Winter thinning

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Thinned Douglas-fir stand, approx 70 years old

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No need for big landings when shovel logging

The unseasonably dry winter weather we had in January and February, coupled with great log prices, gave us the opportunity to do some work in the woods earlier than expected this year. Here are a few pictures from a recent thinning project in the foothills of the coast range.

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A few neat finds

Although our job requires us to spend a lot of time looking up at the crowns of trees, we do occasionally have to look down at the ground to see where we are stepping! Sometimes we get lucky and find neat things while doing so. Here are few recent finds:

A neat  lizard... almost stepped on the little guy!

A neat lizard… almost stepped on the little guy!

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Check out this near-perfect raccoon skull!

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2012 project highlights

This gallery contains 16 photos.

2012 was a very busy year for us at Trout Mountain, and with our gorgeous late-September and early-October weather, we were able to carry out projects longer into the fall season than in many of the past years. Here’s a … Continue reading

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2012 Summer Field Review

A couple of times a year we try to get out to one of the properties we manage to share trials and errors, exchange information and learn from each other.  This summer, we visited parcels of the vanEck properties in Lincoln County, which Matt has been managing for the past 10 years.

One of the most exciting moments was watching the cut to length processor.  To watch a video of this amazing piece of machinery at work, click  this link http://youtu.be/w4dRERWA64E.  We’re hoping to invite you all out to see a cut to length processor in action near Portland this fall.

Here are some more pictures from our day in the field:

Scott and Mark check out the chip -n- saw logs.

The slippery bark slides right off the Doug-fir during spring sap flow.

Easy to see why they call it "red" alder.

Checking out the early growth on Doug-fir now affected by Swiss Needle Cast.

Thinning for healthier growth:

Before

After

And some pretty serious bear damage...

The Trout Mountain Foresters - from left to right they are: Matt, Scott, Barry, Mark, and Mike.

We hope you’re enjoying the summer as much as we are!

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Smith Hill Oak woodland restoration/fir harvest

The chips are flying at this year’s harvest on the Smith Hill property near Corvallis, where we’re conducting an oak woodland release in some areas and a variable retention fir harvest in others. The cutting is mostly being done with a medium-sized mechanical harvester, which can safely wrestle the fir out of the oak crowns without damaging them. Larger fir trees are cut by chainsaw, with a gentle push sometimes given by the harvester to put the tree in the right direction… much easier than pounding wedges!

Here are some pictures from the first day of cutting. I also posted a few videos, which can be found here at our new YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/TroutMtnForestry

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The annual PCT pilgrimage to Trout Mountain

This year marks the first ever trip to Trout Mountain (near Eddyville, OR) with every member of Trout Mountain Forestry in attendance! In addition to a fun hike to the summit of the mountain, the entire crew fired up their saws and helped Scott pre-commercially thin a large alder stand. This was also Marla’s first time running a chainsaw and as you can see from the pictures below, she’s a natural!

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2 Responses to The annual PCT pilgrimage to Trout Mountain

  1. Marla says:

    Super fun field day. I was telling Scott he should have a “man camp” up there. Beautiful spot…

  2. Brad Marks says:

    Stumbled on your site. Always good to see what are clients are doing. First time running a saw? On Alder? That’s a tricky break in job. Get any “barber chair” action to get your heart pumping? Site looks good, say hi to the guys. Brad.

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What’s a yoder?

In this winter’s cable thinning harvest at the Corvallis Forest, B&G Logging of Philomath used a Yoder as the log yarding tool of choice. Yoder = Yarder + Loader. Its a track-mounted log loader with cable yarding spools and pulleys added. It’s wide tracks don’t require time-consuming guy-wire rigging to keep it steady. B&G’s owner Levi Beelart says its the perfect tool for short corridors with smaller logs, allowing careful thinning on steep terrain at a economical cost.

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Spring has arrived!

Indian plum near Gaston, OR

By the time spring weather arrives, the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) or the Snohomish GroundFrog are a foggy memory. To know when spring has truly arrived here in the forests of northwestern Oregon, I look to Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) for its signal. Indian plum is an early bird of the plant world, as it often begins to leaf out and flower long before other shrubs (they’re still hitting the snooze button). As I’ve been out in the woods the past few weeks, I’ve seen  Indian plum leafing-out as well as snowberry, so it’s official!

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Annual retreat!

This month we had our 6th annual Trout Mountain Forestry retreat at the beautiful Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. It’s a great opportunity for us to withdraw from the hustle and bustle for a few days and reflect on the past year, make goals for the year to come, and to refine our skills, standards and policies. We get a lot of work done while we’re up there, but we also make sure to reserve some time for play as well. This year the snow wasn’t the best we’d experienced, but it was still lots of fun to get out on the slopes together and enjoy the amazing views. The highlight this year was our spontaneous post-dinner team building exercise – a 6 person ping pong game with two paddles and constant rotation of players around the table… needless to say, there was a lot of running…and laughter!  We’re back from the retreat refreshed and inspired and geared up for a busy spring and summer.

Trout Mountaineers at Timberline Lodge, Feb 2012 (From left: Barry, Scott, Mark, Marla, Mike, Matt)

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“Sustainable” vs. “Conservation-based” Forestry

What does sustainable forestry mean today? The term has been used for centuries and its meaning has continually evolved. Much of its history is rooted in the concept of ‘sustained-yield’ and the long-term prospects of a reliable timber supply. It is often still used in that context, but the past several decades have seen a much greater emphasis on sustaining the environment and communities as well. The recent marketing buzz around sustainability in (all sorts of industries) muddles the picture. It’s hard to know when it’s meaningful and when it’s “green-washing.”

I admit I often say we practice sustainable forestry, but I prefer the term ‘conservation-based’ forestry. To me, it better captures our ethic and what we do on the ground. Nowadays, it seems more meaningful to identify with conservation, than with sustainability. Our forestry practices are carried out in the spirit of the conservation movement, which seeks not only a sustained yield of natural resources, but also the preservation of soil, water, wildlife, fisheries, and biodiversity. For example, this means we’re growing older, mixed-species forests, identifying trees for wildlife habitat, creating snags, leaving downed woody debris, controlling invasive species, and restoring rare oak habitats.

What are your thoughts?  Which concept means more to you?

 

 

Mixed Douglas-fir/Grand fir stand near Hagg Lake thinned by Barry and Mike in the Spring of 2011

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Welcome to the Trout Mountain blog!

Greetings friends and colleagues! Welcome to Trout Mountain Forestry’s blog.  We will update the blog at least monthly to share stories and pictures about our projects or to start or continue conversations about forestry and maybe other things that interest us…

Please feel free to comment on any of our posts and start a conversation, we’d love to hear your feedback and ideas.

Stay tuned for our next post! We’ll be contemplating the meaning of sustainable forestry in modern-day society and hopefully sparking an interesting discussion.

Beautiful late fall day at Camp Arrowhead, WA.

 

 

 

 

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