Mineral Ridge Scenic Area and Recreation Trail

Note: Quiz answers can be found in our downloadable trail guide.

Station 20: SnagsUprooted tree

1.) Standing dead trees are called snags. TRUE OR FALSE?

2.) Dead trees can provide habitat for numerous different wildlife species. List two habitat needs that snags can fulfill.

Station 21: Root System

By looking at the exposed roots of this fallen tree you can see how plant roots help to stabilize the soil and protect it from erosion.

1.) Besides holding the soil in place and protecting it from erosion, plants also add mineral nutrients to the soil through the process of decay and decomposition. Decomposition provides the primary natural source of soil nutrients. TRUE OR FALSE?

Soil erosion2.) The subsoil contains most of the organic matter found in the soil. Consequently it is coarse and has large pore spaces enabling it to absorb relatively large amounts of water. TRUE OR FALSE?

3.) Not only are plants considered beneficial to the soil, but soil provides necessities for plant growth. In general terms, list two of these vital characteristics.

4.) Notice that the larger trees around the ridgetop are ponderosa pines. Therefore, you can logically conclude that this fallen tree with the exposed roots was also ponderosa pine. Because the larger older trees here are pines, it is probably the climax tree species for this site. TRUE OR FALSE?

Station 22: Silver Tip Viewpoint

1.) At this location it is especially important to stay on the main trail to prevent
soil erosion because of the sparse vegetation, shallow soils and steep slopes. TRUE OR FALSE?

2.) Match the plant drawings below with the  correct names. 

3.) Remember, there are over 100 terrestrial plant species found on Mineral Ridge. Only six have been highlighted thus far. Here are descriptions of four additional plants. 

  • SYRINGA sometimes called mockorange, is the state flower of Idaho. It has showy, fragrant flowers with four white petals. Leaves are opposite and ovate with an acute tip. Edges may be smooth or can have sharp teeth pointing outward. Its bark is somewhat shreddy.
  • Oregon GrapeOREGON GRAPE is a low-growing shrub with shiny evergreen, compound
    leaves. Leaves are alternate. Leaflets have prickly and serrated edges. It grows on both open and shady hillsides. Older leaves may have red and yellow colorations. It provides forage for deer and elk.
  • SERVICEBERRY is a large-spreading shrub that prefers drier, open hillsides.
    It has small, serrate, elliptical, and alternate leaves. Bark on older branches is grey. The dark, purple berries are edible. It is an important browse plant for deer and elk.
  • BRACKEN FERN is common in moist, mountainous areas. Its large compound leaves are broadly triangular in outline and are usually solitary.

4.) Along the descent trail you will notice numerous dead, dying or unhealthy looking ponderosa pine trees. They have been attacked by bark beetles. Find an example of bark beetle damage. Look for holes bored into the bark. There may be balls or globs of pitch oozing from the holes. This is how the tree tries to expel the beetle. On dead trees, look for trails or etchings the insects have left on the debarked trunks.