Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area

LOCATION and PHOTOS

Myers Creek Fen
Cotton-grass, sedges, and willows dominate the fen in the cold subalpine environment. Mosses are conspicuous ground cover here. Photo by Jack Massie.

Paludella squarrosa
The bryophyte, Paludella squarrosa, was found for the first time in Washington State during a survey of Myers Creek Fen. It occurs here with Sphagnum. Photo by Jeff Heinlen.

A visitor taking a photo in the Myers Creek Fen.
This visitor is intent on capturing a great photo of the diverse and abundant mosses as ground cover. Photo by Erica Heinlen.

Myers Creek Fen

Forest: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests

District: Tonasket Ranger District

Description: Myers Creek Fen occurs on the Bonaparte Block of the Tonasket Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at Township 38N, Range 30E, Section 7 in the southwest Quarter Section. The fen covers approximately one acre and sits in a basin on the northeast side of Mt. Bonaparte that drains into Myers Creek. Fens occur infrequently in the Okanogan Highlands area and do not extend much further south in the region. This fen represents a unique habitat on the Tonasket Ranger District. The surrounding upland vegetation is dominated by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), and fits into the Cold-Dry Biophysical Environment. The fen itself is a member of the Salix farriae/Eleocharis pauciflora-Eriophorum polystachion (Farr willow/Few-flowered Spike-rush – Many-spiked Cotton-grass) plant association described in the “Classification and Management of Aquatic, Riparian and Wetland Sites on the National Forest of Eastern Washington”. The Myers Creek Fen is somewhat isolated and not often visited. It has been used in the past as a helicopter landing zone as evidenced by a ring of wood discs located in the center of the fen.

Wildflower Viewing: The vascular plant vegetation consists mostly of graminoids, but a few areas contain willows (Salix spp.), lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce. A complete vascular plant list has not been completed, but the following species have also been documented on site: saw-leaved sedge (Carex scopulorum var. prionophylla), bladder sedge (Carex utriculata), sparseflower sedge (Carex tenuiflora), cotton-grass (Eriophorum spp.), and Labrador tea (Ledum spp.). Marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris) and marsh violets (Viola palustris) may add color to the landscape. The bryophyte flora, however, is diverse. Bryologist Erica Heinlen compiled a complete list of bryophyte species which includes thirty-seven taxa; four of the moss species had not been previously recorded in Washington State, including Meesia triquetra, Paludella squarrosa, Sphagnum teres, and Tomenthypnum nitens.

Safety First: Travel is by state and county highways and Forest Service roads to the fen; be cautious of other vehicles on single-track forest roads and watch for wildlife on the highways. The road system takes you within a few hundred feet of the fen, so foot travel with compass or GPS and maps are required. Carry water and a snack, use footwear for rugged (possibly wet) travel, and pack outerwear for all weather conditions.

Directions: From Tonasket drive northeast on county road 9467 to Havillah (about 13 miles); turn east at intersection with county road 4850; road becomes Forest Service road 3300 at about 1 mile; continue northeast (about 3 miles) to Forest Service road 3300-300 and turn south on this spur; travel south for about 3 miles to FS road 3300-325. This spur turns southeast to the east side of Myers Creek and the fen.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Tonasket Ranger District. Contact Larry Loftis, district botanist, at lloftis@fs.fed.us

Closest Town: Tonasket, Washington.