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Friday, February 19, 2010

Othello Sandhill Crane Festival now open for sign-up!

The Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is a great excuse for those of us on the wet side to get over to the dry side of the mountains for a little space and serentity in spring when the shrub-steppe is blooming and the SANDHILL CRANES are migrating through the Columbia basin! This year CraneFest happens March 26-28th, and sign-up just opened. Call them at 1-866-sand-hil and leave a message, they'll call you back the same evening. The crane and owl-viewing tours are limited and fill fast, so jump in now for the best chance getting in on one of these transcendent experiences in the channeled scablands.

Check-out a slideshow from previous years:

Some highlights of this year's festival include:

  • Estella Leopold, daughter of Aldo Leopold, will speak on the "Postglacial Biogeographic History of the Puget Sound Area."
  • Paul Bannick, photographer and author of The Owl and the Woodpecker will give the presentation at the Saturday evening banquet.
  • Bob Carson, professor of geology and environmental studies at Whitman College, will present on his book Where the Great River Bends: A Natural and Human History of the Columbia at Wallula.
  • Gary Ivey of the International Crane Foundation will give the whole story of the cranes of the pacific flyway.
  • Bob Gillespie of Wenatchee Valley College will talk on native plants.
  • Mike Denny of the Walla Walla Conservation District will talk on Wallula Gap's "Life on an Island Desert." It's Mike's 13th year at Othello CraneFest!
  • Bruce Bjornstad will lecture on the Ice Age Floods and Channeled Scablands and lead a tour through the Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark
Lots of other talks on topics as diverse as photography, botany and regional history run all day Saturday in the Othello High School. There's a half-day group bike ride, and a big childrens' area with lots of activities. Events will be listed on their website soon, but in the meantime the best bet is to call and leave a message, and when they call you back ask for tour dates/times, choose some and book those right away. They'll then mail you their program and you can arrange the rest. Get a jump on it!

It's the tours to prime crane- and owl-viewing locations that really make the event, of course, and they do fill-up fast as soon as they start selling tickets (as in... now!). So call them at
and book it! Also note that Othello area lodging is scarce so you'll want to get that booked right away too!

And consider taking some short hikes in the North Cascades if you're crossing the passes on the way to and from Othello! WTA has some great ideas for hikes along the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great slide show, and the Crane Festival is always wonderful.