North Central Washington

Boreal Studies

Studies of the sub-boreal ecosystem in the northern Okanogan Range on the Canadian border

Links to Projects
image Unique biodiversity features of the northern Okanogan Range Interesting sidelines of the Horseshoe Basin study revolved on the nature and ecology of the area's unusual pattern of plant geography. Features such as earth-hummocks, typically found only much further north, are found here in association with periglacial features. The link includes a government report on the unique features of biodiversity of the area.
image Ecological components of Horseshoe Basin, eastern Pasayten Wilderness. Beginning in 1990, and continuing over 5 years, the Washington Native Plant Society and the Wilderness Society were among institutions that helped fund research on the botany and ecology of Horseshoe Basin in the eastern Pasayten Wilderness. Principal Investigator A.B. Adams studied many aspects of the area's ecology, including its grazing history, sensitive plants, plant ecology and more.
image Rare plants of the northern Okanogan Range Both inky gentian (Gentiana glauca) and tiny gentian (Gentianella tenella) are found here, the former preferentially on earth hummocks. Neither of these is found elsewhere in the mountains of the North Cascades, but another gentian grows there instead. This gentian, Gentiana calycosa, stops its range just short of the two rare ones.
image Wetlands From Cathedral Lakes in Canada south to Beaver Meadows near Winthrop, and from Chopaka Mountain near Loomis west to about Sheep Mountain, the northern Okanogan Range is blessed with an abundance of sub-boreal wetlands. A project was completed by Pacific Biodiversity Institute, Enhanced Wetland Mapping on the Loomis State Forest, which mapped the extent of wetlands in the northern Okanogan Range and found they were underestimated by a factor of 5 on current National Wetlands Inventory maps.
image Climate Unusual climatic conditions appear to be a possible reason why the area's unique boreal flora has remained intact following the melting of the ice sheet. A combination of low relief, high elevation, and upslope Chewuch River cloud pressure all contribute to the area's intense summer thunderstorms.