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Beth Burkhart, GPNPS Field Trip Coordinator, lists these field trips for Society members and guests.

To receive notification of further details (departure time & place, etc.) you must sign up by contacting us at 605-673-3159 or GPNPS Fieldtrips, PO Box 321, Hermosa, SD 57744 USA. Only those on the list will receive the detail mailing, so sign up if there is any slight chance you will be interested in attending.

Jun 09-11   •   Great Plains and Wyoming Native Plant Societies' Weekend of Extraordinary Black Hills Hikes and Destinations
Visit Wyoming Native Plant Society website ( for additional details and to register.
Check in Friday afternoon at the Crook County Courthouse Community Room (309 Cleveland St, Sundance, WY)


Meet 6:30pm at Crook County Courthouse to drive 25 miles east of Sundance to Bear Gulch for full moon hike led by Rylan Sprague, Northern Hills District Botanist. The length of the walk is about 1 mile with frequent stops to observe the many occurrences of culturally significant plants. Hike will last about 1 hour.

Half day hike - 1.5 mile hike on Joyner Ridge Trail hike led by Rene Ohms, Devils Tower NM Chief of Resource Management, or staff. Meet at the trailhead at 9am (an entrance fee of $15 or pass is required to enter Devils Tower NM). The trail traverses beautiful ponderosa pine forests and meadows of wildflowers, with excellent opportunities to view Devils Tower.

Full day hike - An easy to moderate hike (with potential for a more rigorous section) in Englewood Springs Botanical Area, site of the most orchid species on Black Hills National Forest. Rylan Sprague, Northern Hills District Botanist, will lead the hike and discuss the diversity of plant life that led to the area's designation as a Botanical Area.

Full day hike - Black Hills Montane Grasslands (an endemic plant community) with Botrychiums (moonworts) in the forecast! This driving tour with limited walking will be led by Nick Drozda, Bearlodge District Botanist.

6 pm - Informal banquet (catered by Christine Galloway of Four Seasons Catering) - at Devils Tower NM covered picnic shelter. Menu: pulled beef sandwiches (with vegetarian and vegan options), baked potato bar, Waldorf salad, chocolate cake, and a cookie tray for hikes the next day. Cost is $20/person.

8 pm - Dinner will be followed by an evening program at Devils Tower NM amphitheater. Speaker is Dave Ode, author of Dakota Flora and long-time SD State Botanist. You do not need to have dinner with us to enjoy the program!

7 am - Early morning WyNPS business meeting at Crook County Courthouse. Coffee and some food provided.

Full day hike - Visit McIntosh Fen Botanical Area with Kelly Warnke, Mystic District Botanist, to see a unique wetland resulting from unusual hydrologic/geologic conditions. Meet at Crook County Courthouse at 8 am or at the trailhead (approx. 2 miles west of Deerfield Lake) at 9:30am. McIntosh Fen is home to the only population of sageleaf willow (Salix candida) in South Dakota and one of a few populations of autumn willow (Salix serissima). Forest Service restoration projects have attempted to repair years of hydrologic alterations that occurred when the land was in private ownership.

Full day hike - Hike in Dugout Gulch Botanical Area with Beth Burkhart, retired federal lands botanist, Great Plains NPS, and past Wyoming NPS president. Meet at Crook County Courthouse at 9 am or at the Dugout Gulch Botanical Area trailhead (6 miles south of Beulah, WY exit off I-90 on FS Road 863) at 9:30 am. The hike will involve a gradual uphill walk on a wide, established trail for 2.3 miles. Along the way, we will search for numerous disjunct boreal species such as enchanter's nightshade and foxtail sedge in oak/ironwood, paper birch/hazelnut and riparian plant communities. Participants can turn around and head back at any time that meets their schedules. For those wanting a longer hike, we have the option of adding on a 4.4 mile loop on less-developed trail with moderate grades through ponderosa pine communities. The full 9-mile hike would be completed about 3 pm.

