August 10, 2022

Wildflower Hike with Utah Native Plant Society

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Summer is in full swing in the mountains and that means it is wildflower season! One of the most spectacular things about the Wasatch mountains is that it consists of many different plant habitats - high desert to Douglas fir forests to subalpine meadows even up into the true alpine above 9,800 feet. We are lucky to have access to these very diverse plant communities that are home to stunning blooms and happy pollinators. 

Lucky for us, the Utah Native Plant Society (UNPS)  is incredibly dedicated to educating the public about the value of plant communities, how essential plants are to both the mountains and animals, as well as how we are all capable of learning the hundreds of plants that grow throughout the Wasatch mountains. 

On July 13th, UNPS’s very own, Marc Coles-Ritchie, was kind enough to lead members from the Save Our Canyons community on a wildflower hike starting at the Willow Lake Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Over his decades of being an ecologist and stewarding public land, his knowledge of plants and plant ecosystems is invaluable. Our group was filled with passionate recreationists that were eager to learn more about the plants that constantly pass by as they are hiking or running in the canyons. 

Our hike consisted of some iconic Utah native plants. Most notably, paintbrush, fireweed, meadow rue, Jacob’s ladder, sticky geranium, and larkspur. We were surrounded by tall aspen and miles of thick meadows filled with these blooms. Not to mention amazing cloud cover that gifted us with some rain towards the end of our hike. It was amazing to see how engaged and excited everyone was to finally understand more about the flowers we all take for granted or better yet, the ones we always photograph hoping one day we will identify them. 

It was a joy to partner with UNPS and we are eager to get back out on the trail with them in the future. If you are passionate about plant conservation and would like to get more involved with the Utah Native Plant Society, please consider checking out their website, joining their email list, and making a donation!

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