Monday, June 06, 2011

5 Reasons to Visit Flat Ranch This Summer

The Nature Conservancy's Flat Ranch Preserve is located right off Highway 20 near Macks Inn, just 15 minutes west of West Yellowstone. It makes a perfect day trip from eastern Idaho, or a great stop en route to Yellowstone.

Admission is free, and our staff and volunteers love to meet visitors who stop by. Still need convincing? Here are five reasons to stop by Flat Ranch Preserve this summer:
The birds. The meadows of Flat Ranch offer perfect habitat for nesting birds, including sandhill cranes and long-billed curlews (pictured above). The whistling wings of snipe can often be heard in the evening, and ospreys and bald eagles hunt along the streambanks. Bring your binoculars and explore on your own, or join one of our birding groups later in the summer.

The blooms. Flat Ranch is carpeted with spectacular wildflowers in the summer, with mule-s ear, camas, sego lily and many others stretching out across the flat. It's a stunning sight. Bring your camera.

The fish. The Henry's Lake Outlet holds native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and the Conservancy is working with partners to improve conditions for these fish. Fly fishing is permitted on the preserve. While fishing is highly dependent on water levels, it can be excellent early in the year. You may even catch one like this one that was captured during an electro-shocking survey on the preserve last year.

The kids. Throughout the summer, Flat Ranch hosts educational programs every Wednesday and most Saturdays. (A full schedule will be posted on this blog soon). Most of these programs are perfect for kids, offering the chance to meet hawks and Karelian bear dogs, look through telescopes or identify water bugs. The spotting scope is always set up for close-up views of pronghorns and cranes, and the preserve is a perfect place to wander around and explore.

The conservation. The Conservancy is working at Flat Ranch to demonstrate how a cattle ranch and wildlife habitat can coexist. Our restoration program is improving stream conditions for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife. And around the area, we're working with ranchers to protect their lands, benefiting the rural economy and Yellowstone's migrating wildlife. Stop by and see how your membership in The Nature Conservancy is making a difference in the Henry's Lake area, creating a hopeful future for people and nature.

We hope to see you at Flat Ranch this summer!

No comments: