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Research - Foray 1999

1999 Herbarium Foray: Colville National Forest, Washington

The 1999 Foray sponsored by the UW Herbarium was held from 8th to 12th of July in the Republic District of the Colville National Forest. The Foray was the biggest yet and, in some very important ways, the most successful. Being the biggest was most easily measured in term of the record number of participants. The group campsite at Swan Lake campground was home to 23 participants, mostly from the Seattle area, for the 5-day outing. Richard Olmstead and Sarah Gage led the Foray and participants included UW undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty, as well as Herbarium volunteers, Washington Native Plant Society members, and other interested botanists.

However, one of the most important measures of success for this Foray was the number of local botanists and biologists who participated. Kathy Ahlenslager, the Forest Botanist on the Colville National Forest, planned to join the weekend's activities, but it was a pleasant surprise when several of her colleagues (Bud Kovalchik, Sandy Lembcke, Madeline Perry, and Bill Swartz) from the Colville National Forest office and the Republic District office arrived with her on Friday and Saturday mornings. The local knowledge helped to focus Foray efforts on areas of botanical interest and areas of interest to the Forest Service. In addition to the Forest Service botanists from the Colville, who might be expected to have an interest in the botanical exploration of their Forest, Judy Harpel and her husband Wayne from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest joined us, as did Jean Wood from the Malheur National Forest. Judy has been a regular participant on past Forays and provides bryological expertise, while Jean studied the flora of Ferry and Stevens Counties, including all of the Colville Forest, for her Masters Degree at the University of Wyoming.

Each day small groups of participants would head off to different destinations, often ones suggested by the local Forest Service botanists. The Foray's goal to sample the plant biodiversity of the area was accomplished by the many small groups, each of which scoured one pre-selected area each day, collecting all the plants they encountered. Whenever possible, collections were made in 3-5 replicates for exchange, so that the 700 new accessions for the University of Washington represents some 2100 - 3500 specimens.

Wetlands were a prominent feature of this year's Foray, relative to past years. This was the first Foray into the once-glaciated northern part of the Pacific Northwest. The myriad of small lakes, bogs, swamps, and streams meant that a much greater diversity of aquatic and wetland plants was collected than in past Forays. In addition to the wetlands, the high ridges of the Kettle Range, accessible by the Kettle Crest trail from Sherman Pass, the bald buttes of the southwest portion of the District, and the remote proposed Fire Mt. Research Natural Area (where the Foray participants helped prepare a plant checklist for the Forest Service) were all destinations for small groups.

Swan Lake provided a wonderful base of operations for the Foray, with a rich and diverse assemblage of plant community types within walking distance from camp. It also provided a refreshing dip after a hard day of plant collecting and a pair of nesting loons to serenade us in the evening. In keeping with the tradition of past Forays, John Myers organized the Saturday night spaghetti dinner for everyone, which was followed by the potluck dessert contest, a high point for all Foray participants.

Foray participants were: Richard Olmstead, Sarah Gage, Suzanne Bagshaw, Alison Colwell, Ken Davis, Ola Edwards, Robert Goff, Judy Harpel, Wayne Harpel, Gretchen Ionta, Jessie Johanson, Joe Johanson, Don Knoke, Gayle McHenry-Teller, John Myers, Richard Robohm, Jesara Schroeder, Barb Smith, Sasa Stefanovic, Ann Weinman, Fred Weinman, Kathleen Whitson, and Alan Yen. The canines were Pico, Sammy, and Phinney.