Posts tagged: forests
PUBLIC LANDS — Two short documentaries about the grassroots effort to secure wilderness status for the Scotchman Peaks northeast of Lake Pend Oreille will be presented Thursday (April 25) at Gonzaga University.
The films and a presentation by the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness will begin at 7 p.m. at the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium.
“The Fight for Wilderness in Our Backyard” is one in a series of presentations for the Earth Week activities sponsored by GU students.
The local effort to designate a Scotchman Peaks Wilderness northeast of Lake Pend Oreille has been a classy act from the beginning — starting with the founding of the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness in 2005.
The effort is revealed in all its home-grown glory in the documentary, Grass Routes: Changing the Conversation.
A second film, “En Plein Air” chronicles the experiences of artists during a five-day trek through the Scotchma Peaks as they capture the natural beauty of the area through their artistic styles.
The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is a volunteer-driven group of more than 3,900 supporters from North Idaho and Western Montana working to protect the 88,000-acre Scotchman Peaks roadless area through wilderness designation. The area straddles the borders of Idaho and Montana as well as the boundaries between the Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai national forests.
PUBLIC LANDS — Mushrooms are pushing their way up through the warming spring soil in forests around the region, and pickers are heading out to greet them.
National forests generally allow people to pick mushrooms freely, but if you're harvesting more than a few gallons of fungi, you may need a commercial permit, depending on the forest.
In the Blue Mountains, the Umatilla National Forest requires a Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent to park a vehicle at many sites.
In adddition, commercial harvest permits are required for picking more than a gallon of mushrooms on the Oregon side of the Blues or more than five gallons on the Washington side.
The forest offers a 2013 mushroom guide with information on rules and tips on where to pick.
Read on for more details from the Umatilla.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Sinlahekin Wildlife Area manager Dale Swedberg doesn't just preach the gospel of rejuvenating wildlife habitat with controlled prescribed fires — he'll let you see for yourself.
A website with an eye-opening collection of photos compares historic photos of the Sinlanhekin Wildlife Area with photos of the same locations made in recent years.
While the northcentral Washington landscape near Loomis has been improved in some ways, the most glaring observation is the increase in tree cover due to fire supression in the past 90 years. Trees are good, but too many of them clogging the landscape eliminates the habitat diversity needed by wildlife.
Fire has been around as long as life because fire depends on living things to produce the fuels fire needs to exist. A person would think that there might be some important connections developed in such a long relationship. — Dale Swedberg
Resources for learning more about prescribed burns include:
PUBLIC LANDS — The local effort to designate a Scotchman Peaks Wilderness northeast of Lake Pend Oreille has been a classy act from the beginning — starting with the founding of the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness in 2005.
This week, the effort will be revealed in all its home-grown glory with the debut of the film documentary, Grass Routes: Changing the Conversation.
The 27-minute film will premier on Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint.
The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is a volunteer-driven group of more than 3,900 supporters from North Idaho and Western Montana working to protect the 88,000-acre Scotchman Peaks roadless area through wilderness designation. The area straddles the borders of Idaho and Montana as well as the boundaries between the Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai national forests
Grass Routes details how the group, knowning the values of wilderness for important assets such as wildlife and water quality, has reached out to address the concerns of everyone involved — including local, state and federal government agencies and politicians, mining companies, timber companies, recreational groups and local residents.
The premier will include a few words by local stakeholders and the filmmakers.
The film will be shown this spring at Gonzaga University, likely at the end of April.
WILDLIFE — Starting as early as Monday, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to ignite controlled burns on parts of two wildlife areas in northeast Washington to reduce wildfire risks and enhance wildlife habitat.
FORESTS – Longstanding proposals to protect rivers and forests in Oregon as wilderness areas have been reintroduced in Congress by Oregon’s two senators.
The bills would expand the Oregon Caves National Monument and Wild Rogue Wilderness in southwestern Oregon, create new wilderness along the John Day River in Central Oregon, and create the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness to protect old growth forest in the Coast Range on the Siuslaw National Forest. They also would elevate Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protections for the Chetco River in southwestern Oregon, and the Molalla River south of Portland.
Some of the areas were first proposed for wilderness 30 years ago.
