Foster and Lion Lake – Trinity Alps Wilderness

Original Publication DATE: 1/19/2014

Part two of whitebark pine negative reports in the Trinity Alps Wilderness

As mentioned in my last post, part of last summer’s whitebark pine conservation assessment and mapping project involved predicting location where the species might occur but was not yet documented. While I found success with some predictions, others turned into negative reports with “ground-truthing.” One negative report was in the Trinity Alps Wilderness around Stonewall Pass, another was in the Foster and Lion lakes region where I based my prediction on the significant landmass above 7,500′.

Foxtail pine on granite, high above Coffee Creek in a summer thunderstorm.

The geology of the Foster-Lion lake region is built from a majority of granitic rock with some intermixing of mafic and ultramafic rocks. Most of the peaks and ridgelines around these lakes are themselves granite, but these granites are an “island” in a sea of ancient serpentines. I did not find whitebark pine here and have since asked “why?” Maybe nutcrackers never brought seed caches here. Maybe the trees were once here but have since been out-competed by western white pine, foxtail pine, mountain hemlock and Shasta fir as the climate has slowly changed. Maybe there are still a few whitebark pine and I just did not find them. These are just a few of my predictions. Visit and explore the phytogeographic mysteries found around every corner of Conifer Country.

Lassen-Adventures 421
Camp was found at an unnamed lake–where granite met serpentine–foxtail pines mingled with mountain hemlocks.