Photo of the Week - April 29, 2012

Beetle tracks on sand dune
Juniper Dunes Wilderness Area
Near Pasco, WA

April 29, 2012
Juniper Dunes Wilderness is located NE of the Pasco, WA. It is the only Wilderness area in Washington State managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The 7,000 acre wilderness area preserves the northernmost stands of western juniper.

On the surface, Juniper Dunes seems like a desolate area of sand, scrub and sagebrush. Looking closer, it is teeming with all manner of life, from insects and reptiles to birds, porcupines, deer and gophers. On our visit, we noted a wide variety of tracks in the sand. Among the most common tracks were beetles. The beetles we saw ranged from .25 inch to over 1.5 inches.

During April and May, Juniper Dunes is in bloom with a variety of desert adapted wildflowers.

If you choose to go, be sure to check out the BLM website. Juniper Dunes is surrounded by private farmland and access is limited.

darkling beetle
 Douglas' Brodiaea
Triteleia grandiflora

The brodiaea, a member of the lily family, has a cluster of pale blue tubular flowers at the top of a long, slender stalk. These perennials bloom April – June, depending on location.

Click here to see an aerial view of Juniper Dunes Wilderness from the University of Montana's site.