Read on for more details on the current legislation as reported by the Associated Press.
OUTDO – The Washington Trails Association is recruiting volunteers for an ambitious lineup of trail-building and maintenance projects in far Eastern Washington this season.
Every year as the budgets for parks and forests dwindle, volunteers become more important, said Jane Baker, local WTA trail crew leader in Spokane.
The work parties range for day-jobs at the Rocks of Sharon to multi-day trips in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness that combine backpacking with trail clearing.
WTA is a third of the way to meeting the 2,000-hours of work at Liberty Lake County Park the group pledged in order to get a state grant. The first of several work parties planned at Liberty Lake is set for March 16, followed by work in April, May, June and July.
Other project areas include the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, Dishman Hills, Mount Spokane and Sullivan Lake.
Info: (206_ 625-1367.
Quote of the day:
“If trends continue, baseline tree mortality rates in western forests are projected to double every 17 to 29 years.”
From the report, “Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecoystems and Ecosystem Services,” released Tuesday that said climate change is already affecting the Intermountain West states. - Deseret News
PUBLIC LANDS — A pine beetle outbreak that has left many Western states with vast stands of dead and dying trees has eased for the second consecutive year, the U.S. Forest Service says.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that more trees are dying at higher elevations as beetles take advantage of warm winters to gain a new foothold.
And with trees on roughly 42 million acres killed by various beetles since 2000, it could take decades for some forests to fully recover.
FORESTS — Until a bridge is repaired, access to the Barnaby Buttes Trailhead and many prized huckleberry picking patches on the Colville National Forest will require a much longer drive for those used to accessing them off of South Fork Sherman Creek Road.
The South Fork of Sherman Creek Bridge on Barnaby Creek Road, Forest Service Road (FS RD) 2014000, has been closed because of damage sustained in the July 20 wind storm, officials reported today.
Read on for details.
PRIVATE TIMBERLANDS — Forest Capital Partners, which has a regional office in Colville, has sold its 1.88 million-acre timberland portfolio to Hancock Timber Resource Group and Molpus Woodlands Group.
FCP, with headquarters in Portland and Boston, paid $1.65 billion for the timberland in a 2005 deal with Boise-Cascade. The financial terms of what it sold for have not been disclosed.
“We will continue current practice for public access,” said Hancock spokesman Brian Carmichael responding to questions from The Spokesman-Review. “We have no plans for changes at Colville office.”
Hancock Timber is acquiring 573,000 acres in Oregon, 376,000 acres in Louisiana, 264,000 acres in Washington and 138,000 acres in Idaho.
Molpus is buying 286,000 acres in Minnesota, 110,000 acres in Louisiana and 138,000 acres in Idaho.
Dick Molpus is the president of Molpus Woodlands Group, which acquires, manages and sells timberland as an investment vehicle for pension funds, college endowments and wealthy individual investors.
He describes the timberlands as highly productive and ideally situated near timber markets with competitive pricing.
FORESTS — The U.S. Forest Service has announced its My Neighborhood Forest photo contest, celebrating America’s urban and community forests.
The contest, which runs through July 22, seeks to highlight the natural beauty that spring and summer bring to U.S. neighborhoods, communities and cities, as well as the crucial role of trees in the places we call home.
Visit Challenge.gov for more details on the prizes and contest rules.
FORESTS — The Washington Department of Natural Resources has discovered a new infestation of Douglas-fir tussock moths that occurred last summer in the Blue Mountains of Washington and Oregon.
Light defoliation caused by the moths was mapped across 9,000 acres of the Umatilla National Forest, with Washington accounting for 7,800 acres, according to a DNR press release and following report from the Associated Press.
Most of the defoliation occurred in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area, but it may spread and increase in severity this year, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.
Officials say another tussock moth outbreak that affected 1,600 acres in eastern Spokane County in 2011 will likely end this year.
In nearby northern Idaho, approximately 68,000 acres with tussock moth defoliation were recorded in 2011 and that outbreak may spread this year, the DNR said.
The defoliation can reduce growth, cause top-kill, and may make some trees vulnerable to attack by bark beetles. An outbreak typically kills up to 40 percent of the trees in an area.
