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 Orick 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:

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