AUDIO FILE: May Bark Hike To Bearknoll Timber Sale
The May monthly Bark Field Trip was to the Bear Knoll timber sale, where 16 people hiked in an almost continuous rain in order to compare Forest Service documents and maps to what they found on the ground in that location. This is called Groundtruthing.|
The hike was led by Gradey Proctor, a volunteer hike leader who has led a few hikes to various timber sales in this area. He led off the hike with an explanation of what Bark is and what it does. In the audio file, Gradey defines bark as "the monitors of Mt. Hood National Forest. So basically what that means is that anytime a timber sale is proposed, we send out volunteers that go out and check over the areas, gather facts and see what we feel is going on one the ground. And then we'll take that information and accrue it." This information is posted to their Bark Website, where it is available for anyone who is interested in learning about any of the 50 or so timber sales currently in some stage of the timber sale process in the Mt. Hood National Forest.|
Gradey then spoke a little about the Bearknoll timber sale itself. This timber sale had already been submitted in a much larger form a short while ago, but due to citizen opposition, was pulled and subsequently reissued, removing a large part of the proposed area to be logged. The areas which were removed were those areas scheduled as either regeneration (clear cut) or shelterwood cuts. Shelterwood cuts generally leave very few trees standing, and so quite often the increased sun and wind take a heavy toll on these few remaining trees.
This sale is one of three in the immediate area. Both Hilynx and Juncrock are close by, all three sales being planned in an area which has already been extensively logged.
At one of the first stops, a hiker commented that Bark is doing the work much of the survey and monitoring work that the Forest Service should be doing. Gradey response was that, due to budget cuts, Bark sometimes spends "more time in these timber sales than they have the resources to do." Continuing, Gradey cites an example of someone, a botanist, who worked in the Hood River Ranger District, one of the four districts which comprise the larger Mt. Hood National Forest. This person, at one time had a team of three. Now he is just himself, and he does two districts out of the four. "They are losing scientists; the administrators are going strong, but all the -ologists.....?"
Later at another stop, the discussion turned to the Barred Owl, which is competing with and displacing the Northern Spotted Owl from their native habitat. It is successful at this because its natural habit is to live on the edge between two ecosystems. The problem is exacerbated by logging. "By thinning this, you create an edge, between old growth and plantation, and so often that's where the barred owl will infiltrate. Also, roads create a whole series of edges, along which this owl can out-compete the spotted owl for food and habitat.
Also during this stop, about 10 minutes in to the audio file, Gradey defined a term he had been using during the first part of the hike: Late Successional Reserves. As it turns out, these "Reserves," though sometimes uncut native forests, can often be areas which had been clear cut in the past and are far from recovering from the devastating effects of past Forest Service management practices.
This, as always with the monthly Bark Field Trips, was an education, in many, many way. Certainly, we learned about this particular Forest Service Timber Sale, and timber Sales in general. But, we also leaned a little about tree identification; about the diversity, interaction, and rhythms of flora and fauna; and too, how delicate is the thread and web of life that creates and sustains our water, our oxygen and the living fertility of the Earth.
Also, these hikes provide the opportunity for people from diverse life styles and experiences to converse and discuss issues which have far reaching implications for themselves, for other people, and for the planet itself. On these hikes there are those who are experienced Bark hikers, but there are many others who are out with Bark for the first time. Often new people, far from being "inexperienced," bring fresh perspective and creativity to the hike, with experiences often arising from their own path in life. This is perhaps the most important part of the hike, the interaction of personalities, impressions and experience which make us all so different, yet so Human. We learn from the Hike Leader, but I've yet to see a hike where the education wasn't a two way path, where those who attended didn't bring some piece of their life, knowledge or experience which fit in to the rhythm of the daily lessons. All life is interaction; as harmony and melody, as sound and silence, as you and me.
Bearknoll Bark Hike, RealPlayer
Bearknoll Bark Hike, MP3
These monthly hikes provide the content for the monthly Community Television program, "Bark For Mt. Hood," which is originally produced and cable cast through the facilities of Multnomah Community Television,.
and then submitted and scheduled to air through the facilities of Portland Community Media.
Currently scheduled to air at PCM are two programs: the March program, which features the February Bark Field Trip to the Mill Creek Timber Sale; and the April program featuring the March Field Trip to the Butte Creek Sale, offered by the Bureau of Land Management.
The program for May was to the Polallie-Cooper Sale This sale has recently been cancelled by the Forest Service, due in large part to the the activities of Bark and numerous citizens who groundtruthed the sale and provided comments.
This audio file, is taken from the May Field Trip, which will provide the content for the June program.
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article