Reportback from Straw Devil Hike Sunday April 25th 2004
We went to Unit 2 first, 4 acres of which were logged last year, leaving slash piles and devastation along the ridge. There was an abundance of Incense Cedar - Old Growth at the top, immature western red cedar, hemlock and incense cedar saplings toward the lower reaches, as we descended the steep incline, often 60-70 degree grade into Unit 2, that drains into Salt Creek. Unit 1, where 6 acres has been cut at the top, contained huge old growth Stumps, one that had over 300 rings, indicating it was over 300 years old when it was felled last year. Old Growth Douglas Fir abounds out here as well.
There were Hemlocks on the edge that have blown down and more look like they are likely to go in a strong windstorm. Cumulative Impacts of Unit 1 and Unit 19 of East Devil will obviously fragment this Old Growth Ecosystem, habitat for Old Growth-dependent species of wildlife flora and fauna.
We are told that this area meets the 4 definitions of Old Growth, that Incense Cedar trees are being used to make pencils and shingles... Some of the defining features of Old Growth Forests: Multi-storied canopy, fallen large logs on the ground & in streams, standing dead snages, so many per acre...
There was a noticeable temperature difference on this intensely hot day between the areas that are untouched and those that have been logged. The cool breezes wafted from the untouched areas, with a slight moist smell. The heat waves in the open dried out slash-filled stands were nearly unbearable and sent me for the cover of the remaining forested oases...
We then went on to Unit 7, where inviting open and very straight Virgin Doug Fir stands were. This was a flat place, that seemed a bit moister than the top of Unit 2, and drier than the bottom wetter portions of Unit 2. Trillium was in bloom, Ginger was sighted, Huckleberry, Tall Oregon Grape and Salal abound here.
In Unit 6, there is high canopy closure, some very dense parts, and the flora includes hemlock and other shrubby trees along with ferns and other water loving plants in the wetter areas & seeps.
If these sales were the only ones happening in this area, it might not seem as egregious to compromise the integrity of the multi-level canopy ecosystems. But with Pryor and East Devil logging also in this same general area, it is clear that there should be cumulative impact considerations before continuing to degrade this connectivity corridor, fragmenting old growth habitat, and disregarding the findings of red tree vole nests in this area, a rodent that provides food for western spotted owl.