Butter Creek RNA
Butter Creek Research Natural Area (RNA) was established to represent an entire mosaic of subalpine communities including closed forest, parkland, shrubfields, and meadows. The topography is generally very steep with rock outcrop and talus communities. Four ponds lie within the RNA as well as several miles of perennial stream. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis), and noble fir (Abies procera) are the dominant tree species. Mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) also gain dominance at higher elevations. Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and western yew (Taxus brevifolia) are also present. Vine maple (Acer circinatum), Alaska huckleberry (Vaccinium alaskaense), and ovalleaf huckleberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium) are dominant shrubs at low and mid elevations while leaf (Menziesia ferruginea) and azalea (Rhododendron albifolium) are dominant shrubs at high elevations. Vanilla leaf (Achlys triphylla), bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis), western coolwort (Tiarwlla unifoliata), and Queens's cup (Clintonia uniflora) are common herbs. Green fescue (Festuca viridula), broadleaved lupine (Lupinus latifolius), and Cascade aster (Eucephalus ledophyllus) dominate the subalpine meadows. Heather (Calluna) and snowbed communities are also present in these meadows.