Monday, April 15, 2019

Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm

Date of Visit: April 11, 2019  
Type of event: Study tour
Topic: Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm
Organization: Doneen Inc.
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon
Hosts: Anne and Richard Hanschu
International Fellows: Richard Banda (Malawi), Fen-hui Chen (Taiwan), Temitope Dauda (Nigeria), Zhongyuan Ding (China), Ana Kanoppa (Brazil), Will Maiden (United Kingdom), Romain Matile (France), Rodolfo Vieto (Costa Rica)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

The International Fellows' latest study tour was to Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm, owned and operated by second-generation owners Anne and Richard Hanschu. The tree farm was established in 1956 when Anne's father purchase 212 acres. When it became time for Anne and Richard to take over the property, they retired from their previous careers as a schoolteacher and veterinarian, respectively, and relocated from Oklahoma to Oregon. According to Richard, "forestry is the best way to retire." Not having had any formal training in forestry, the Hanschus completed Oregon State University's master woodland manager extension program, which the couple credits with providing practical meaning and application to information and ideas. The Hanschus now own a total of roughly 500 acres divided across three properties, which they actively manage for"economically-minded sustainable production." In addition, Anne and Richard host group tours on their property to share with others the forest management lessons they have learned during their tenure. During our visit, the Hanschus walked us through their operations, talked about what it’s like to be a family-run and operated tree farm, and showed us the work they’ve been doing on their property.

Anne and Richard Hanschu (center), owners and operators of Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm.
Or, as Richard likes to say, "Anne is the owner and I'm her only employee."

Richard Hanschu explains the logging practice known as
a "reverse Humboldt cut" to WFI Fellows
The harvest from Little Beaver Creek is both exported internationally to Japan and China and sold domestically as construction materials, utility poles, and pulp fiber. After a clearcutting operation is completed, the Hanschus bulldoze the remaining slash, scarify the soil to increase mineral accessibility, spray herbicide to control invasive plant species, and finally plant bareroot seedlings by hand. The seedlings are free to grow on their own for the first six years, and the first thinning might occur when the trees are 25 to 30 years old. Replanting is begun within 12 months of harvest, completed within 24 months of harvest, and at a density of approximately 400 seedlings per acre. In recent years, Anne and Richard have expanded to non-timber forest products, mainly in the form of essential oils marked under the Oregon Forest Canopy brand.

Anne and Richard Hanschu describe the age distribution
of the tree stands at Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm
The Hanschus manage their land using the following guidelines:
  • Multiple-aged stands
  • Small-patch clearcuts (6-10 acres)
  • Practice cable logging, land falling, weather logging, and shovel logging
  • FSC and American Tree Farm System-certified
  • Leave snags and heritage frees as wildlife habitat
  • No logging within 100'-wide riparian buffer zone
  • Reinvest in property improvements, including road maintenance/improvement for wildfire protection and year-round accessibility to tree stands

"If your roots are planted in the right place, you will prosper."
-Richard Hanschu

Monday, October 15, 2018

2019 World Forest Institute International Fellowship Program – Applications from July 1 to October 15, 2018

The award-winning WFI Fellowship program brings natural resource professionals from around the world to our World Forestry Center headquarters in Portland, Oregon USA. The Fellowship is a 6-month professional development program designed to help you take your career to the next level. You will join a global cohort of professionals in weekly study tours around the Pacific Northwest learning how natural resources are managed in this part of the world. You will conduct interviews with experts in your field of study and visit people and places that will advance your knowledge and skills. Fellows return home with new ideas and new motivation to create change in their home countries.

Sharing about the forests of your country
We are looking for motivated professionals who want to explore, expand their knowledge and networks, and engage with others in forestry. Fellowships are open to any country, including U.S. citizens. The Fellowship program offers partial scholarships through the Harry A. Merlo Foundation, but applicants must be able to cover at least 50% of the program fee ($5,000). Over two decades, 135 Fellows from 43 countries have participated to date. The Fellowship term is 6-months with a non-negotiable start date of April 1, 2019. Application deadline is Oct 15, 2018.

There are Two Scholarships for outstanding candidates this year!!

For more information and how to apply, please visit:
    Showcasing natural regeneration
    Visiting a drinking water watershed
    Hiking in US Parks
    Learning from the forest industry

      Friday, August 24, 2018

      West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

      Date of Visit: August 23, 2018
      Type of event: Study tour
      Topic: Habitat restoration and conservation on local public lands
      Location: Wilcox Estates Homeowner Association, Portland, Oregon; Oak Island and Sturgeon Lake, Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, Oregon
      Tour Guides: West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District staff- Jim Cathcart / District Manager, Michael Ahr / Forest Conservationist, Mary Logalbo / Urban Conservationist, Scott Gall/ Rural Conservationist, Michelle Delepine / Invasive Species Program Coordinator, Laura Taylor / Conservation Technician and Education Coordinator, Randi Razalenti / Office Manager, Ari Demarco / Seasonal Conservation Technician
      International Fellows: Jeen Bunnik (Netherlands), Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
      WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

      Map of WMSWCD project sites visited on study tour
      Staff from the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (WMSWCD) led the World Forest Institute (WFI) International Fellows on a day-long study tour to see habitat restoration and conservation in action at several project sites within the Portland Metro area.

      Forest and stream restoration project site
      at Wilcox Estates Homeowner Association
      The first project site we visited was the Wilcox Estates Homeowner Association (WEHOA) forest and stream restoration site in the West Hills of Portland. The project covers 7.2 acres of a forested ravine and is led by Margaret and Mike Schonhofen, John Long, Victoria Vining-Gillman, and Karen Suher. The work is actively supported by the WEHOA Board, an HOA comprised of 152 homes. The land being restored is an important drainage in the area and part of the larger headwater system draining to the Tualatin River. The native shrubs and trees that have been planted support wildlife, absorb and slow stormwater runoff, and provide natural filtration which enhances the local waterways. Restoration planning began in September 2012 and gained momentum with a $10,000 grant from WMSWCD for contractor services to eliminate invasive species and plant native shrubs and trees. in January 2013. Mary Logalbo, Urban Conservationist for WMSWCD developed the Conservation Plan for the project, and the grant was increased to $18,000 as the project expanded to include most of the bordering properties. WMSWCD annually monitors the site and provides maintenance recommendations.

      Oak savannah habitat at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
      Afterwards, WMSWCD staff took the WFI Fellows to Sauvie Island Wildlife Area (SIWA), a wildlife area established north of Portland at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in 1947 with the primary objectives of protecting and improving waterfowl habitat and providing a public hunting area. Over time the management challenges of SIWA have become more complex as ODFW balances traditional waterfowl habitat needs and waterfowl hunting with an increase in wintering geese populations, increased demands for public use, habitat needs for federal and state-listed species, and the need to integrate SIWA with the statewide Oregon Conservation Strategy (OCS). SIWA staff have identified four primary management foci:

      1) Providing habitat for ducks and other waterbirds,
      2) Providing habitat for wintering Canada geese,
      3) Helping achieve OCS objectives, and;
      4) Providing recreational opportunities for hunters, anglers, and wildlife viewers.

      Sturgeon Lake
      We met with Kasey Scrivens from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn about efforts to restore oak savannah habitat, of which 99% of the historic range has been lost. We also met Pat Welle from Scappoose Bay Watershed Council, who gave us an overview on Conservation Opportunity Areas and the "Sauvie Island Plan."

      Addition of logjams (lower left) to create habitat features
       for salmon and other wildlife at the mouth of Dairy Creek
      Finally, we visited the Sturgeon Lake/Dairy Creek Restoration Project site, where Scott Gall, Rural Conservationist with WMSWCD, explained to us the project's benefits to salmon and waterfowl. Sturgeon Lake is approximately 3,000 acres of open water and wetland habitat that is critical to the production and protection of waterfowl and other wildlife species, including migratory salmonids, many of which are listed under the state and federal Endangered Species Act. Due to levee construction which has altered the natural hydrology, Sturegon Lake is silting in. There has been an ongoing effort to restore water movement and reduce sedimentation in Sturgeon Lake. WMSWCD is helping to develop a plan to monitor future sediment build-up, unwanted debris accumulation, water flow, water temperature, and presence of  invasive species. WMSWCD will take ownership and maintenance responsibility of an irrigation pipe that passes through the Multnomah County road right-of-way and also take ownership of the project's debris boom at Dairy Creek's confluence with the Columbia River. WMSWCD is also responsible for maintaining a project Stewardship Fund for the purpose of funding any specialized maintenance activity, including repair and replacement of the debris boom.

      Friday, August 10, 2018

      Eagle Fern Park

      Date of Visit: August 9, 2018
      Type of event: Study tour
      Topic: Old-growth forest ecology
      Location: Eagle Fern Park, Estacada, Oregon
      Tour Guide: Bruce G. Marcot, Ph.D. / Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station
      International Fellows: Jeen Bunnik (Netherlands), Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
      WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

      This study tour showcased a small patch of old-growth Douglas fir-sword fern forest on the outskirts of Portland. Eagle Fern Park is a county park in Clackamas County, Oregon.

      Five percent of old-growth forests, defined as forests at least 120 years old, in the Pacific Northwest have been preserved thanks to the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP). The NWFP has five major goals:
      1. Never forget human and economic dimensions of the issues;
      2. Protect the long-term health of forests, wildlife, and waterways;
      3. Focus on scientifically sound, ecologically credible, and legally responsible strategies and implementation;
      4. Produce a predictable and sustainable level of timber sales and nontimber resources; and
      5. Ensure that federal agencies work together. 

      Topics we discussed included:

      • How to manage second-growth forests to become old-growth, including thinning practices to create a multilayered canopy, longer rotation periods, and the retention of snags for wildlife habitat and nutrient cycling
      • The role of salmon as indicator species of water quality and prey availability in streams and rivers
      • Climate change and a changing fire regime, specifically the shift from intermittent, moderate-intensity fires to frequent, high-intensity, stand-replacing fires
      • The importance of nurse stumps and logs in nutrient cycling and the formation of new forest soil

      Finally, we identified plants typical of an old-growth forest ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, such as:

      Monday, July 30, 2018

      WFI International Fellows Explore Forest Restoration Projects in Redwood National Park

      Dates of Visit: July 24 - 27, 2018
      Type of event: Study tour
      Topic: Forest restoration in national and state parks
      Location: Redwood National and State Parks, California
      Tour Guide: 
      International Fellows: Jeen Bunnik (Netherlands), Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)

      WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Rick Zenn / Senior Fellow

      In July, World Forest Institute Fellows and staff traveled to the north coast of California to join foresters, scientists, and historians from the US National Park Service for a day of international exchange and tour of active forest management projects in the park. The group was joined by graduate students from Humboldt State University (HSU) and summer apprentices from the non-profit Save the Redwoods League.

      Based in Trinidad for three foggy, chilly nights, the WFI group explored the big tree trails in Prairie Creek and Jedidiah Smith State Parks near Klamath and Crescent City. They also enjoyed a massive logger’s supper at the historic Samoa Cookhouse in Arcata. Shout out to Harry Merlo, Jr. for the recommendation.

      Since 2016, the WFI fellows have been invited to Redwood National Park headquarters in Orrick to give a morning seminar about their countries and forestry projects. The Park Superintendent Steve Mietz welcomed the group and more than 30 employees and guests attended, including former Director of California Department of Forestry Andrea Tuttle.

      Protection of small redwood groves in picnic areas and state parks that now comprise Redwood National and State Parks was established in 1968 along Redwood Creek, and consisted at the time of a narrow strip (aka “the worm”) of tall trees along Redwood creek. The national park was expanded in 1978 to include much of the Redwood Creek drainage which previously had been in private ownership, logged, treated, and re-seeded. Early watershed restoration work in the park focused on removing logging roads and planting trees to reduce erosion.

      Following the WFI seminar, the group set out to inspect several projects. National park geologist Neal Youngblood shared historic maps and information about old road-building methods and the importance of upland restoration to future water quality and improvement of aquatic habitat in the lowland areas of the park. Decades of flooding have flushed “big pulses” of soil, rock, and old logging debris into coastal streams. The group inspected successful projects in the lower Lost Man Creek drainage near Elk Prairie.

