History of the Preserve: In January 2010, Okanogan Highlands Alliance responded to an extraordinary opportunity, purchasing 38 acres of wetland and 27 acres of adjacent forestland on the south end of Lost Lake. While the Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve sustains diverse plant and animal populations, both the wetland and adjacent forestland came to OHA with a need of restoration measures. The forestland was aggressively harvested in 1992. OHA has begun assessing the conditions and has developed a management plan with the goal of maintaining and enhancing forest health, habitat and diversity while reducing weeds and fire danger. The wetland supports a wide variety of life, but required fencing to keep the neighboring livestock from entering the sensitive habitat. When cattle eat and trample wetland plants, the native animal populations are also affected through loss of reproductive and foraging habitats. Through a partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, OHA installed fencing in the summer of 2011 to protect the wetland and its valuable diversity of species.
In establishing the Preserve, OHA aims to protect, restore and conserve the diverse plant and animal populations of Lost Lake, and to provide educational and volunteer opportunities for local community members who wish to learn more and become involved. Educational opportunities onsite include hiking trails and a large, covered signboard to provide information about the function and value of healthy wetlands. OHA, with the help of the Curlew Job Corps, has built trails on both the upland portion and in the transition zone leading to the edge of the wetland. The wetland interpretive trail loop complements the upland loop, providing easy hikes with ecological information. The wetland portion of the preserve is reserved for wildlife. Photos of the trail work and signboard are included in the photo albums above.