Links to Projects
Unique biodiversity features of the northern Okanogan
Interesting sidelines of the Horseshoe Basin study revolved on the nature
and ecology of the area's unusual pattern of plant geography. Features
such as earth-hummocks, typically found only much further north, are found
here in association with periglacial features. The link includes a government
report on the unique features of biodiversity of the area.
Ecological components of Horseshoe Basin, eastern
Beginning in 1990, and continuing over 5 years, the Washington Native Plant
Society and the Wilderness Society were among institutions that helped
fund research on the botany and ecology of Horseshoe Basin in the eastern
Pasayten Wilderness. Principal Investigator A.B. Adams studied many aspects
of the area's ecology, including its grazing history, sensitive plants,
plant ecology and more.
Rare plants of the northern Okanogan Range
Both inky gentian (Gentiana glauca) and tiny gentian (Gentianella
tenella) are found here, the former preferentially on earth
hummocks. Neither of these is found elsewhere in the mountains of the
North Cascades, but another gentian grows there instead. This gentian,
calycosa, stops its range just short of the two rare ones.
From Cathedral Lakes in Canada south to Beaver Meadows near Winthrop, and
from Chopaka Mountain near Loomis west to about Sheep Mountain, the northern
Okanogan Range is blessed with an abundance of sub-boreal wetlands. A project
was completed by Pacific Biodiversity Institute, Enhanced
Wetland Mapping on the Loomis State Forest, which mapped the extent
of wetlands in the northern Okanogan Range and found they were underestimated
by a factor of 5 on current National Wetlands Inventory maps.
Unusual climatic conditions appear to be a possible reason why the area's
unique boreal flora has remained intact following the melting of the ice
sheet. A combination of low relief, high elevation, and upslope Chewuch
River cloud pressure all contribute to the area's intense summer thunderstorms.