Two group campsites have been reserved at Devils Tower NM. More information will be posted with the registration form at
Forest Service campgrounds are also available and there are motels in Sundance.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159
Jun 17   •   Open House at the Log Cabin Visitor Center of the GPBG
Open House at the Log Cabin Visitor Center at the Great Plains Botanic Garden. 9:00 a.m 4:00 p.m. Come whenever you like and stay as long as you like. Short walks through the display gardens which are under development now at the Visitor Center. Longer walks through the open grounds. Gift shop will be open.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart & Cindy Reed
  • Beth at 605-673-3159 or Cindy at 605-745-3397
Jul 08   •   Beaver Creek in Wind Cave National Park - including Sanson Ranch
Meet trip co-leaders Timm Richardson (Wind Cave NP Botanist) and Beth Burkhart (GPNPS) at 8 am at the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center and drive about 2 miles to start hiking from the Centennial Trailhead on Hwy 87. We will hike down Beaver Creek drainage about 7 miles, finishing at the Sanson homestead. Arrangements will be made for vehicle transport of hikers from the endpoint back to their cars. Note: The Sanson addition is not open at this time to unescorted public.

Hiking will be gradual downhill on single-track trail from the start to the boundary of the old park/Sanson addition. From there, hiking will be gradual downhill on old 2-track trails to the Sanson homestead. We will explore and discuss vegetation in the ecotone where prairie meets forest in the southern Black Hills. And consider the miracle and mystery of surface water interacting with the fascinating limestone-based geology of the area!

Bring plenty of water, lunch and snacks. Dress in layers so you are prepared for the full range of possible summer weather including heat and thunderstorms. Wear comfortable boots for hiking. Bring sunscreen and sunhat. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE BACKCOUNTRY OF WIND CAVE NP.

Camping is available in Wind Cave NP at Elk Mountain Campground for $18/night. Occupancy is on a first come-first served basis. Amenities include toilets and water. See for more information.
  • RSVP by Jul 06
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159
Aug 21   •   Grassland Botany under the Full Solar Eclipse
Our August 21 field-trip is on a Monday.
We will view the 2017 Full Solar Eclipse a little before noon in a remote privately owned grassland area. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the plains botany and experience a full solar eclipse in a wonderfully remote viewing location.
Viewing any solar eclipse requires special dark glasses or can cost you your vision. You must bring special solar eclipse viewing glasses, available online, not expensive. Or you can use welding goggles: #12 or #14.
You can easily find plenty of information regarding the eclipse. Just search "solar eclipse 2017" at your local library or on-line.
Allow at least 3 hrs driving time from Rapid City, SD or Cheyenne, WY.
Bring water, food, sun protection, rain gear, folding chairs, plant books, bird books, camera, and your friends.
RSVP early for complete planning info. We will mail you a detailed map & other info beginning approximately 5 weeks prior.
  • RSVP by Aug 15
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
May 19   •   Spring plants at Limestone Butte, Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Visit Limestone Butte east of Oelrichs, South Dakota to find Barr's milkvetch (_Astragalus barrii_) in bloom as well as other spring gems of the mixed grass prairie. Claude Barr first spotted this milkvetch which was previously unknown to science. It is considered a regional endemic plant species since it is only known from four states in North America (SD, ND, NE and MT).

We will enjoy an easy hike on gentle terrain in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland.

Meet at 10 am at the Maverick Junction gas station (about 5 miles south of Hot Springs) and car caravan to Limestone Butte from there. Or meet us at 11am at Limestone Butte if you know how to get there! We expect to return to Maverick Junction about 3 pm.

Bring water, sun protection (hat, sunblock, etc.), lunch, good walking shoes, and dress in layers appropriate for variable spring weather.

Sorry, no dogs on any of our field trips.

RSVP by May 17 to Beth Burkhart at
  • RSVP by May 17
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159
Jun 09   •   Open House at the Log Cabin Visitor Center of the Great Plains Garden
Saturday, June 9 from 9 am to 4 pm. Come whenever you like and stay as long as you like!
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397

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