2015 Annual Meeting LogoThe 2015 Annual Meeting

June 26-28

Hosted by the Flathead Chapter

For Peat's Sake... Befriend the Fens!

Online Registration is now Closed

You can register with cash or check at the meeting site.

To help plan your participation you may download a Registration Form Here

 (NB: Registration remains open at the meeting, but no meals after June 10)

The Montana Native Plant Society, Flathead Chapter invites you to explore the Swan River Valley and Northwest Montana. The "Swan" has a diverse range of flora and habitats, from valley bottom riparian, glacial potholes, and fens with a host of rare plants, to montane forests and alpine ridges. Mark your calendar for June 26-28, 2015 and start looking forward to the 28th Annual Statewide Meeting at Loon Lake 4H Camp, near Bigfork. The camp is on a small lake with a dock and canoes. There is a large dining and meeting hall, bunk style cabins, and space for camping.  You can sign up for camp provided meals or cook on your own.  Watch for the Spring Kelseya for more details including a great article on "Swan" ecology.  

See you in June!

Here's what's happening at the 2015 Annual Meeting:

Friday Workshop -Weed Identification, Ecology, and Control

Tris Hoffman, weed specialist with the Flathead National Forest, will offer this 2 hour workshop at camp on Friday at 2:30 PM. Cost is $10.

Field Trips

The Annual Meeting will have a variety of trips, from easy to strenuous (see details below). Most of our trips are within a half hour driving distance so your day in the field will be longer. The places we’ll go to on Saturday include the fens of the Swan Valley (Ambrose Fen, Lost Creek Fens, Porcupine Fen, Point Pleasant Fen), the Swan Range (Napa Point, Six mile Peak, Wolf Creek/Crater Notch), and the Swan River (Gildart Island in the Swan River RNA, Swan River Oxbow Preserve - 2 trips, one keying and one not). There will also be a logging unit trip (near a fen) up Soup Creek in the Swan Valley, which will touch on responsible timber management and include some botanizing. Bring your lunch, water, rain gear, rubber boots, sun and bug protection, hand lenses, and ... if you choose, hip boots, wetsuits and snorkel gear.

At camp on Saturday, there will be an aquatic botany trip on Loon Lake with John Pierce (in canoes!), as well as the full-day kid’s activities, graciously provided by Bob and Heidi. Besides the planned children’s activities on Saturday, the camp has plenty of fun things for kids to do - bring life jackets for kids.

Kids and Families Hike and Nature Journals - Bob and Heidi
This will be a full-day activity. We will spend about an hour at camp and then take the kids on a short hike, at a leisurely pace, approximately two hours round trip. Parents are welcome to join us or go on an adult hike. We will help each child start their own nature journal. We will identify, discuss and understand plants and animals we find along our hike and around camp. The afternoon will be spent at camp working on the journals and playing games. We will provide journals, colored pencils, magnifying glasses and supplies to decorate and personalize the journals. We may also use a polaroid camera to help them document their observations. We will provide sandwiches for lunch and snacks.

Sunday Trips

On Sunday, there are a few trips planned for those intrepid plant-lovers who don’t want the weekend to stop! Dave Shea will lead a trip at Two Medicine on the east side of Glacier National Park, Maria Mantas will lead a second trip to Lost Creek Fens, Joyce Lapp will show people around the Glacier National Park native plant nursery, and Anne Morley will lead people along the Sprunger Whitney Trail at Point Pleasant Campground. (See further details below the Saturday Field Trip details.)

Meals and Social

Camp staff will provide Friday and Saturday dinner and Saturday and Sunday breakfast. Bring your own lunches. The last date to register for meals is June 10. After dinner on Friday we’ll drive or ride bikes (if you bring them) 7 miles to a private home for a social. Beer, wine, non-alcohol beverages, and light desserts provided. Overnight parking and shuttles back to camp will be available there.

The Camp

The Loon Lake 4H camp has a large central lodge, rustic cabins, and tent spaces. It is on a small lake with a dock and canoes for our use. There is a volleyball net and other play equipment for kids and adults. The cabins have 4 bunk beds; 8 beds with top and bottom; bring your sleeping bag. Tents can be set up anywhere; no tables, campfires, vehicles or food at your tent site. Six RV spaces are available, no hookups, length limit 20 ft.

