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Highland Wonders ~ Upcoming

Highland Wonders is a monthly education series featuring the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. Come and meet some new people and enjoy refreshments; leave with a better understanding of your watershed.

The indoor series runs on the First Friday of the month, from November through May (skipping December). The outdoor series is offered during summer, and the schedule varies.

Hike header

Join Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) on Saturday, July 18th for a hike in the forest around the southern end of Lost Lake. Traveling a route not commonly used by hikers, participants will have the opportunity to see parts of the Lost Lake area often missed by recreationists. Local botanist and retired schoolteacher, George Thornton, will share observations and knowledge about local plant life, helping community members to see some of the details that make up the big picture of biodiversity in the Lost Lake forestlands. The group will also look for signs of wildlife, including birds and mammals, highlighting the connections between plant and animal survival. Geologic features will be observed along the way. 

George Thornton has been hiking at Lost Lake since childhood and has continued exploring its ecosystems in greater depth, contributing to local knowledge of native plant life. “Our Okanogan Highlands area is recognized across the state for its biodiversity,” Thornton says, “and Lost Lake is in the center of that diversity. Its range of animals and plants is found in few other places in Washington state. Our ‘familiar’ is often an item of wonder for others.”

The route will end on OHA's Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve, featuring an opportunity for the community to check out the hiking trails and interpretive signage designed and installed by OHA.

What you need to know about this event:
This hike is rated moderately strenuous, traveling on trails, but with sections of uneven terrain and forest debris in the trail. The hike will be 5.6 miles long with an ascent of 600 feet. The maximum elevation reached during the hike is 4,244 feet. Please consider your physical condition and whether a hike of this nature would be suitable for your needs, strengths, and stamina.

Please note that there is no cell phone reception in the Lost Lake area. Restrooms will be available at the start and end of the hike. This event is not able to accommodate dogs, unless they are service dogs. Proper hiking footwear is essential. After the hike, participants are welcome to observe the loons and to go for a swim to cool down if the weather is hot.  

Hike with George Thornton

Local botanist George Thornton will lead a hike in the Lost Lake area, sharing his wealth of knowledge about local plants and other natural history points of interest.

George Thornton

Due to the nature of the outdoor event, participation is limited, and priority registration will be offered for OHA members. A waiting list is being generated on a first-come, first-serve basis. To begin or renew OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, community members can visit, or contact OHA for more information. The July 18 event will begin in the morning; further details will be provided to those who register for the field trip. To sign up for this event, email or call 509-476-2432.

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Also coming up this summer:

Saturday, July 18th: Hike with George Thornton

Sunday, August 16th: Hike with Dana Visalli

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Recap of the 2015 indoor Highland Wonders indoor season:

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To begin or renew your OHA membership and be first in line to register for the summertime events, please visit, or contact OHA for more information. To sign up for this event, email or call 509-476-2432. The starting time and location will be provided upon registration.

The 2012 Summertime Highland Wonders season brought Cedar Ecology, The Magic of Wetlands, and a school bus tour highlighting the Geology of the Okanogan Highlands. The 2013 outdoor season brought Seeing the Forest Among the Trees, Watershed Functioning, Plant Ecology and Stream Processes, Geology of the Okanogan Highlands, and Grassland Ecology and Grass ID. Each of these events was jam-packed with information tailored to the sights, sounds, and natural history of the highlands. The events are often full to capacity. Be sure to begin or renew your OHA membership for priority in signing up for next summer's events. 

The 2014 outdoor season brought Viva la Naturaleza for Spanish-speaking families in May, Stream Ecology in July, and Geology of the Okanogan Highlands on August 16th. 

Questions? Contact OHA's Conservation Coordinator, Julie Ashmore: