Central Washington state parks announce spring program schedule

Events include Junior Ranger programs, birding and post-wildfire examination

Washington State Parks invites the public to attend a lineup of fun, educational programs in state parks of the Central Cascades this spring.

The Central Cascades area stretches east of Snoqualmie Pass to the shrub-steppe along the Columbia River and is home to several Washington state parks. These parks showcase unique landscapes, diverse habitats, rich historical and geological heritage and recreational opportunities.

This spring, programs will take place at Olmstead Place Historical State Park, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail and Lake Easton State Park.

The program schedule, categorized by park, is as follows: 

Olmstead Place Historical State Park, 921 Ferguson Road, Ellensburg

Saturday, April 20, 1-4 p.m. Earth Day Tours – FREE DAY (no Discover Pass required)

Hike the 1-mile round trip Altapes Creek Interpretive Trail with a Parks Interpreter. Explore the relationship of this homestead family to the land. Meet at the south end of the park closest to the highway.

Tours are available by advance appointment. To schedule a tour, please call 509-925-1943.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Vantage

Saturday, March 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Wildfires: What Happens Next?

Join staff for an in-depth look at the aftermath of the 2018 wildfires on a moderate 1.5-mile guided hike of the Interpretive Trail at Ginkgo Petrified Forest. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, March 24, 9-11 a.m. Birds of the shrub-steppe and Columbia River

Bring your binoculars to scan the river for migrating ducks and birds of prey on a walk from the Interpretive Center. Look for mountain bluebirds, sagebrush sparrows, sage thrashers and Say’s phoebes, or a sandhill crane flying overhead. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, April 21, 9-11 a.m. Quest for signs of life after wildfire

This is the first in the “Feel the Burn” series of hikes, with the second, third and fourth taking place May 19, June 16 and July 21. Interpretive staff and participants will search for early spring wildflowers, regenerating plants and signs of wildlife. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive. Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes.

Monday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Forces of Nature! – Earth Day FREE DAY (no Discover Pass required)

Celebrate Earth Day in a spectacular shrub-steppe ecosystem. This moderate guided hike highlights evidence of Earth’s raw power, including floods, fire and fossils! Bring wind-proof layers and sturdy hiking shoes. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.

Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids to Parks Day. Junior Ranger program

Jump into Junior Ranger activities and let the kids complete their booklets to earn their Junior Ranger badge! Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, May 19, 9-11 a.m. Scabs, Scars and Regeneration in Burned Areas

In this second of the “Feel the Burn” hiking series, interpretive staff and participants will explore burned and unburned patches of the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Trail to compare plant regeneration and blooming wildflowers. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.

The “Feel the Burn” hiking series continues June 16 and July 21, 9-11 a.m., with details forthcoming. Participants will continue to observe and document life returning to burned areas. Meet at the Backcountry Trailhead located off Vantage Highway, ½ mile down Recreation Drive.

Interpretive Center hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, March 1 to May 15; 110 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May 16 to Sept. 15. Tours can also be scheduled in advance by calling 509-856-2290.

Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (formerly Iron Horse Trail State Park),

Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. Tunnel Vision!

Travel back in time through the historic Snoqualmie train tunnel on a flat, 5-mile guided hike with Parks interpretive staff. Bring cold and wet weather layers, sturdy hiking shoes and a head lamp or flashlight. Meet at the Hyak parking lot.

Lake Easton State Park 150 Lake Easton State Park Road, Easton.

Sunday, May 26, 10-11 a.m. Lake Easton State Park Junior Ranger Program

Bring the kids and partake of Junior Ranger activities. Children completing the program and Junior Ranger booklet will earn a Junior Ranger badge. Meet at the Day Use Area amphitheater.

Helen McCabe State Park  23942- 24398 Canyon Rd, Ellensburg.

Saturday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe

Join park staff and partners Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) for a day of fun and learning about the amazing habitat of eastern Washington. Morning field trips will visit the Bureau of Land Management Umtanum Recreation Area in the Yakima River Canyon. All other activities will be at Helen McCabe State Park. For more information and directions: https://www.ycic.org/get-intimate-with-the-shrub-steppe

– Washington State Parks

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