Exploring Mt. Spokane, the Jewel of Eastern Washington Alejandra Calzadillas, Hannah Rolli, Lilia Vasyukhnevich, & Shasta Wright Introduction On May 24th, 2014, our group researched Quartz Mountain at Mt. Spokane State Park and went on a research hiking trip. Our goal was to search for rock outcrops as well as research the vegetation, area wildlife, the history of the park and the available recreation activities around the park. Area History • Mt. Spokane State Park began as a small privately owned parcel of land in northeast Spokane County. Before being called Mt. Spokane, the mountain was called Mount Carlton or Mount Baldy (Arksey, 2006) . Mount Spokane during the summertime. • After officially becoming a state park, the mountain was developed into a major recreational area for Eastern Washington, providing great facilities for winter and summer activities. • Millennia of erosion and weathering have worn it to its present height and rounded form. The mountain rises 5,883 feet, although it was once higher than its previous level. State Park Sign at Mount Spokane. Location GPS coordinates to the parking lot at Quartz Mountain: 47°.90452, -117°.10233 Take the Argonne exit from U.S. I-90 and continue north to Mount Spokane Park Drive, continuing three miles past the park entrance. Turn right and park in the parking lot 0.1 miles in. Map of route to Quartz Mtn. from Spokane Valley Mount Spokane Geology • The rocks that compose Mt. Spokane are Cretaceous aged, two-mica (biotite and muscovite), granites. (Weissenborn & Weis 1976) • These granites have intruded a Precambrian banded gneiss that is composed of quartz, feldspar, biotite, and muscovite. (Weissenborn &Weis 1976) Mt. Spokane Granite with muscovite flakes Correlation of Map Units Description of Map Units Geologic Map of the Mt. Spokane Quadrangle (Weissenborn & Weis 1976) Site Geology • Site 2 is a granitic outcrop interspersed with plagioclase feldspar and quartz, +/- biotite at the foot of Mt. Spokane Drive Figure 3: Granitic Outcrop • This outcrop has prevalent muscovite flakes ranging in size from 1cm to 4 inches wide Figure 4: Plagioclase feldspar with predominant muscovite flakes Site 3 • Site three is also a granitic outcrop about ½ mile south of site 2 on Mt. Spokane drive that features granite with muscovite, plagioclase feldspar and quartz, +/- biotite. • This granite shows evidence of foliation which indicates metamorphism Figure 5: Foliated Granite • Garnets found in some of the rocks also indicate metamorphism Figure 6: Garnet embedded within pegmatite Site 4 • Site four is the same granite as the first two outcrops about two miles south of site 3 • This outcrop has no foliation but exhibited much more weathering than the first two outcrops Figure 6: No foliation in this granite!! Wildlife There is a diverse variety of animals that live at Mt. Spokane State Park and the surrounding area, including several species on the Federal Concern or Endangered list. • Carnivorous animals – • Ungulates – • Pika, Pygmy shrew, bats Birds – • Rocky Mountain elk, White-tailed deer, moose Small mammals – • Gray wolf, Canadian lynx, wolverine, martin Northern goshawk, Boreal owl, woodpeckers Butterflies – Common tortoiseshell butterfly (Pacific Biodiversity Institute) Photo of moose at Mt. Spokane, courtesy of Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park Vegetation On the hike at Quartz Mountain we came across the Round-leaved violet (Viola orbiculata) which features small yellow blooms as well as lupine and ferns. Mt. Spokane has approximately 192 species throughout the park including many different flowers, trees, grasses, and ground bushes. (Vascular Plant List, WNPS, 2006) Violet orbiculata on Trail 100 at Quartz Mountain Recreation The website describes numerous hiking and biking trails, and 100 miles of horse trails. Other activities include bird watching, and wildlife viewing Trail leading up to Quartz Mountain Lookout. In the winter snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding are just a few activities one can take part in. (WA State Parks website). Hannah snowboarding at Mt. Spokane during the winter. Recreation- Quartz Mountain One excellent way to survey the beauty that surrounds Mt. Spokane is to stay at Quartz Mountain Lookout. This structure was used up until 1994 to watch forest fires (Mount Spokane Gallery website). Over the summer you can rent out the tower and spend the night there to build campfires or watch the stars above the city lights. Quartz Mountain Lookout looks over the northern Idaho Panhandle and Spokane. What We Learned During this project we learned that one of Spokane’s most beautiful landmarks has much information to offer about the Spokane area. Geologically we learned that Mt. Spokane is composed of an igneous granitic intrusion on a Precambrian banded metamorphic gneiss. This intrusion shows us evidence of foliation and garnets in some areas while others have no foliation at all. Mt. Spokane has several recreational activities for people to enjoy, whether it is hiking or biking the numerous trails in the summer to activities in the winter such as snowboarding and skiing. We encourage everyone to enjoy this wonderful landscape and to please remember to be cautious because even though there is a paved road leading up to the summit, it is still the wilderness. References Arksey, Laura, August 02, 2006, “Mount Spokane State Park” (HistoryLink.org, 2006) Web. Accessed June 12, 2014. Ground Speak Website. Mount Spokane Picture. <http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/display/9d4fbd34-f430-421d-8c3007bf039c3660.JPG> Mount Spokane Gallery Website. The Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout. <http://mountspokane.org/gallery/Lookout2004.htm> Pacific Biodiversity Institute. Recreation and Trail Impacts on Wildlife Species of Interest in Mount Spokane State Park. 2009. 9 June 2014. <http://www.pacificbio.org/publications/vegetation/state_parks/wa_east/Mt_Spokane_Trails_PBI_report.pdf> Trip Advisor Website. Picture of Mount Spokane. <http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripadvisor.com%2FAttraction_Review-g58759-d146287Reviews-Mount_Spokane-Spokane_Washington.html&h=0&w=0&tbnid=g2o7PxfK6luZM&zoom=1&tbnh=194&tbnw=259&docid=sB4d88t23zO4qM&tbm=isch&client=firefox-a&ei=MRaU5HtE5XYoATPvIE4&ved=0CAIQsCUoAA> Washington Native Plant Society. Vascular Plant List. 2006. 8 June 2014. <http://www.wnps.org/plant_lists/counties/spokane/documents/Mt.Spokane.pdf> Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Geology of Washington: Okanogan Highlands. 2014. 7 June 2014 < http://www.dnr.wa.gov/researchscience/topics/geologyofwashington/pages/okanogan.aspx>. Washington State Park Website. Mount Spokane State Park. http://www.parks.wa.gov/549/Mount-Spokane Weissenborn, A.E. and Weis, P.L., 1976, Geologic Map of the Mount Spokane Quadrangle, Spokane County, Washington, Kootenai and Bonner Counties, Idaho, U.S. Geloogical Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map GQ-1336, Scale 1:62,500.