CNPS Updates & Happenings

In July, we saw nine species of conifers around Sugar Lake in the Russian Wilderness, and three more along the trail there. The trail was modestly graded, about 3 miles long, and earned the title “Treasure Trail” because new plant treasures kept showing up, especially the non-green kind. We recommend this hike, #16 in Michael Kauffmann’s “Conifer Country.”

Sugar Lake in Russian Wilderness. Submittted photo.
Sugar Lake in Russian Wilderness. Submittted photo.


Field Trips and Plant Walks

October 6, Saturday—Lassics Day Hike. In the Lassics area of Six Rivers National Forest west of Ruth Lake the air is invigorating; the views are stupendous; the geology is impressive; the plants are hardy, unique, and rare. We will hike two short trails to the tops of two peaks, at 4,000-5,000 ft. elevation. Bring lunch, snacks, and plenty of water. There are no facilities. Return late afternoon or evening. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata), 8:30 a.m. at the Kohl’s end of Bayshore Mall parking lot, or 10 a.m. at Dinsmore Store on Highway 36. From there it is about a half-hour. Tell Carol you are coming: 707-822-2015 or

October 14, Sunday 1-3 p.m.—Botanizing the Hammond Trail Loop. Along this wonderful McKinleyville trail, see remnants of the native vegetation. Wildflower author and enthusiast Elaine Allison will lead this walk of about one mile along coastal bluffs and coastal prairie, through Beach Pine forest and streamside forest, where you will see many common plants and at least one officially rare species. Meet at the west end of Murray Rd. For information: 707-822-2015 or

October 21, Sunday, 1:00-3:00 p.m.—“Conifers on Campus,” a plant walk with Dr. Dennis Walker, the man who brought conifers from all corners of the world to create a remarkable collection on Humboldt State University Campus. Not all conifers look like Christmas trees! Learn what makes a conifer and broaden your understanding of these trees and shrubs. Meet at the green front doors of the dome greenhouse, east of B St. between Science D (where the Botany labs are) and the Wildlife Building. Weekend parking is free in campus lots. 707-822-2015.

November 4, Sunday—Bear River Ridge, Monument Ridge Day Hike. To witness firsthand the setting and habitat of the proposed wind energy development on Monument Ridge above Rio Dell, we will walk one or more segments of the small, quiet, county road that traverses it. See Hike 60 in Hiking Humboldt Vol. 2 by Rees Hughes. The open prairie along the ridge offers grand views in various directions. We will respect the private property by staying on the road. Bring lunch and water; dress for the weather. Meet to carpool at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or 9:30 a.m. at the Kohl’s end of Bayshore Mall parking lot. Tell Carol you are coming: 707-822-2015 or


Evening Programs

Evening programs are free, public programs on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May, at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., Arcata. Refreshments at 7:00 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. For information or to suggest a speaker or topic, contact Michael Kauffmann at 707-407-7686 or

October 10, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.—“Campions of Northwestern California.” A talk by a plant taxonomist about the Silene hookeri complex might sound too academic, but Dr. Michael Mesler, also a pollination biologist at Humboldt State University, will bring it alive as he takes us roaming the Klamath Mountains, finding Silenes of various colors and forms. He will take us with him pursuing the question, “Is this a new species?” His studies defined five species in northwestern California and western Oregon, all decidedly rare. Defining the species is where taxonomy meets conservation, another topic Mike will explore. The genus Silene includes Indian Pink (Silene laciniata), a familiar, bright red species, and other species called catch-flies and campions. The largest and showiest flower in the genus, and everyone’s favorite on our South Fork Trinity hike (see report elsewhere in this newsletter), is the newly described Silene nelsonii, possibly to be known as Stringflower or Nelson’s Campion, a “champion” in the genus.

November 14, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.—“Restoring Nature One Garden at a Time.” Real gardens grow bugs? Yes! Learn about the vital role insects play in the web of life from an informative, entertaining, and inspirational video of a lecture by Douglas Tallamy. Tallamy is a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware who has pioneered research comparing insect diversity on native and non-native plants. He is also the author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants—a book that presents the powerful claim that the choices we make as gardeners can
profoundly impact the diversity of life in our gardens, our communities, and our planet.
Knowledgeable, passionate, and friendly, Douglas Tallamy wishes he could be here personally. We appreciate his important lectures being available on film and continue to hope he can come in the future.