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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Art Kruckeberg, botanist, on Joe and Margaret Miller's habitat restoration at Cascade Pass

Art Kruckeberg
Joe and Margaret Miller, in so many ways
gave full devotion to glorifying and fostering
the preservation of the wild world of
our region’s native flora. Self-taught was
their expert knowledge of our plant world.
When Ross Dam was threatened to be
raised, to flood pristine old-growth cedar in
Big Beaver Valley, they mounted a floristic
survey of the drainage. Their meticulous
inventory of the area destined to be flooded
was a key and decisive contribution to stop
that travesty. Their masterful account of
the Valley’s biota has become a paradigm of
gathering evidence in the wild to preserve a
great piece of nature.
The Millers also pioneered a new kind of
preservation in the montane West. Cascade
Pass was being loved to death, its flora being
trampled to near extinction. The Millers
convinced the Park Service that restoration
of the Pass area could be done by propagating
starts of local native species for reintroduction
to the disturbed sites. They established
a plant nursery near Newhalem and
packed the propagules back to the Pass for
planting. This successful venture now has
been repeated all over the montane West.
The Millers started habitat restoration. 
Joe and Margaret were early active members
of the Washington Native Plant Society
(WNPS). Joe was president early on. The
Millers also initiated an annual plant sale
for WNPS members at their Bellevue home.
This pioneering effort continues, now at the
Bellevue Botanic Garden, an institution also
fostered by the Millers.
Although Joe is no longer with us, we
thank him, as well as Margaret, for their
deep devotion to wilderness, their works its
living evidence.
Art Kruckeberg
in The Wild Cascades, Spring 2007 (read the full issue at

Join us this Saturday morning at Cascade Pass for the annual "plant carry" with Margaret Miller!

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