Trip details:

Ambrose Fen – Peter Lesica

Ambrose Fen is a large peatland in the Flathead Valley north of Bigfork, where we will explore and look for rare fen plants. The hike in is about two miles over level but hummocky and wet terrain. We can expect to return to the cars in early afternoon. Depending on time, another wetland on the Swan Front could be visited. Bring lunch, water, and wet shoes or rubber boots. There is parking for only four vehicles.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate Driving time: 20 minutes


Gildart Island, Swan River Research Natural Area – Steve Wirt

This so-called island is a unique area in the Swan River corridor. The site was at one time considered as a possible living memorial to the late Danny On. The plant community is a welcome site to any visitor, as it would have been to Danny On. The forest communities present in the Research Natural Area are in an old-growth condition; dominant species include western larch (Larix occidentalis), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), grand fir (Abies grandis), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii). Over 150 acres of aquatic features and wetlands are included in the RNA. These range from a reach of the Swan River to ponds and marshes. An unusual raised peatland is present in the RNA and supports an assemblage of interesting and rare plant species.

What we will find is anyone’s guess!

Difficulty: Easy/moderate Driving time: 35 minutes

Lost Creek Fen– Two trips. Saturday- Chantelle Delay, Sunday-Maria Mantas

Spend the day wandering around Lost Creek Fens and checking out all the wetland plants they have to offer. We will head to the northern end of Swan Valley, just south of Swan Lake. Lost Creek Fens contains two different fens separated by forest. A number of rare plant species are present in the fens including Epipactis gigantea, Carex livida, C.paupercula, Cypripedium parviflorum, C. passerinum, Liparis loeselii, and Eriophorum viridicarinatum. The hike in will be through forest (off-trail) and very soggy. Rubber boots are highly recommended. Bring lunch and bug protection. If time permits, we will visit Porcupine Fen, which is also a bushwhack through forest to get to the fen, though only a quarter mile.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles total Driving: 30 mins

Loon Lake/Aquatic Botany – John Pierce

We will explore the lake right at camp by canoe (available at camp), and possibly, for those brave souls, by snorkel. John will introduce us to aquatic plants and give a brief introduction to wetland mapping and classification.

Difficulty: Easy Driving time: 0!! Length: ?

Napa Point – Terry Divoky

The Napa Point Trail offers day hiking opportunities for those wishing to visit the high country of the Swan Range without having to climb all the way from the valley floor.

From the trailhead at 6,420’ you will climb 500 feet on a high ridge with descent exposure and high alpine fields offering stunning views of Swan Peak at various points along the way. Time, flowers and interest permitting we can continue to the junction with Gorge Creek Trail #218 and the Alpine Trail #7 which would be approximately 3.3 mile ones way.

The switchback filled road leading to the trailhead is steep and rough but does provide access to the high country in just three miles.

Difficulty: Strenuous Driving time: 45-60 minutes


Point Pleasant Fen – Drake Barton

We will drive south 20 miles or so on Highway 83 to the fen. This fen has several orchid species and a few that are on the Montana Natural Heritage Program species of concern list. The hike is flat with some obstacles to get over or around. The fen is generally wet with up to ankle-deep water in spots, so rubber boots or wet feet are the choices. There are several other fens in the area to explore with other orchids or additional species of concern.

Difficulty: Easy Driving time: 20 minutes


Six Mile Peak Trail – Shannon Kimball

Explore plants of the Swan Valley’s upland sites as we hike toward Six Mile Peak. This trail winds through moist montane and subalpine forests near the valley floor, then moves through shrubland, and krummholz communities at higher elevation. We’ll examine cushion plants of the alpine zone if snow has receded and time allows, and may make it to the peak, depending on our travel speed. Views from there are 360° and include the Swan and Flathead Valleys, Glacier National Park, and the Great Bear and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas. Please wear layers and be prepared for a relatively strenuous hike. Shannon Kimball will lead.

Difficulty: Strenuous Driving: 20 miles/35 mins Walking: 4.6 miles

Shannon is co-author, with Peter Lesica, of Wildflowers of Glacier National Park, and Trees and Flowering Shrubs of Glacier National Park, as well as the Glacier Wildflowers app.


Trees – the Swan Valley is known for its wonderful diversity of trees.” – Greg Morley

Soup Creek Sustainable Forestry -Learn how the harvest of forest products can enhance the forest. See how history is told in the growth rings. Talk to foresters who did much of the logging and milling. See the works of other animals. Explore the many flowers, plants and a fen as well.

Malcolm is a founder of RBM Lumber. For more about RBM’s principles, go to: for their principles, an interview with Malcolm’s son, Ben, and more. “A forest is a garden shared by all life on earth”. With Malcolm Thompson.

Difficulty: Easy Driving time: 20 minutes


Swan River Oxbow Preserve – Scott Mincemoyer or Jen Asebrook.

