Palouse Grasslands, Part 3

Other federal sites in the Palouse grasslands are operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Okanagan and Grand Coulee (Scabland) areas

Coffeepot Lake Recreation Area, BLM, Washington (N47˚30’ W118˚33’) is a 900-acre area on a lake framed by basalt cliffs, located west of Harrington.

Escure Ranch, BLM, Washington (N47˚1’ W117˚58’) is a 13,000-acre hiking and nonmotorized recreation area in a channeled scablands area of grassland, basalt cliffs, and glacial potholes. It includes Towell Falls on Rock Creek.  It is located south of Sprague near Revere.

Hot Lake Research Natural Area, BLM, Washington (N48˚58’ W119˚29’), is an 80-acre saline lake with no outlet in the Okanogan River Valley west of Osoyoos Lake housing brine shrimp and microbial mats of blue-green algae and green sulfur bacteria. Rare plants include red glasswort and saltgrass.

Palmer Mountain Recreation Area, BLM, Washington (N48˚51’ W119˚36’) is a hiking and mountain biking area north of Loomis, with aspen groves and grasslands.

Telford Recreation Area, BLM, Washington (N47˚42’ W118˚24’) is a hiking and horseback riding area on US Route 2 between Davenport and Creston.

Twin Lakes Recreation Area, BLM, Washington (N47˚32’ W118˚30’) is a 14,000-acre area of channeled scablands west of Harrington, with a diversity of habitat types.

The Blue Mountain Slopes (Washington and Oregon)

Echo Meadows, BLM, Oregon (N45˚43’ W119˚18’) is part of the seven-unit Oregon Trail ACEC of BLM and includes a remnant section of the Oregon Trail west of Echo and north of State Route 203.

Grande Ronde Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), BLM Baker Resource Area, Washington, is a 17,000-acre area along the lower Grande Ronde River, extending from the Snake River near Lime Hill and Mount Wilson (N46˚4’ W116˚57’) west along the south side of the Grande Ronde to the Oregon state line (N46˚0’ W117˚22’), and including the Goosenecks National Natural Landmark (see). The Grande Ronde River is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system.

Joseph Creek ACEC, BLM, Oregon-Washington (N46˚0’ W117˚5’) includes the canyon of Joseph Creek, which is eligible for the national wild and scenic river system.

State and local sites in the Palouse grasslands include state parks and wildlife management areas. Two sites were previously described. Steptoe Butte State Park, Washington and Kamiak Butte County Park, Whitman County, Washington are described under National Natural Landmarks. Steamboat Rock State Park, Washington and Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park, Washington are part of the Grand Coulee National Natural Landmark. Lewis and Clark Trail State Park, Washington (N46º17’ W118º4’) is a site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Centennial Trail State Park, Washington, is part of the Spokane River Centennial Trail National Recreation Trail.

Okanagan Valley

Christie Memorial Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚21’ W119˚34’) is a lakeside recreation area within the city of Okanagan Falls, providing access to Skaha Lake.

Field’s Lease Ecological Reserve, British Columbia (N49˚3’ W119˚31’) is 4 ha just west of Route 97 at the north end of Osoyoos and was established to protect a representative example of shrub-steppe ecosystem.

Hayne’s Lease Ecological Reserve, British Columbia (N49˚5’ W119˚31’), which includes part of the Osoyoos Oxbows on the Okanagan River, is an Important Bird Area for western yellow-breasted chat and western screech owl. The 100-ha area is located at the north end of Osoyoos Lake on Radio Transmitter Road.

Hayne’s Point Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚1’ W119˚27’) is 38 ha on a peninsula in Osoyoos Lake just north of the international border on Route 97, providing lakeside recreation.  A marsh interpretive trail provides a bird viewing platform for canyon wren, marsh wren, and white-throated swift.

Inkaneep Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚14’ W119˚32’), is 16 ha in two units on the Okanagan River north of Oliver off Route 97.  One unit has antelope brush vegetation and the other has cottonwoods and riparian vegetation, providing bird watching opportunities.

