Quick! Sign up Weds. for Rattlesnake Mt. wildflower tours

April 9, 2013 

— The sign up for wildflower tours on the normally closed Rattlesnake Mountain starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday on the internet at www.hanfordtours.net.

Expect seats to be gone within seconds. The last time Fish and Wildlife offered tours on Rattlesnake Mountain, all seats were claimed in five seconds.

The sign up Wednesday is for morning and afternoon bus tours May 1 and May 4 for a total of 80 people.

Participants can register for two seats at a time, and Fish and Wildlife requests that children be at least 12 years old.

The three-hour, guided tours will include time spent at the base of the mountain to see the shrub-steppe wildflowers there.

If weather permits — including not too much wind — participants also will be able to explore the plants at the top of the mountain.

Rattlesnake Mountain, the highest point in the Mid-Columbia at 3,600 feet, is on land that was made part of the security perimeter around the Hanford nuclear reservation during World War II.

That’s protected it, including its archaeological, biological and cultural treasures.

Even after the security perimeter around Hanford was named a national monument, the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, which includes Rattlesnake Mountain, remained closed to the public to protect its plants, wildlife and cultural resources and allow research.

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