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WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on local landscape and natural history of Pend Oreille County, Washington. A partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department has allowed us to expand this program through EPA funding to include more classes, a newsletter and this website.

Nunataks of the Pend Oreille

by Carol Mack

Winter in Pend Oreille County seems long now, but 15,000 years ago it was endless. Continental ice sheets covered most of Canada, and a glacial lobe extended down the Pend Oreille Valley. All was ice, as far south as the present town of Newport and west to the Sacheen Lake area. In the north part of the county, the ice was a mile thick--heavy enough to tilt the crust of the earth northward and reverse the flow of a river. Only the highest of the Selkirk peaks extended above the endless ice. Termed nunataks by geologists, these mountains stood sentinel over that long winter and witnessed the slow spring as ice retreated. Today these nunataks are our landmarks--remote and ancient spectators above the river.

Some Pend Oreille nunataks:



Round Top Mt.



Crowell Ridge

Orwig Hump


Salmo Mt

Gypsy Ridge

Thunder Mt.

Timber Mt

Shedroof Peak

Helmer Mt.

Indian Mt.

Kalispel Peak-Pettit Lake

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