Keremeos Columns Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚15’ W119˚7’) is northeast of Keremeos off of Route 3A. The hexagonal basalt columns are viewed by a hike across sagebrush grasslands on private property. The columns are on private land and are not within the park.

Kickininee Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚33’ W119˚38’) is a series of three overlooks of Okanagan Lake on Route 97 north of Penticton.

Mahoney Lake Ecological Reserve, British Columbia (N49˚17’ W119˚35’) protects a saline meromictic (non-mixing) lake listed on the world registry of meromictic lakes. Below six meters, the lake includes a layer of purple sulfur bacteria. The reserve is on Green Lake Road off Route 97 six km south of Okanagan Falls.

Okanagan Falls Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚20’ W119˚35’) includes riparian habitat for birds and bats along the Okanagan River. It is located off of Route 97 at Okanagan Falls.

Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚26’ W119˚33’) is 489 ha adjacent to Penticton. It is a grassland area grading into ponderosa pine-Douglas fir forest. It is known as a premier rock climbing area, with 80-m cliffs.

South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area, British Columbia includes four units along Route 3 at Richter Pass west of Osoyoos.  Mount Kobau (N49˚7’ W119˚41’) includes a 5-km loop trail and rare lichens. Kilpoola (N49˚3’ W119˚33’) includes Blue Lake, a saline water body which harbors a layer of rare purple sulfur bacteria. The areas around Kilpoola Lake and Chopaka West (N49˚1’ W119˚41’) are IBAs for Lewis’s woodpecker and sage thrasher. Chopaka East (N49˚2’ W119˚37’) also has rare lichens.

South Okanagan Wildlife Management Area, British Columbia (N49˚6’ W119˚33’) is part of the Osoyoos Oxbows Important Bird Area for western yellow-breasted chat and western screech owl. The WMA includes 900 ha of scattered tracts of former river channel areas of the Okanagan River lined with water birch woodlands. The areas are along Route 97 between Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos.

Riverside Breaks Natural Area Preserve, Washington (N48˚41’ W119˚30’) is a native shrub-steppe grassland ecosystem on the Okanogan River south of Tonasket.  Vegetation is antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass.

Scotch Creek Wildlife Area, Washington, consists of five units in the Palouse grasslands and Okanogan dry forests. Pogue Mountain Unit (N48˚26’ W119˚37’) is a 1,200-acre shrub-steppe area on Green Lake northwest of Omak. Scotch Creek Unit (N48˚32’ W119˚40’) is 8,700 acres of shrub-steppe habitat between Omak and Conconully in the Lime Belt. Tunk Valley Unit (N48˚32’ W119˚24’) is shrub-steppe habitat 12 miles northeast of Omak.

Sun-Oka Beach Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚34’ W119˚38’) provides lakeside recreation on Okanagan Lake and also has an old growth cottonwood forest. It is located 3 km south of Summerland on Route 97.

Trout Creek Ecological Reserve, British Columbia (N49˚33’ W119˚42’) is on the southern edge of Summerland and is a 75-ha tract with ponderosa-pine and Douglas-fir vegetation in a semiarid grassland setting.

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia (N49˚18’ W119˚33’) is on Vaseux Lake along Route 97, an Important Bird Area for Lewis’ woodpecker, western screech owl, and yellow-breasted chat. This area is south of Okanagan Falls on Route 97. The area is also a bighorn sheep viewing location.

Vaseux Protected Area, British Columbia (N49˚17’ W119˚29’) is a 2,000-ha grassland area that grades to ponderosa pine-Douglas fir at higher elevations.  It is used by California bighorn sheep. Within the area, McIntyre Canyon and Vaseux Creek provide viewing opportunities.

White Lake Grasslands Protected Area, British Columbia (N49˚17’ W119˚34’) is in four tracts west of Route 97 and the Okanagan River between Okanagan Falls and Oliver. Rare grassland wildlife is protected in the 3,740-ha area.

Grand Coulee and Scabland Area

Alta Lake State Park, Washington (N48º1’ W119º56’) is a natural lake at the foot of the mountains just south of Pateros west of the Columbia River.

