Announcing the Wyoming and Great Plains Native Plant Societies’
Weekend of Extraordinary Black Hills Hikes and Destinations
June 9-11, 2017
Check-in Friday afternoon at the Crook County Courthouse Community Room, 309 Cleveland St. in Sundance
Watch this page for more information, but in the meantime, here’s a teaser!
Registration will open soon!
Friday Night, June 9, we begin the weekend with a moonlight walk (full moon!) to a site where the prairies and mountains meet, approximately 25 min east of Sundance. The length of the walk is approximately 1 mile, with frequent stops to observe the many occurrences of culturally significant plants. Participants will receive a handout with scientific, common, and Lakota names of plants, along with description of their uses. Hike will last about 1 hour, but could go longer depending on questions, etc. Thanks to Rylan Sprague, Botanist for Northern Hills Ranger District, Black Hills NF, for leading this hike! The list of plants that may seen is available here. We will carpool from the Courthouse at 6:30 pm, or meet at us at the trailhead at 7 pm.
Saturday, June 10
Joyner Ridge Trail, gentle, 1.5 mile hike at the base of Devils Tower, led by Rene Ohms (or staff),Chief of Resource Management, Devils Tower National Monument. The trail traverses beautiful ponderosa pine forests, typical of the Black Hills, and meadows of wildflowers. There are excellent opportunities to view Devils Tower and abundant wildlife. Meet at the trailhead at 9 am. An entrance fee of $15 or a pass is required to enter DTNM.
Englewood Springs Botanical Area, site of the most orchid species on the forest. This easy to moderate hike, with potential for a more rigorous section, will visit some of the many springs and streams in the area, while discussing the unique management history of the area. Though it is hard to know what will be blooming, it is likely that many of the more showy species, including orchids, will not yet be up yet. Leader Rylan Sprague, Botanist for Northern Hills Ranger District, Black Hills NF, will provide a map of the Botanical Area to participants for reference and discuss the diversity of plant life which led to the area’s designation as a Botanical Area.
Warren Peaks, montane grasslands with Botrychiums in the forecast! This driving tour with limited walking will be led by Nick Drozda, Botanist for Bear Lodge Ranger District, Black Hills, NF.
Informal banquet, 6 pm, at Devils Tower National Monument covered picnic shelter, catered by Christine Galloway with Four Seasons Catering. Menu: Pulled beef sandwiches (with vegetarian and vegan options), baked potato bar, waldorf salad, chocolate cake, and a cookie tray for hikes the next day. The cost is $20/person.
Dinner will be followed by an evening program
at the amphitheater at 8. Our speaker is David Ode
, author of Dakota Flora
. You do not need to have dinner with us to enjoy Dave’s presentation. In fact, this is a public venue, and we hope this talk will nurture an interest in native plants in many DTNM visitors! (An entrance fee of $15 or a pass is required to enter DTNM.)
Sunday, June 11
7 am. Early morning WYNPS business meeting at the courthouse. Coffee and some food provided.
McIntosh Fen Botanical Area
, home to South Dakota’s rare willows, led by Kelly Warnke, Botanist for Mystic Ranger District, Black Hills NF. McIntosh Fen Botanical Area is a unique wetland that results from unusual hydrologic conditions where sedimentary layers of the Limestone Plateau intersect impermeable metamorphic rocks of the crystalline Central Core. McIntosh Fen contains the only population of Sageleaf willow (Salix candida
) in South Dakota and one of a few populations of Autumn willow (Salix serissima
). Forest Service restoration projects have attempted to repair years of hydrologic alterations that occurred when this land was in private ownership. Trip will leave from the Courthouse at 8 am, or meet at the trailhead (approx. 2 miles west of Deerfield Lake
on W. Deerfield Rd.) at 9:30.
Dugout Gulch, relic boreal plants nestled under beautiful paper birch, led by Beth Burkhart, retired Botanist, Great Plains NPS, and WyNPS past-president. We will walk a gradual uphill (4000 to 4400 ft elevation) in Dugout Gulch Botanical Area on a wide, established trail for 2.3 miles. Along the way, we will search for numerous boreal disjunct species such as enchanter’s nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) and foxtail sedge (Carex alopecoidea) in oak/ironwood, paper birch/hazelnut, and riparian plant communities. Participants can turn around and head back the same route to the trailhead parking area from that point (or at any earlier time that works for their schedule). For those who would like to hike farther, we can walk an additional 4.4 mile loop on less-developed trail with moderate grades through ponderosa pine communities. From where the loop starts/ends, it is 2.3 mile back to the trailhead parking area. The full 9 mile hike would be completed about 3pm. However, participants can tailor their hiking time to meet their schedules! Meet at 9:00 am at the Crook County Courthouse Community Room to car caravan to Dugout Gulch BA, or join the group at 9:30 am at Dugout Gulch BA trailhead (6 miles south of Beulah, WY exit off I-90 on FS Road 863).
A list of plants known from Devils Tower National Monument is available at the NPS website https://irma.nps.gov/NPSpecies/
. At this site, go to Advanced Search, query “Devils Tower National Monument (DETO)”, and under Category, select “Vascular Plants” and under Occurrence, select “Present.” Or, the list current as of March 15, 2017, is available here
We have reserved two group campsites at Devils Tower NM. The sites accommodate 10-20 people each, but only 4 vehicles can park at the site. However, there is overflow parking elsewhere. More information will be posted with the registration form. Learn more about the campgrounds at DTNM at the DTNM website
. An entrance fee of $15 or a pass is required to enter DTNM.
Forest Service campgrounds are also available; the nearest one is Reuters CG, north of Sundance. More information is available here
There are many motels in Sundance. A list can be found here
. We have not made special arrangements for meeting attendees with any motel, and recommend that you make reservations ASAP.