      National Park Service Forester Jason Teraoka conducted a tour of the Lost Man Creek forestry projects, including meeting with contractors actively working on site. Many of the areas now inside the park were harvested in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s and regenerated with a heavy mix of Douglas-fir. A small thinning project in second growth on the park’s eastern boundary occurred in 1979 but was discontinued.

      Research and demonstration projects conducted in the second growth forest off the Bald Hills Road tested various spacing and density prescriptions over several years in conjunction with faculty and students at HSU. After a lengthy review, forest restoration projects proposed by the National Park Service were approved and commenced in 2009 above the South Fork of Lost Man Creek.

      Check out these video to learn more about the forest restoration projects:

      Careful monitoring of the project and early results from established plots were encouraging. A second phase of the project was proposed by the Park Service and variable density thinning continued north along the Holter Ridge Road north into the Middle Fork of Lost Man Creek. Planning is underway to conduct additional projects in previously logged sections on the national park south of Prairie Creek State Park.

      Plan your visit to the Redwood National and State Parks here:

      Tuesday, July 17, 2018

      Bull Run Watershed

      Date of Visit: July 11, 2018
      Type of Event: Study Tour
      Topic: Watershed Management
      Organization: Portland Water Bureau
      Location: Bull Run, Oregon
      Host: Tama Martellucci / Environmental Educator, Resource Protection & Planning
      International Fellows: Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
      WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

      It's difficult to think of something more important in our daily lives than clean water, so it only makes sense that the WFI International Fellows' latest study tour was to the Bull Run watershed, the source of municipal drinking water for roughly a million people in the Portland Metro area, including the cities of Portland, Sandy, Gresham, and Tualatin. This region's daily water consumption in the winter is roughly 80 million gallons; in the summer, that number can double to 120 - 160 gallons. We took part in a guided tour that is open to the general public and led by the Portland Water Bureau to raise awareness about our public drinking water. It was a full day of learning and beautiful scenery as we wound through a network of forest roads and along watershed infrastructure, including dams, reservoirs, and groundwater pumps.

      Bull Run Lake
       The Bull Run watershed, a 147 square-mile watershed that is jointly owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Portland Water Bureau, is perfectly positioned to serve as Portland's water source. Located only 26 miles from the city of Portland, where the average annual rainfall is 36 - 40" per year, the Bull Run watershed receives over three times as much rain (roughly 135" per year). The area was formed by a landslide between 7,000 - 8,000 years ago; talus slopes and signs of ancestral flows from the Columbia River can still be seen from the roads. Bull Run Lake is separated from nearby Mount Hood by a ridge, which plays an important role in preventing glacial till (consisting of fine particles that are difficult to filter out) from reaching the watershed. In fact, drinking water from the Bull Run is generally clean enough to serve to the public unfiltered, due to the forest's natural filtration system and the local basalt-dominant geologic makeup (basalt is very heavy and does not break into fine particles when in contact with water).

      Bull Run Springs, ground zero for Portland's drinking water
      The idea for the creation and management of the Bull Run watershed as a source of drinking water for the Portland area began in 1885, when the city's water committee hired Colonel Isaac Smith to survey the watershed. By this time, the Willamette River suffered high contamination levels due to heavy industrial use, leading the water committee to come to a decision to search for an alternative source of drinking water. Construction on the Bull Run water system began in 1892 but official management of the watershed did not begin until 1895 due to multiple vetoes by then-Governor Sylvester Pennoyer, who expressed concerns that water "from Mount Hood would cause goiter in the fair sex" (despite the fact that water from the Bull Run does not originate from Mount Hood; see preceding paragraph). Upon being served the first glass of water from the Bull Run, Governor Pennoyer spat out the water because it "lacked the body that water from the Willamette River has." By "body," Governor Pennoyer must have meant "contamination!" Fortunately for the rest of us, water from the Bull Run gradually gained public approval.