This Nature Conservancy preserve derives its name from a long, curving oxbow in which the Swan River used to flow. The variety of wetland communities create a haven for birds and harbor 5 rare plant populations and two rare lichens. We will walk through an old growth riparian spruce, birch, cottonwood forest along the Sally Tollefson memorial trail to the oxbow and the springs which form Spring Creek. There may be portions of the trail under water at this time of the year. We will have a current trail condition report at the time of the meeting.

There will be 2 separate trips to the preserve, one will be focused on keying plants in the field with Scott Mincemoyer. This trip will be slow moving with frequent stops to key plants. Bring a handlens and your favorite flora. The other walk will be with Jen Asebrook, who will take hikers along the trail all the way to the overlook platform on the oxbow.

Difficulty: Easy. Length: 2-3miles. Driving Time 20 minutes


Wolf Creek, Swan Front - Wayne Phillips

This hike will take you through lowland forests in the Swan Range, to open slopes and ridges on the Swan Front in the Wolf Creek drainage. The trail starts on a private land in a mixed coniferous/birch forest, then connects to the USFS trail in Wolf Creek, where you will traverse open shrubfields with great views of the valley and Swan Range. The group can hike all the way to the Swan divide if willing and able. The hike is a minimum 6 miles round trip (likely more) and portions are strenuous. What to bring: good knees, strong lungs, and solid hiking boots (trail is rocky in places).

Difficulty: Strenuous Driving time: 20 minutes


Sunday, June 28 Trips

Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery – Joyce Lapp

We will tour the nursery and provide a brief overview of the native plant restoration program in the park, from conception to current work and research. Joyce Lapp established Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery in 1987. From then until her retirement in 2012, Joyce’s work brought the nursery and the Park’s restoration program to the forefront in the field. Indigenous plant material is used to maintain genetic integrity. Native soils and plants are salvaged and stored for re-planting whenever possible. Seeds and cuttings are collected annually and propagated in the park's native plant nursery for replanting. Completed projects are monitored to evaluate the effectiveness of revegetation efforts. In addition to road reconstruction, other projects include repair of a wide range of vegetation and soil impacts in campgrounds, scenic vistas, and developed areas in Glacier National Park. Time: 1-2 hrs.

Difficulty: Easy Driving Time: 70 minutes


Two Medicine Lake -Leave Camp at 9 am. Meet Dave Shea at the East Glacier Ranger Station. 110 miles. Roughly 2 ½ hour drive. Park for carpooling behind the Ranger Station. Carpool from the Ranger Station to the Two Medicine Valley in Glacier National Park. Bring Senior, GNP, or Federal passes if you have them.

We will take an easy 2 mile walk along the south shore of Two Medicine Lake to Paradise Point and to the moose pond meadows beyond. Wildflowers and wildlife are profuse in the meadows and we will also discuss some history, geology, and Native American stories. Plan for a couple hours, but there are lots of further places to explore in this spectacular valley if you have more time. There is a Park Service Campground at the foot of Two Medicine Lake.

Bring rain gear, hiking shoes, binoculars, cameras, field guides, water and lunch.

Dave Shea earned his M.S. in Resource Conservation and his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana. He has explored Glacier National Park during his thirty-five years as a supervisory backcountry ranger and biologist. In addition to working for the Park Service, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a wildlife biologist and botanist. Dave has published several works including Bald Eagle Concentrations in Glacier National Park, Animal Tracks of Glacier, and Glacier’s Bird and Mammal Checklists.” He knows lots about plants, and everything else!

Difficulty: Easy Driving time: approx. 2 ½ hours

Lost Creek and Porcupine Fen – Maria Mantas will lead a second trip for those that couldn’t go on Saturday. See above for description.

Point Pleasant – Anne Morley will lead another trip here, including the Whitney Sprunger Nature Trail. See above for description.



Annual Meeting Photos

Click on the Caption at the bottom of the following pictures to go to a Picasa Album of photos from past annual meetings shared by generous annual meeting participants. Please enjoy the pictures and respect the talents and work of the photographers - i.e. please don't steal their work.

2014 Annual Meeting



2013 Annual Meeting

2013 Annual Meeting

  The Clark Fork Chapter posted pictures of the 2012 Annual Meeting on their Facebook Page.


2011 Annual Meeting

2011 Annual Meeting


2010 Annual Meeting

 2010 Annual Meeting

2009 Annual Meeting

2009 Annual Meeting



2008 Annual Meeting

2008 Annual Meeting



" preserve, conserve, and study Montana's native plants and plant communities."

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" preserve, conserve, and study Montana's native plants and plant communities."

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