Sawtooth Mountains, © Defenders of Wildlife

Volunteers Help Wildlife at Gold Creek Valley

Brian Bovard, Communications Coordinator

Volunteers planted to restore the area’s native vegetation (Photo: Jen Watkins, Conservation Northwest)

Some outstanding members of Defenders’ Wildlife Volunteer Corps were lucky enough to join with Conservation Northwest, the Forest Service and the general public as they finished up a long summer of habitat restoration adjacent to Gold Creek near Snoqualmie Pass in the state of Washington. This is a great, ongoing project as dedicated groups continue their work to restore wildlife corridors created by the Washington Department of Transportation, including the construction of two underpasses that will connect habitat for wildlife like elk, cougar, black bear and deer, and allow them to safely cross Interstate 90.

It was a chilly day, but that didn’t stop our enthusiastic group as they planted more than 1,000 native snowberry, strawberry and spirea (hardhack) plants to help restore the soil and habitat that had been disturbed by the dumped gravel from the initial construction of the interstate more than a decade ago. The gravel and invasive vegetation that now dominate the landscape make it very difficult for native vegetation to take root, so the pre-grown native plants that the volunteers planted will provide immediate benefits to the area’s wildlife in the form of food and shelter, as well as helping to restore soil productivity in the long run so that native seeds can grow more easily. The volunteers also helped remove some of the noxious infestation of invasive St. John’s Wort and Oxeye Daisy that have taken root over the last 15 years, which will give the newly-planted vegetation room to grow.

Volunteers hard at work (Photo: Jen Watkins, Conservation Northwest)

We here at Defenders would like to thank all the dedicated volunteers who came out to help the native wildlife in the area. This project will benefit bull trout, black bear, cougar, elk, deer, pika, river otter and numerous other wildlife species. This location is also within the North Cascades grizzly bear recovery zone, and a vital corridor to the long-term recovery of gray wolves and wolverines.

If you’ve got a project in your area that would benefit wildlife, and think that Defenders might be able to help out, please email us at