      Aptly-named Reservoir 1
      The use of the Bull Run watershed as a source of drinking water has necessitated its preservation since the watershed's inception. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison created the 222 square-mile Bull Run Reserve via presidential decree. This decree led Colonel Isaac Smith to buy back some of the private land claims throughout the watershed for the sake of expanding the reserve. The last private landowner to own property in the Bull Run was Charlie Larsen, whose property was sold to the local government by his children after his passing in the 1970s. In 1904, President Teddy Roosevelt implemented the Trespass Act, which designated the maintenance of water quality as the management priority for the Bull Run, thereby limiting access to people and domesticated animals. However, in the post-World War II era, industrial logging activity increased in the region, resulting in 300 miles of logging roads being built and roughly 22% of the watershed being clearcut. These activities alarmed Dr. Joseph Miller, a surgeon from Portland, who partnered with the Sierra Club in the 1960s to spread public awareness through the distribution of informational pamphlets. In 1972, Dr. Miller successfully sued the Portland Water Bureau for violating the Trespass Act. This court decision stopped logging activity in the Bull Run watershed until Public Law 95-200 established the Bull Run management unit as it is today. This continued until the 1990s, when a late-succession forest reserve was set aside for the federally endangered Northern Spotted Owl, which ended all logging in the Bull Run watershed except for the removal of windfall or hazard trees. Finally, in 2001, the Little Sandy Protection Act added a buffer zone around the watershed where logging is prohibited. Due to these environmental protections, 53% of the Bull Run watershed remains old-growth forest.

      What's next for the Bull Run watershed? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently ruled that Portland Water Bureau has 10 years to implement a water filtration system in the Bull Run. This is due to low but infrequently present levels of Cryptosporidium that have been detected in the watershed starting in January 2017. Cryptosporidium is a genus of protozoa genus that can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in humans, is spread by mammals, and possesses a hard shell that is resistant to chlorine treatment. Up until recently, Portland was the only city in the country to be granted a variance from the EPA's LT2 rule, which states that every water supplier is required to treat for Cryptosporidium, due to its absence in the Portland area. Despite the still-low levels of Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run watershed, the decision to begin filtering water from the Bull Run was made in August 2017 due to the filtration system's ability to filter out not only Cryptosporidium but also airborne particles resulting from nearby wildfires, the frequency of which is increasing with climate change.

      Dam 1 (creative naming, no?)

      Interested in learning more about the Portland Water Bureau? Click here!
      Want to take advantage of their free lead-in-water testing? Then click HERE.

      Thursday, June 28, 2018

      Five Days at MC Ranch

      Date of Visit: June 18 - 25, 2018
      Type of Event: Study Tour
      Topic: Forest Practices in Eastern Oregon
      Organizations: Merlo Corporation, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University, Boise Cascade
      Location: La Grande, Oregon
      Hosts: Rex Christiansen / MC Ranch Manager, Jana Peterson / ODF Stewardship Forester, Francisca Belart / OSU Extension Harvesting Specialist, Tony McKague / Boise Cascade Log Buyer, Kaden Titus / Boise Cascade Log Buyer
      International Fellows: Jeen Bunnik (Netherlands), Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
      WFI Staff: Rick Zenn / Senior Fellow, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

      (Left to right) Front: Xuejiao Li, Cathy Christiansen, Vivian Bui, Meei-ru Jeng, Rex Christiansen
      Back: Kyle Porter, Thammarat Mettanurak, Heather Hoeft, Jeen Bunnik, Tuan Phan

      The World Forest Institute International (WFI) Fellows have recently returned from an action-packed, five-day adventure at the Merlo Corporation (MC) Ranch located just southwest of La Grande in northeast Oregon. Each year, WFI Fellows are invited to MC Ranch to learn about forestry issues and practices on the "dry side" of the state (i.e. east of the Cascade Range). Rex Christiansen (MC ranch manager) and his family, staff, and associates welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home during our stay. Read below for a summary of our grand ol' time in La Grande:

      Rex Christiansen grew up on a ranch in Pilot Rock, south of Pendleton. Out of eight siblings, he is the only one working in the timber industry. He has been a ranch manager for over 30 years and during his first year working at MC Ranch, Harry A. Merlo (the ranch's late owner) turned over timber management to him. Rex is a firm believer in the "school of hard knocks" or "learning by doing." As he says, "I don't manage land, I manage resources. Managing for resources helps to avoid issues down the road."

