The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is adding more land to its Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve in the foothills west of Wenatchee. 

The acreage is one of 10 land acquisitions made by DNR across the state this year for the purpose of conservation. 

DNR Communications Manager Courtney James says the Dry Gulch area is home to an endangered plant, known as Whited's milkvetch. 

"We're really proud of it in that it's one of the largest known populations of milkvetch in the state," said James. "Almost all of the milkvetch that we know of is situated in that natural area preserve. So, that's part of what that program is about and what we're working with there." 

The Upper Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve is not far from downtown Wenatchee and is readily accessible with close by hiking trails. 

James says they're planning to add signage that'll give hikers in the Preserve an appreciation of their surroundings.  

“I think that’s really been a beneficial thing that DNR often provides is that interpretive signage, so folks really know what they’re looking at, what they’re enjoying while they’re out there in nature,” James said. “So, that’s really crucial. And that’s something in our natural preserves that we really like to focus on, is educating the public and letting them know how this work in important, and what we’re protecting for the next generation.”  

DNR acquired 86 acres to add to the existing 320 acres of the Upper Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve, which will enlarge the preserve to an area larger than half the size of Central Park in New York City.  

The site sits in arid foothills and mountains dominated by a native shrub and bunchgrass (shrub-steppe) ecosystem which is recovering from past land uses.  

The drainage that flows through the site carries water seasonally and is subject to torrential flows during the springtime.  

A songbird known as the loggerhead shrike is highly dependent on shrub-steppe habitat and is known to frequent the area. 

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