2018 Annual Symposium Excursions Pre-symposium Excursions

Reservations for the two pre-symposium excursions will be through the same website as Registration.  Costs are in US dollars and include transport, accommodation, lunches, and guides.  The capacity of each of the excursions will be around 38. Photos of some of the landscapes, vegetation types, and species that you will see during the excursions are available on the Photo Gallery and links to websites, books, and phone apps on the vegetation and flora are on the Flora and Vegetation Resources page.


Pre-symposium Excursion A: Continental Divide and Glacier National Park

July 17-21, 2018 (4 nights)  Cost $695
SOLD OUT and wait-list is currently full and closed. For information, please contact Toni Lee at toni.lee@montana.edu


Pre-symposium excursion A heads west of Bozeman to the western side of the Continental Divide.  Due to differences in species pools resulting from differences in Pleistocene refugia and the much more maritime, less continental climate, the vegetation west of the Continental Divide is more diverse and more productive.  Many interesting species and vegetation types occur only west of the Divide.


We will spend the first day exploring the beautiful Swan Valley, with the Swan Mountains and the extensive Bob Marshall Wilderness to the east and the Mission Mountains to the west.  The Swan Valley features the majestic and charismatic Pinus monticola and Larix occidentalis among the diverse, low elevation vegetation.  We will end the day in Whitefish, Montana, a popular tourist destination.


The second day we will spend exploring Glacier National Park.  Because of the mesic climate and the dramatic relief of the Livingston and Lewis Mountain Ranges running north-south through the Park, dramatic variability in vegetation, ranging from foothill grasslands and woodlands through dense forests to alpine vegetation at the peaks, can be observed.  Glacier National Park features many of the iconic species of the northern Rockies, including Thuja plicata and Tsuga heterophylla forests, and the well-known Xerophyllum tenax, Vaccinium globulare, and Rubus parviflorus hillsides.  The vegetation of Glacier National Park can be explored in detail at: https://science.nature.nps.gov/im/inventory/veg/project.cfm?ReferenceCode=1047714


After another night in Whitefish, we will continue west along the Kootenay River through the Flathead, Kootenai and Kaniksu National Forests to Sandpoint, Idaho, exploring the mesic low elevation forests of western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle.  Northern Idaho, under the leadership of Rexford Daubenmire, was the cradle of the now extensive system of classification of Potential Natural Vegetation (PNV) employed widely in the Rocky Mountains.


After Sandpoint, we will head south and east along the Clark Fork River to Missoula, Montana, home to the University of Montana.  Along the way we'll visit both more xeric grassland vegetation and wetlands on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  Finally, we'll turn our sights for Bozeman, and travel back through the valley bottoms and grasslands of western Montana to see the iconic Pseudoroegneria spicata/Festuca campestris grasslands.


Pre-symposium Excursion B: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

July 17-21, 2018 (4 nights)  Cost $935
SOLD OUT. To be placed on the wait-list, please contact Toni Lee at toni.lee@montana.edu

Pre-symposium excursion B will travel south from Bozeman to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  The first stop will be in the Gallatin Valley at Big Sky, Montana, where we'll take the tram up Lone Mountain in the Madison Mountains to visit the alpine vegetation at the summit.  The tram reaches greater than 3400 m elevation with expansive views of the Madison valley to the west and across the Gallatin Valley to the peaks of the Gallatin Range to the east.  We'll spend the evening at the Big Sky Resort high in the Madison Mountains. 

The next day we will enter Yellowstone National Park through the West Yellowstone portal and travel south through the western side of Yellowstone to Jackson, Wyoming.  West Yellowstone is where the Madison River exits Yellowstone National Park to the west, and we'll enter the Park on the Central Plateau, composed of a massive Quaternary rhyolite flow.  The rhyolite flow produces relatively level terrain with coarse textured, relatively infertile soils.  The Central Plateau is primarily composed of Pinus contorta forests resulting from episodic fires with Abies lasiocarpa/Picea englemannii forests dominating unburned locations in the matrix.  The understory is typically shrubby, with Vaccinium scoparium the dominant species.  Areas with deposits of loess feature finer-textured, more fertile soils, and often support forb dominated understories of Thalictrum occidentale and Linnaea borealis. Drier sites are more open woodlands often dominated by Carex geyeri or Carex rossii.  On the drive south through the Park we'll visit sites with thermally altered soils, featuring grasslands dominated by Puccinellia nuttalliana, Panicum occidentale, and Danthonia spicata among other unusual species.  Slightly cooler sites are typically forb dominated, with Heterotheca villosa, Rumex acetosella, and Chamerion angustifolium.  We'll spend the next evening in Jackson, Wyoming.

From Jackson we'll explore Grand Teton National Park.  Due to the significantly different geology and dramatic relief, the vegetation of Grand Teton is distinct from Yellowstone National Park, exhibiting dramatic gradients and variable geomorphology.  We'll visit Artemisia tridentata-dominated stream terraces with Pseudoroegneria spicata and Festuca idahoensis, unique Picea pungens/Populus angustifolia riparian woodlands, and the woodlands and forests of the Teton Range.  The vegetation of Grand Teton National Park can be studied at: https://science.nature.nps.gov/im/inventory/veg/project.cfm?ReferenceCode=1047715

After another night in Jackson, we'll return to Yellowstone National Park for a day of exploration of the Park.  We'll spend the night at the iconic Yellowstone National Park Lake Lodge.  Finally, the following day we'll travel past Mount Washburn and exit northward down the Paradise Valley of Montana through Livingston, Montana on our way back to Bozeman by Saturday evening.

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