BeeBe Springs Wildlife Area, Washington (N47˚49’ W119˚59’) is on US Route 97 north of the Lake Entiat crossings and east of Chelan.

Bridgeport State Park, Washington (N48º1’ W119º37’) is on the north side of Rufus Woods Lake on the Columbia River. The 748-acre park has four miles of trails and unusual volcanic haystack formations.

Chelan Wildlife Area, Washington, consists of four units in the Palouse grasslands.  Chelan Butte Unit (N47˚48’ W120˚5’) is 9,000 acres off of US Alternate Route 97 south of Chelan. A reintroduced population of bighorn sheep is present. The Entiat Unit (N47˚47’ W120˚11’) is 9,800 acres of scattered tracts west of Alternate US Route 97 west of the Columbia River, extending between Chelan and Entiat.  Navarre Coulee is a featured area. Pateros Unit (N48˚5’ W119˚56’) is 2,000 acres north of Pateros off US Route 97 and consists of bitterbrush and shrub-steppe habitat. Swakane Unit (N47˚33’ W120˚19’) is 11,300 acres adjoining the Wenatchee National Forest and US Alternate Route 97 north of Wenatchee.

Earthquake Point, administered by Lake Chelan State Park, Washington (N47º43’ W120º13’) is the site of an 1872 rock slide that blocked the Columbia River briefly. It is on US Route 97A north of Entiat.

Lake Chelan State Park, Washington (N47º52’ W120º12’) is a lakeside recreation area with two miles of trails ten miles west of Chelan.

Daroga State Park, Washington (N47º43’ W120º12’) is a reservoir recreation area is 18 miles north of Wenatchee on Lake Entiat on US Route 97. There are two miles of trails through shrub-steppe grassland habitat.

Entiat Slopes Natural Area Preserve, Washington (N47˚39’ W120˚15’) is a mountainous grassland to the south of the confluence of the Entiat and Columbia Rivers. The area is managed for the presence of Thompson’s clover and long-sepal globe mallow.

Pearrygin Lake State Park, Washington (N48º29’ W120º9’) is a 1,200-acre lakeside recreation area in the Methow Valley near Winthrop. There are three miles of trails.

Spring Creek Canyon Natural Area Preserve, Washington (N47˚45’ W117˚53’) is a remnant Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine forest in a basalt canyon on State Route 231 south of Long Lake Dam.  The canyon is surrounded by shrub-steppe habitats.

Steamboat Rock State Park, Washington (N47˚52’ W119˚8’), is a basalt butte 800-feet high created during an ice age flood.  It is 11 miles south of Electric City on State Route 155 on Banks Lake and part of Grand Coulee NNL, described previously.

Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park, Washington (N47˚36’ W119˚22’), is one of the great geological wonders of North America, consisting of a 400-foot dry waterfall 3.5 miles wide, plunging into a number of lakes.  The falls were created during an ice age flood and are part of the Grand Coulee NNL, described previously.

Two-Steppe Natural Area Preserve, Washington (N47˚36’ W119˚38’) is a 400-acre high-quality shrub-grassland area on US Route 2 east of Moses Coulee.

The Palouse (Eastern Washington and Idaho)

Coeur d’Alene River Wildlife Management Area, Idaho, is an IBA that contains undisturbed wetlands that support waterfowl and shorebirds.  A recreational bike path traverses the 5,000-acre area, which extends from Harrison (N47˚27’ W116˚47’) upstream 25 miles to Rose Lake (N47˚35’ W116˚28’).  Another area of the WMA in the Palouse grasslands is along Coeur d’Alene Lake, within the St. Joe River embayment at Round Lake (N47˚22’ W116˚43’).

