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Nature on Trail

Ask WTA: How Do Columnar Basalt and Andesite Form?

May 12, 2021

If you’ve ever seen cliffs made of towering columns, it’s hard to forget that gorgeous, dark rock, fitted together in a near-perfect repeating pattern. It’s mesmerizing and it inevitably raises the question — how on Earth did that happen? The story starts millions of years ago, deep in the Earth. ...

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Ask WTA: How Are Bear Cans Tested?

Feb 17, 2021

If you’ve ever hauled a bear canister along on a backpacking trip, you know they’re sturdy. And, if you’ve ever tried to open one while tired or in the dark, you know they can be tricky to get into. But how do the manufacturers of approved bear canisters actually know that a bear can’t get into them?

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Nature on Trail: Cougar and Licorice Fern

Feb 08, 2021

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the cougar and licorice fern, and where you can find them.

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Your Daily Dose of Cute Wildlife

Aug 31, 2020

You're welcome.

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Nature on Trail: River Otter and Mountain Bog Gentian

Jul 29, 2020

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the river otter and mountain bog gentian, and where you can find them.

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Apps WTA is Loving Right Now

Jun 14, 2020

Apps on our phone are not only a way to connect to each other, they’re also a way to connect to nature. Right now, our phones are a lifeline for many to the broader world and the people we love. They can also serve as a bit of necessary rest and a way to connect with the natural world. From flora and fauna to running and, of course, hiking, here are some apps that WTA staff members are loving right now.

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Nature on Trail: Big Sagebrush and Anna's Hummingbird

Jun 09, 2020

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the big sagebrush and Anna's hummingbird, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Yellow Warbler and Salmonberry

Mar 31, 2020

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the yellow warbler and salmonberry, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Roosevelt Elk, Western Redcedar

Jan 24, 2020

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the Roosevelt Elk and Western Redcedar, and where you can find them.

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The Trees are Talking

How plants communicate and cooperate to survive environmental threats | By Keiko Betcher

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Nature on Trail: Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Lupine

Sep 23, 2019

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl and Lupine, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Moose, Elephant's Head

Jun 20, 2019

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the moose and elephant's head, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Avalanche Lily, Pygmy Rabbit

Apr 05, 2019

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two common species, the Yellow Avalanche Lily and Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Quaking Aspen, Gray Wolf

Oct 03, 2018

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two common species, the Quaking Aster and Gray Wolf, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: Western Tanager, Western Anemone

Aug 09, 2018

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two common species, the Western Tanager and Western Anemone, and where you can find them.

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Nature on Trail: American Dipper, Skunk Cabbage

Mar 15, 2018

Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two common species, the American Dipper and Skunk Cabbage, and where you can find them.

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Hair Ice: Even Cooler Than You Thought

Dec 14, 2017

You’ve probably seen hair ice while hiking on a cold day. You might have thought it was a weird fungus. You may have even asked on a mycology forum or a trip report, “What kind of fungus is this?” If, however, you ever lean down to examine it and give it a touch, you’ll discover that it melts away from the warmth of your hand.

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Whitebark Pine: A Subalpine Keystone Struggles to Survive

Aug 31, 2017

High up in the mountains, a tree called whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) shows us just how interconnected our natural world is. This tree is vital to our subalpine ecosystems and much of the life that exists below them.

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Bring on the Bugs: A Key to Identifying 10 Common Washington Insects

May 25, 2017

Although they are small, insects control much of our natural environment! They pollinate flowers, decompose organic material into soil, and provide food to many other species. The next time you and your family are out hiking, try to spot one of these ten common Washington insects.

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Beware out There -- it's Tick Season

Apr 28, 2017

Ticks are showing up on trails. Don't let it keep you from hiking, but be prepared so you don't end up with an unwanted hitchhiker.

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Why Do Trees Grow in Spirals?

Apr 04, 2017

Washington is full of beauty— summits, mountain lakes, shrubsteppe, the Salish Sea, the Pacific Ocean and forests—that beckons us outdoors. Along with this pronounced beauty comes a plethora of natural oddities.

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Two Awesome Videos of Washington Wildlife Fishing

Dec 20, 2016

An Olympic National Park ranger recently spotted a bobcat salmon-fishing. Which reminded us of that time when two snakes fought over a fish, and a trip reporter caught it on camera.

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Sharing the Trail: Wildlife Sightings (Slideshow)

May 08, 2015

Spotting a bird, mountain goat or bear along the trail always adds excitement to a hike. Check out some a small sampling of images captured by the hiking photographers who participated in our Northwest Exposure Photo Contest in 2014

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Citizen Science: Help Study Pikas, Marmots, Invasive Plant Species

Apr 30, 2015

Want your hiking adventures to contribute to conservation science? Check out some of the citizen science programs needing hiking volunteers to watch for wildlife and invasive plants all summer long.

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Wildlife Spotting: Velella Velella on Olympic Coast

Apr 28, 2015

Trip reporter lildoppler recently hiked the Sand Point portion of the Ozette Triangle Loop and spotted some of the Velella velella that have been showing up en masse on Washington's coast and making headlines.

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Video: Citizen Scientists in Search of Olympic Pine Marten

Jun 11, 2014

This winter, adventure science volunteers donated three months of their time to help Olympic National Forest biologists study pine marten. Watch the video and hear from WTA volunteers about what its like to become citizen scientists.

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Nature on Trail: Western Tanager, Mule Deer, Western Hemlock

Mar 31, 2014

Northwest forests are teeming with life -- much of which may go overlooked or unseen. On your next hike, look out for the western tanager songbird, the big ears of the mule deer and Washington's official tree, the western hemlock.

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Video: Who Walks On Trail When You're Not There?

Jan 31, 2014

Who travels on trails when you're not there? Our neighbors to the north stitched together four months of (delightful) footage from a remote camera focused on a closed trail in Waterton Lakes National Park (north of Glacier National Park).

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Nature on Trail: Snowy Owl, Elk, Western Redcedar

Jan 29, 2014

Northwest forests are teeming with life -- much of which may go overlooked or unseen. On your next hike, look out for the little things and discover something new on your favorite trails.

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Nature on Trail: Varied Thrush, Douglas Squirrel, Tall Oregon Grape

Dec 04, 2013

The Northwest forests are teeming with life—many of which may go overlooked or unseen. On your next hike, look out for the little things and discover something new on your favorite trails.

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