The outbreak in the Blue Mountains primarily affects grand fir, subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, and some spruce.
Recreation can be affected in areas with tussock moth present because the hairs found on caterpillars, cocoons, and egg masses are a skin irritant to many people, the DNR said.
The last outbreak in the Blue Mountains occurred from 2000-2002.
Outbreaks typically collapse within two to four years due to a buildup of natural enemies, such as disease and parasites.
The Washington DNR said new damage becomes most noticeable in July and is often worst in the tops of trees.
NATIONAL PARKS — Mountain pine beetles that have taken a high toll on the forests of British Columbia are poised to inflict major damage to Jasper National Park and possibly Mount Robson National Park, researchers say.
Read the update from the Edmonton Journal.
URBAN FORESTS — The Friends of the High Drive Bluff are organizing a discussion on the proposed Fire Risk Reduction Plan for that popular South Hill recreation area on Thursday, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 5720 S. Perry St.
Anyone interested in the Bluff is welcome and encouraged to participate.
Last spring, community members identified fire risk reduction as a high priority for the Bluff and for neighboring homes. Attend this workshop to learn details of the plan, get answers to your questions, and learn how you can help with the project.
Contact: Diana Roberts, WSU Spokane County Extension, (509) 477-2167, email firstname.lastname@example.org
FISHING — A portion of the popular St. Regis Road (Forest Highway 50) with access to the St. Joe River will continue to be closed through Monday noon for culvert replacement in the Bear Springs and Float Creek Area.
That means anglers headed for the upper St. Joe will need to use an alternate route. Alternatives include:
Moon Pass Road out of Wallace, brings you down the North Fork to the St. Joe close to Avery.
Forest Road 339 over Float Saddle and down Quartz Creek to the upper Joe (recommended for high-clearance vehicles).
Info: St. Joe Ranger District (208) 245-2531.
NATURE — The whitebark pine is making news as a potential candidate for Endangered Species protections, and the domino impacts on species ranging from Clark's nutcrackers to grizzly bears.
The whitebark pine, a high-elevation tree, is on the decline in the West, brought down by drought, bugs and warmer temperatures, but scientists say the pines on Washington state's Mount Rainier could provide seeds for a healthier, surviving species.
Get the details in this story by Craig Welch of the Seattle Times.
FORESTS — While fire season seems virtually impossible in the Inland Northwest during this long, wet spring, the smoke that smudged into Central Washington over the holiday weekend was a reminder of what may be on its way.
More than 100 wildfires are burning in Canada, reports Sean Hopkins of the Washington State Department of Ecology:
Most of the smoke came from fires 150 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta. It’s amazing the smoke traveled more than 850 miles south to impact Central WA.
Air Quality is good now but it did get into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.
The town of Slave Lake, Alberta, was completely engulfed within an hour, destroying at least 40 percent of the town of 7,000. Amazingly no injuries or fatalities reported yet.
FORESTS — Two northeastern Washington firefighters recently were presented National Smokey Bear awards for their outstanding leadership in wildfire prevention efforts.
Their work fills a niche that preserves state and national forests as a place for the rest of us to work and play.
Ray Kresek, curator, author and retired firefighter, received a 2011 Silver Smokey Bear Award; and John Foster Fanning, a DNR fire control forester and fire prevention specialist, received a 2011 Bronze Smokey Bear Award.
Kresek, author of Fire Lookouts of the Northwest, lives in Spokane where he maintains a Fire Lookout Museum available to the public by appointment. Kresek also led the effort to preserve the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.
The National Smokey Bear awards are presented annually by the Ad Council, the National Association of State Foresters, and the U. S. Forest Service to individuals for sustained excellence in wildland fire prevention.
View more photos on DNR’s Flickr page.
NATIONAL FORESTS — Expect to see scattered pillars of smoke emerging from selected areas of the region's national forests in the next six weeks. It's the “prescribed fire season,” as forest managers and wildlife managers team to mimic Mother Nature's way of rejuvenating wildlife habitat.
Forest officials must carefully monitor weather to assure the fires are set when smoke will disperse and forests are still damp in spring to prevent fires from burning too hot or going out of control.
Read on for a list of planned controlled burns in the Colville National Forest.