Dramatic limestone cliffs of Trombetta Canyon proposed for new Preserve

 

Sheer-faced limestone cliffs of the proposed Trombetta Canyon preserve support rare plants. Photo: DNR
Sheer-faced limestone cliffs of the proposed Trombetta Canyon preserve support rare plants. Photo: DNR

Public hearing September 22 in Northport

The striking geological feature that is Trombetta Canyon consists of a dry, cliff-sided canyon incised in a raised limestone formation, with no apparent source of flowing water to have formed it. These limestone cliffs provide habitat for two rare plants and other limestone-dependent species. The canyon’s location and topography protect habitat for a variety of other organisms, particularly those that may have adapted to limestone soils. Isolation of this site offers an uncommon opportunity for study of ecological processes without human-caused effects.

Trombetta Canyon lies just 2 miles southeast of Northport in Stevens County. The proposed Trombetta Canyon Natural Area Preserve (NAP) includes 1,060 acres—270 acres of the canyon formation and 790 acres of the limestone and dolomite formation. Currently, 760 acres are (DNR-managed) Common School trust lands, and privately owned lands comprise 300 acres.

In March 26, 2008, the Natural Heritage Advisory Council recommended acquisition of Trombetta, and proposed a preliminary site boundary.

DNR’s Natural Areas Program will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, September 22, 201, at the Northport Public Schools lunch room, at 408 10th Street in Northport. At the hearing, DNR will present an overview and the proposed boundary for the Trombetta Canyon Natural Area Preserve (NAP), then and will take public comments on the proposal.

Written comments on the proposed preserve boundary will be accepted until September 30, 2011. Send comments to Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Forest Resources & Conservation Division, ATTN: Trombetta Canyon Boundary, PO Box 47016, Olympia, WA 98504-7016; or comments may be emailed to frcd@dnr.wa.gov, with the subject line “Trombetta Canyon Boundary Comment.”

A summary of comments will be given to the Commissioner of Public Lands prior to his decision as to whether to establish the natural area preserve. If the commissioner approves the proposal, over time, and as funding is available, DNR will acquire the lands inside the boundary —through trust land transfer or from willing private sellers.

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