Columbia Plateau Trail State Park, Washington is a developing rail-trail which will extend 130 miles from Pasco to Cheney and Spokane.  A future connection is proposed to Sacajawea State Park along the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam.  The south end begins at the Ice Harbor trailhead (N46˚17’ W118˚51’), then goes through Kahlotus (N46˚38’ W118˚33’), Washtucna (N46˚45’ W118˚19’), Benge (N46˚55’ W118˚6’), and Lamont (N47˚12’ W117˚55’) to Fish Lake trailhead (N47˚31’ W117˚31’) north of Cheney. The trail passes through Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

Iron Horse State Park, Washington, is a linear rail-trail also called the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. It extends from Cedar Falls (south of North Bend near Seattle) to Vantage on the Columbia River.  Future extensions will be to the Idaho border at Tekoa.

Palouse Falls State Park, Washington (N46º40’ W118º14’), is an ice age flood site on the Palouse River with a 200-foot waterfall.

Riverside State Park, Washington is 14,000 acres along the Spokane River and Little Spokane River downstream from Spokane. The Nine Mile Reservoir is included in the state park. There are 55 miles of trails. The lower end of the Centennial Trail State Park (see) crosses the property.  The Spokane House historic site (N47º47’ W117º32’) is an early 19th century fur trading post and the oldest log structure in Spokane.  There are also pictographs.  Other major park sites are at Bowl and Pitcher (N47º42’ W117º30’) Nine Mile Recreation Area, and Griffith Spring (N47º46’ W117º28’).

Steptoe Battlefield State Park, Washington (N47º14’ W117º22’), is the site of an 1858 battle of the US Army with members of the Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d’Alene nations. It is located at Rosalia.

Winchester Lake State Park, Idaho (N46˚14’ W116˚37’) is 400 acres located at Winchester on US Route 95 south of Lewiston.  Trails circle the lake and the Wolf Research and Education Center is located here.

The Blue Mountain Slopes

Chief Joseph Wildlife Management Area, Washington (N46˚3’ W117˚0’) is in extreme southeastern Washington in the canyon of the Grande Ronde River, including the Goosenecks National Natural Landmark Area.  It also includes areas in the Joseph Creek Canyon. The Shumaker Unit of the WMA (N46˚3’ W117˚6’) is on the north side of the Grande Ronde River canyon east of Shumaker Creek.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon (N45˚29’ W120˚28’) is an 18,000-acre nature park is on Route 206 at the John Day River crossing and includes recreational developments on state and BLM lands.

Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Idaho (N45˚56’ W116˚48’) is 78,000 acres occupying much of the area along the Snake River between Lewiston and the Salmon River.  It provides overviews of the Snake River canyon from mountain lookouts and is an elk mitigation area for Dworshak Reservoir.

Fields Springs State Park, Washington (N46º5’ W117º11’) is on the boundary between the Palouse Prairie and Blue Mountains.  Seven miles of trails offer panoramic views of Hells Canyon and the Wallowa Mountains.

Hells Gate State Park, Idaho (N46˚21’ W117˚3’), is 1,000 acres on Lower Granite Reservoir south of Lewiston.  It features basaltic columns derived from lava flows and is also the site of a prehistoric Nez Perce village used for lamprey fishing, part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. A network of trails has been constructed. Jet boat rides to Hells Canyon originate here.

Private areas in the Palouse grasslands include five sites.Lawrence Memorial Grassland Preserve, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon, is described under National Natural Landmarks.

Antelope Creek Basin, Oregon (N44˚54’ W120˚44’) is private ranchland east of Antelope on State Route 218, supporting the highest density of Swainson’s hawk in Oregon. It is an IBA.

Clear Lake Ridge Preserve, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon (N45˚26’ W116˚57’) is 3,500 acres on the Little Sheep Creek Highway between Joseph and Imnaha, adjacent to the Wallowa National Forest. Features include a basalt plateau, a 3,000-foot-deep canon along Devils Gulch, three lakes, and native prairie.

Lindsay Prairie Preserve, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon (N45˚36’ W119˚39’) is a rare grassland on 400 acres off of Juniper Road in Morrow County. The grassland contains bluebunch wheatgrass and Sandberg’s bluegrass.

White Lake, British Columbia (N49˚18’ W119˚38’) is a small alkaline lake surrounded by sagebrush grassland.  It is an IBA for the sage thrasher, western screech owl, and yellow-breasted chat. It is between Oliver and Penticton.