Events include Junior Ranger programs, birding and post-wildfire examination
OLYMPIA – March 6, 2019 – Washington State Parks invites the public to attend a lineup of fun, educational programs in state parks of the Central Cascades this spring.
The Central Cascades area stretches east of Snoqualmie Pass to the shrub-steppe along the Columbia River and is home to several Washington state parks. These parks showcase unique landscapes, diverse habitats, rich historical and geological heritage and recreational opportunities.
This spring, programs will take place at Olmstead Place Historical State Park, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail and Lake Easton State Park.
The program schedule, categorized by park, is as follows:
Olmstead Place Historical State Park, 921 Ferguson Road, Ellensburg (Driving directions)
Tuesday, March 19, 10 -11:30 a.m. Spring Break Junior Ranger program – FREE DAY (no Discover Pass required) Kids can jump into Junior Ranger activities on Washington State Parks’ 106th birthday and earn a Junior Ranger badge. Meet at the south end of the park closest to the highway.
Saturday, April 20, 1-4 p.m. Earth Day Tours - FREE DAY (no Discover Pass required)
Hike the 1-mile round trip Altapes Creek Interpretive Trail with a Parks Interpreter. Explore the relationship of this homestead family to the land. Meet at the south end of the park closest to the highway.
Tours are available by advance appointment. To schedule a tour, please call 509-925-1943.
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Vantage
Saturday, March 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Wildfires: What Happens Next?
Join staff for an in-depth look at the aftermath of the 2018 wildfires on a moderate 1.5-mile guided hike of the Interpretive Trail at Ginkgo Petrified Forest. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Sunday, March 24, 9-11 a.m. Birds of the shrub-steppe and Columbia River
Bring your binoculars to scan the river for migrating ducks and birds of prey on a walk from the Interpretive Center. Look for mountain bluebirds, sagebrush sparrows, sage thrashers and Say’s phoebes, or a sandhill crane flying overhead. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Sunday, April 21, 9-11 a.m. Quest for signs of life after wildfire
This is the first in the “Feel the Burn” series of hikes, with the second, third and fourth taking place May 19, June 16 and July 21. Interpretive staff and participants will search for early spring wildflowers, regenerating plants and signs of wildlife. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes.
Monday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Forces of Nature! – Earth Day FREE DAY (no Discover Pass required)
Celebrate Earth Day in a spectacular shrub-steppe ecosystem. This moderate guided hike highlights evidence of Earth’s raw power, including floods, fire and fossils! Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids to Parks Day. Junior Ranger program Jump into Junior Ranger activities and let the kids complete their booklets to earn their Junior Ranger badge! Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Sunday, May 19, 9-11 a.m. Scabs, Scars and Regeneration in Burned Areas
In this second of the “Feel the Burn” hiking series, interpretive staff and participants will explore burned and unburned patches of the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Trail to compare plant regeneration and blooming wildflowers. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.
The “Feel the Burn” hiking series continues June 16 and July 21, 9-11 a.m., with details forthcoming.
Participants will continue to observe and document life returning to burned areas. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.
Interpretive Center hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, March 1 to May 15; 110 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May 16 to Sept. 15. Tours can also be scheduled in advance by calling 509-856-2290.
Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (formerly Iron Horse State Park),
Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. Tunnel Vision! Travel back in time through the historic Snoqualmie train tunnel on a flat, 5-mile guided hike with Parks interpretive staff. Bring cold and wet weather layers, sturdy hiking shoes and a head lamp or flashlight. Meet at the Hyak parking lot (Driving Directions).
Lake Easton State Park 150 Lake Easton State Park Road, Easton (Driving Directions)
Sunday, May 26, 10-11 a.m. Lake Easton State Park Junior Ranger Program
Bring the kids and partake of Junior Ranger activities. Children completing the program and Junior Ranger booklet will earn a Junior Ranger badge. Meet at the Day Use Area amphitheater.
Helen McCabe State Park 23942- 24398 Canyon Rd, Ellensburg (Driving Directions)
Saturday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe
Join park staff and partners Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) for a day of fun and learning about the amazing habitat of eastern Washington. Morning field trips will visit the Bureau of Land Management Umtanum Recreation Area in the Yakima River Canyon. All other activities will be at Helen McCabe State Park. For more information and directions: https://www.ycic.org/get-intimate-with-the-shrub-steppe.
News media contacts:
Laura Busby, Parks Interpretive Specialist, (509) 925-1943
Meryl Lipman, Parks Communications Consultant, (360) 902-8557
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
News release number: 19-011