      At the log deck
      Rex taught us about forestry practices at MC Ranch. The ranch harvests approximately 1 to 1.5 million board feet over 8,000 acres of timberland annually. No clearcutting occurs at MC Ranch, only selective harvest. In fact, when harvest time comes, Rex prefers to not hire high-production loggers, as he is concerned with looking at post-harvest natural regeneration. Additionally, no tree marking or aerial spraying of herbicides takes place on the ranch. Only pine species are planted here, with larch and fir regeneration occurring naturally. Multispecies forests are maintained to increase resilience against pests and disease. Tree stands are regularly thinned to increase long-term growth rate. MC Ranch produces timber for multiple sorts of pine logs, fir logs, firewood, pulp, and biomass (which is sold to nearby Eastern Oregon University for heating).

      Improvements in forestry practice are continuously made at MC Ranch. For example, seedling survival was low (~30%) one year. It was a WFI Fellow who discovered that the seedlings had been poorly planted, with seedling roots having been cut too short or planted too shallowly. This discovery was taken into account the following year, resulting in a 90% seedling survival rate. Another highly successful improvement on the ranch has been the purchase of a mulcher to process brush piles and to grind up post-harvest stumps. The resulting mulch reduces soil erosion and the spreading of weeds and increases soil moisture retention and nutrient content, thereby reducing the need for herbicides and eliminating the need for fertilizer. MC Ranch was the first ranch in Oregon to own this type of equipment.

      Enjoying Anthony Lakes
      When asked about wildlife conservation efforts at MC Ranch, Rex states that sustained active management is necessary because the landscape is past the point of maintaining its "natural" state on its own. A 20'-wide buffer zone is maintained on both sides of fish-bearing streams to minimize sediment runoff during logging. Additionally, logging operations are restricted around sensitive wildlife areas, such as those used for elk calving, deer fawning, and sage-grouse breeding. Logging is also limited on steep slopes due to the rough terrain, leaving these areas for wildlife. Only very selective logging is allowed in wetland habitat. In areas where logging does occur, there have been times when harvested logs have been brought back post-harvest to serve as wildlife habitat. One out of ten slash piles formed as by-products of logging operations are also left behind for wildlife. Much of the fencing on the ranch allows for wildlife movement, meaning it is constructed at a height of 18 - 40", which allows for deer and elk young to crawl under the fence while adult animals are able to jump over. MC Ranch welcomes the elk herds, as their presence provides a prey base for predators, such as mountain lions and wolves, and thus distracts the predators from preying on cattle. Likewise, in March and April, Rex and his staff provide supplemental food sources for elk and other wildlife so as to distract them from browsing on newly planted tree seedlings.

      Over the week, we also had the opportunity to speak to professionals from Boise Cascade, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Oregon State University Extension. Each of them shared some of their expertise with us:

      Things are getting a little toasty!
      Boise Cascade operates multiple mills in northeast Oregon: a pine mill in Pilot Rock that employs 100 people, a smaller pine mill La Grande with a staff of 70, and a stud mill in Elgin with a crew of 130-140 people that is now being converted into a plywood plant. The company purchases approximately 100 million board feet of Northwest softwoods annually, including larch, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and white fir. They also create and sell particle board from sawdust shavings and glue.

      Stewardship foresters from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) provide general technical assistance to landowners to ensure that they are following the Oregon Forest Practices Act.  The department provides cost-share programs to assist landowners in reducing the fuel load on their properties, an increasingly important endeavor as housing development continues upslope towards the Elkhorn mountains. In this region, ODF is engaged with the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in a cooperative effort known as the East Face of Elkhorns Project, whereby the three agencies work together to enact a Cohesive Wildfire Strategy that will make communities fire-resistant across private and public lands. Over two and a half years, the project has successfully applied the Cohesive Wildfire Strategy across 5,600 acres, with 900 acres remaining.

      The overall purpose of the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service is to educate the public, mainly small woodland owners, on forest practices through outreach efforts, including various workshops and courses. The goal is to make forest practice policies easy for landowners to understand. Through OSU Extension, private landowners can receive expert advise on topics such as harvesting, road management, and watershed management.

      Final evening in the cabin

      On the last day of our stay, Rex left us with some parting lessons that he's learned over the years. "Live life. Respect the land. Respect people. The world is smaller than we think."