?”

“Can beavers breathe under water?”

“How many beavers live in that beaver house?”

“How big are beaver babies?”

“What do beavers eat?”

“Are beavers nice?”

“Can I see a beaver close up?”

“How do beavers survive in the winter?”

“How do beavers build those dams?”

The questions go on and on, literally without stopping, for minutes. This beaver has sparked our Nature Detective’s curiosity! Luckily, she is not alone. Recently, the Tonasket Elementary School 5th Grade teamed up with Sarah Koenigsberg, beaver believer, educator and storyteller extraordinaire, to answer many of these same questions!

Join Sarah and the next generation of beaver believers to learn all about beavers, their important role in our highlands ecosystems, and more by listening to the most recent episode of Okanogan Highlands Alliance’s Highland Wonders Podcast. You can find additional episodes and more nature detective stories at okanoganhighlands.org/education/highland-wonders/ or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Podcast! The World Needs More Birders S2:E4

with Dick Cannings, biologist, educator, author, member of the Canada House of Commons

Are you interested in learning more about birds? Are you interested in contributing your bird observations to science? Are you looking for resources to help you learn to identify birds by sight and sound? Are you looking for answers to the question, “What’s so special about birds, anyway?” If you answered yes to any of these questions, this episode is for you! Dick Cannings, author, educator, biologist, member of the Canadian House of Commons has fostered his lifelong fascination with birds and has crafted his career to teach and show people why it is important to protect the natural world. He has a lot to share about his experiences, why citizen science is so crucial in collecting information about our world, and how anyone can contribute to these efforts!

Dick Cannings:

More about Dick Cannings, his books, and instructions about how to build an owl nest box: dickcannings.com/

Birding Organizations and Learning Resources:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/

Audubon Society: https://www.audubon.org/

North Central WA Audubon Society: https://ncwaudubon.org/

Birds Canada: https://www.birdscanada.org/

Citizen Science Projects:

The Great Backyard Bird Count: https://www.birdcount.org/

Project Feeder Watch: https://feederwatch.org/

Christmas Bird Count: https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

Breeding Bird Atlas of Washington*: http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/maps/ 

North American Breeding Bird Survey: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/

Short Eared Owl Survey: https://avianknowledgenorthwest.net/projects/

Nestwatch: https://nestwatch.org/

Migration Monitoring: https://www.birdscanada.org/bird-science/canadian-migration-monitoring-network-cmmn/

Project FeederWatch: https://feederwatch.org/

 *also contains maps for amphibians, mammals, reptiles

Birding Apps and Websites (ID by sight and sound, record your sightings):

Merlin Bird ID: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/

E-Bird: ebird.org/

Dendroica: https://www.natureinstruct.org/dendroica/ 

Podcasts are posted on the OHA website (okanoganhighlands.org) and on the following podcast apps: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts and RadioPublic. Please read, listen (rate the podcast on your favorite app) and enjoy!

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