Look for wildflowers, visit Dutch Henry Falls, listen for bats, and more. View All
The Nature Conservancy’s largest preserves in Washington are on the spectacular Columbia Plateau. Here we are protecting and restoring the fabled sagebrush country of wide-open skies, dramatic geology and amazing desert species.
With its Ice Age floodcarved, steep-walled coulees, its pothole lakes, dunes, haystack boulders, waterfalls and scablands—this area is home to a rich and fragile mosaic of rare living things. Between the shrubs and grasses grow a profusion of wildflowers, including sulfur lupine and the vibrant bitterroot, long a favorite food harvested by native peoples. Totaling more than 30,000 acres, The Nature Conservancy’s Moses Coulee/Beezley Hills Preserve is an especially rich and diverse example of Washington’s shrub-steppe.
Nearly a third of Washington’s entire land mass was historically comprised of the shrub-steppe. Today, more than two-thirds of our shrub-steppe has been lost to agriculture or urban development. The Conservancy is taking the following actions to ensure the long-term conservation of this habitat and its resident species:
Bird populations are rising at McCartney Creek Preserve in eastern Washington.
Moses Coulee and the Beezley Hills offer visitors great opportunities to explore year-round.
View wildflowers on the Monument Hill Trail in Beezley Hills in April and May. Quick eyes might spot a short-horned lizard along the trail. Download directions.
Listen and look for bats at Dutch Henry Falls during summer evenings. Pacifiic treefrogs, Great Basin spadefoots, coyotes, great horned owls, poorwills, and canyon wrens are just a few of the other animals to listen for. Daytime visits may have western rattlesnake, gopher snake, and common garter snake sightings. Download directions.
Go birding at McCartney Creek Meadow. A photo monitoring trail open for drive-through access April through August. Lucky visitors might spot a badger or mule deer here as well. Because of locked gates, this can only be accessed by foot in months outside of spring and summer. Download directions.
Winter visits to any preserve, when the ground is covered in snow, provides a nice display of animal tracks we often miss in the drier months.
Visitors, help us keep this beautiful region safe. Please never take or move anything (plant or animal) from the preserve.
Please be gentle! Shrub-steppe may look tough, but its fragile soil crust is easily damaged, so be sure to stay on trails when you visit the area.