Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, Yakima, WA

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Protecting our shrub-steppe and
connecting people to this vanishing landscape

News & Events

Community Walks - January through June 2017

Community Walks are offered monthly and are open to all ages. Walkers should wear sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes and come prepared for any weather. Walks typically last 1.5 - 2 hours. Feel free to bring binoculars and cameras. Call (509) 248-5065 with questions or email

Tracks in the Snow (or Mud)
Saturday, January 21, 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch

The winter landscape creates a perfect opportunity to look for animal tracks. Have you ever come across tracks in the wild and wondered what animal left them there - was it a deer, a coyote, a beaver? Join CCC Volunteers for a guided walk around Snow Mountain Ranch in search of animal tracks. Meet in the parking lot.  Family Friendly.

Meditation Walk
Saturday, February 25, 10 am at Cowiche Canyon - Weikel

Nature gives us many opportunities to connect with ourselves and the world around us. Join CCC on a guided walk through Cowiche Canyon. Guide leaders will help you walk with awareness and experience Cowiche Canyon from a new perspective. No prior meditation experience necessary.

First Peek at Spring Flowers
Saturday, March 25, 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch

The shrub steppe wildflower season at Snow Mountain Ranch lasts for several months with new flowers emerging weekly. We usually get our first peek beginning in March as the soil warms. Join CCC Trail Guides for a hike up the Wildflower Trail in search of the first flowers of spring. Early spring wildflowers in bloom might include gold stars, grass widows, violets, early lomatiums, and shooting star. Free and open to all. Wear clothing for variable weather and sturdy walking shoes. Meet in the parking lot at 10 am. 

Birds of Snow Mountain Ranch
Saturday, April 1, 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch

Join YVC Biology Professor Jerred Seveyka for a walk around Snow Mountain Ranch to learn about the birds that call CCC lands home. The varied habitat in this healthy ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds. Birders of all levels are encouraged to join. Bring binoculars. Trail may be muddy or covered in snow. Wear sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes. Come prepared for changing weather. Meet in the parking lot.  Family Friendly.

Earth Day
Saturday, April 22, 10 am at Cowiche Canyon - Weikel

The annual Earth Day Walk will take place between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM at the Weikel Road trailhead. There will be talks and presentations stationed along the Cowiche Canyon trail. Native plants and spring flowers will be labeled along the trail. CCC Volunteers will be on hand to help guide participants to the stations. Walkers should wear sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes and be prepared for any weather. Families with children are encouraged to attend this fun FREE event!

Butterfly Walk
Saturday, May 20, 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch

Each Spring, newly hatched Coronis Frittilary caterpillars (larvae) feed on the sagebrush violets until late Spring when they will form chrysalids and undergo the magic of metamorphosis into butterflies. Join CCC volunteers as we look for the emerging butterflies. Butterfly experts will be on hand. If you are interested in getting involved with our citizen science butterfly research, this is a good opportunity to learn more about butterfly tagging and tracking. Meet in the parking lot. Come prepared for variable weather.

Intro to Insects
Saturday, June 10, 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch

Did you know there are between six and ten million different species of insects? Learn about some of the common insects we find at Snow Mountain Ranch, their role in the ecosystem, how they make a living, and also how to identify what you see. Meet in the parking lot. Come prepared for variable weather.


Winter Lecture Series 2017

Each Winter, CCC partners with Yakima Valley College (YVC) to offer a series of lectures focused around topics related to the shrub steppe habitat of our lands. Lectures are held at 7 pm in Glenn Anthon Hall on the YVC Campus, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, January 10 - 7:00 pm at YVC, Kendall Hall Auditorium
Central Washington is Disneyland for Geologists by Nick Zentner

Nick Zentner has been teaching geology at Central Washington University for 25 years.  In this talk, he will highlight the amazing variety of geologic stories that are behind the familiar landmarks of Central Washington - Ice Age Floods, Giant Lavas, Petrified Forests, Earthquake Faults, etc.



Tuesday, February 21 - 7:00 pm at YVC, Glenn Anthon Hall Rm 215
Wild Trees on a Regulated River: Black Cottonwoods in the Yakima Valley by Tom Elliott

Tom Elliott, Yakama Nation riparian ecologist, will present information on the life history, reproduction, and habitat functions of Black Cottonwoods on the Yakima River. It will draw on local research regarding the reproduction and population balance between male and female cottonwoods, and will examine the effect of human caused changes in river flow on the cottonwood population. 



Tuesday, March 14 - 7:00 pm at YVC, Glenn Anthon Hall
In the Flow: Stream Restoration Efforts along Cowiche Creek by Dr. Natalie Martinkus

In this talk, Dr. Martinkus will discuss the causes and effects of stream instability along portions of Cowiche Creek, and the process of restoring these reaches back to their natural state.  Past and present restoration efforts in Cowiche Creek will be highlighted throughout the discussion.

March Lecture


Cowiche Canyon Rocks - Garden Party and Auction
Sunday, April 30 at the Yakima Area Arboretum
2 - 5 pm, $65/person.
Includes food, drink, and live music by The Common Deer.
Auctioneer Laura Michalek


Read more about the work of Cowiche Canyon Conservancy:

Winter 2017

Summer 2016

Winter 2016


Annual Reports





Another 200 acres protected at Snow Mountain Ranch!


2,900 Acres protected!

Thanks to the legacy of open space created by the rangeland grazing history of the Tieton Cattle Association and the Corrado and Rightmire families, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy (CCC) the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) were able to add 2,900
acres of habitat to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Working together in a new way, WDFW and its non-profit partners secured shrub-steppe mitigation funds from the Kennewick Irrigation District and the Department of Ecology to protect this landscape for future generations. WDFW will manage the lands as part of the
Oak Creek Wildlife Area, while CCC will retain the grazing rights to ensure that the sustainable working land values of the community are honored. RMEF, CCC, WDFW, Kennewick Irrigation District, and the
Department of Ecology provided the funding for this project.

What this means for us is that we will manage an historic grazing operation for the next five years until the current operator retires after 45 years of "light on the land" family grazing. CCC received a permanent "grazing easement" over the entire 2,900 acres, which is now owned by the state. CCC, RMEF and WDFW will work together to maintain habitat for fish and wildlife, provide back country recreation, and explore options for future sustainable grazing opportunities.


Planning on Using our Sites for an Event?

Download the Licensing Agreement for Site Use


Regularly Scheduled Events:

CCC Board Meetings: second Mondays of the month, 12:00 pm, Yakima Herald Republic Conference Room

Stewardship Committee Meetings: third Tuesday of the month, 12:00 pm, CCC office

Trails Committee Meetings: third Wednesday of the month, 12:00 pm, CCC office








Photograph by David Hagen

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy
P.O. Box 877
Yakima, Washington 98907
Tel. (509) 248-5065
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