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Pine, Wine and High Desert

Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center - Yakima, WA



Keeping with 2018’s theme of high desert conifers, our third big event will take place in the high and dry climate of eastern Washington. The contrast with the green and wet of western Washington and Oregon is quite amazing. Early October brings with it the bracing chill of early frosty mornings; the resplendent, pungent aroma of the wine crush; and warm, sunny afternoons. Welcome to Yakima Washington where over the course of 2 days, we’ll combine 3 of the Western Region’s favorite activities.

Points of contact

Host hotel (click on the hotel name for more information)

Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center
607 E. Yakima Avenue
Yakima WA 98901


We’ve reserved a block of rooms and the reservation code is American Conifer Society. Our group rate is $102 per night for the nights of Thursday, October 4th through Saturday, October 6th (breakfast included). The hotel will honor that rate for up to 3 days before and after for those either arriving early, staying later or both. This block will expire as of September 4th, 2018, so reserve early to claim your room. To reserve online, please click this link.

Yakima has a small airport approximately 4.5 miles from our hotel to service those arriving from distant places. The Red Lion offers complimentary shuttle service.


Cost to take part in the fun is $200. Since we have to get final numbers to our food and transportation vendors, we cannot accept registrations after September 15th. This event is open to all ACS members world-wide.

Not an ACS member yet? You can join the ACS by clicking this link. It only takes a few moments.


we’ll be renting a 47-passenger luxury tour bus to transport our group to the various venues. This allows for us to safely and properly take part in our winery-hopping adventure Friday afternoon.


Thursday, October 4th

6pm — those arriving early are encouraged to join the group for a no-host meet and greet/ice breaker/strategy session over food and drink. Meet old friends and make new ones. Most likely, we’ll meet at Santiago’s on the Ave, a traditional, gourmet Mexican restaurant just a few blocks from our hotel.

Friday, October 5th

  • 7-8:00 am — breakfast buffet at the hotel (included with your lodging fee).
  • 8:00 am — load the bus. Our first destination is a coffee shop because nothing is better than a hot cup of java when walking the grounds of an arboretum on a frosty morning
  • 9-10:30 am — explore the Yakima Area Arboretum. Despite being small in size, it is well kept and is home to an excellent conifer collection.
  • 11:00-12:30 pm — lunch and garden/nursery tour at the home of Michael and Cheryl Davison. Their garden is home to a large collection of witch’s broom cultivars and other oddities that the Davisons have collected in the Washington Cascades, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and local neighborhoods. They also propagate what they find. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
  • 12:20 – 4:30 pm — winery hopping in the Yakima hills south of the city. There should be sufficient opportunity to visit 2 to 3 wineries, highlighted by the nationally renowned Owen Roe Winery.
  • 5:00 pm — we arrive at Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Ice House, the venue of our banquet. Silent auction opens.
  • 6:30 pm — dinner is served (family-style from the patio barbecue).
  • 7:30 pm — silent auction concludes.
  • 7:30 pm — keynote presentation: War Stories with Larry Stanley.
  • 8:30pm — live auction
  • 9:30pm — conclusion of evening program. Load vans and return to the Red Lion (or walk; it’s not that far).
Mike and Cheryl Davison’s cozy garden grounds.


Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Wave’ the original broom found by the Davisons within blocks of their home in Yakima, Washington.



Saturday, August 6th

  • breakfast at your leisure at the hotel
  • 9am — load the bus and depart for the mountains. This morning’s road trip is to the top of Chinook Pass natural area, where wet meets dry along the Pacific Crest. Along the way we’ll see Pinus ponderosa and P. contorta var. latifolia, as well as Larix occidentalis which are shockingly bright gold in October. Along the trail we’ll see lots of Abies lasiocarpa and if you venture far enough, you’ll encounter Abies amabilis. Our selected trail should be easy enough for all fitness levels; and the grove of A. amabilis that we encounter is quite likely the easiest anywhere to approach as it’s normally a denizen of the remote high elevations.
  • mid afternoon — on the way down, we’ll enjoy a late lunch and a bit of hanging out at the historic Whistlin’ Jack Lodge, nestled up along the Naches River.
  • 5pm — back at the hotel and the end of the formal program.
  • Dinner on your own, but we’ll help facilitate groups.


The Pacific Crest trail from Chinook pass.


Spire-like Abies lasiocarpa seen along the trail.


An Abies amabilis specimen with interesting cloaked branching.

Special Opportunity

Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a limited release of our 2018 ACS Western Region Conifer of the Year. This year’s special plant is a true denizen of the high desert, namely Pinus monophylla ‘Blue Jazz’ with a special commemorative plant tag.

Pinus monophylla ‘Blue Jazz’ in a private nursery display garden in Ft. Collins, Colorado.Photo by Kirk Fieseler, LaPorte Avenue Nursery, inc.


  1. David Olszyk commented

    August 13th update: Hello all, just a friendly reminder that early-bird registration expires Wednesday, August 15th. Please get in on the reduced price while you can.

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