Aug. 14, 2023
This week was, as usual, a great week to work in the woods. A change in plan diverted us interns from our stream survey project to conduct important work outside of Newport, Oregon.
A potential new property for Starker Forests calls for timber cruising. We needed to gather data to figure out the potential worth of the trees growing in each stand to decide whether the property would be worth it. Sabrina and I cruised timber in three differently aged stands from Monday to Wednesday on this potential property.
Lys and Raja (Lys’ dog) were the leaders for this project, so Lys, who was working with Caroline (as well as
Emily and Kathy on Tuesday), was cruising a different area of the property. When we were cruising, Sabrina and I found a very large Sitka Spruce tree near one of our plots. It was pretty cool to look at because it was easily the biggest tree in the stand. We decided that it was left because it had huge branches which would make for brittle non profitable wood.
Another interesting thing we found was evidence of bears peeling trees. In the beginning, I was not looking for it, but when Lys pointed it out, it was
obvious. We found lots of peeled trees. Even on the steep slopes, why a bear is hanging out on steep slopes is beyond me, the bark is peeled off the base of the tree while the bear eats the cambium layer. I learned that this is a learned behavior in bears. So, in order to prevent it, one needs to get rid of the bears that peel trees so they cannot pass on this behavior. A peeled tree is a damaged tree and will not grow as much timber, which is why it is a problem.
During this time, Tuesday was Emily’s last day on the Summer Starker Crew. She is a hard worker and I speak for all the interns when I say we are glad to have had the opportunity to meet and work with her.
On Thursday, we expected to return to stream surveys, however, a few stocking survey units needed a little more attention. Partnered with Joseph, I went to three units and racked up a total of 54 plots. We visited the units “Bailey Hatchery,” “Misery Whip Ice,” and “Rhody Blows.”
The most eventful unit was “Misery Whip Ice”, namely because it was super steep and very unforgiving. The ground seemed to be actively working against me all the time, giving way under me as I tried to walk up and down the slopes.
Friday was another day of timber cruising. Joseph and I worked on the “Post Gray CTL” unit. The unit was recently thinned, so there were many machine tracks and
the tree heights were not as tricky to get as most places. Joseph and I were closing in on our 20th and last plot of the day, and as I went to the first tree to get the diameter, I looked back and saw a swarm of yellowjackets billowing out of the ground right where I had previously been! I alerted Joe and we ran for it! We took the plot a little ways away from the nest and were sure to steer clear as we made our way back to the truck chatting about how lucky and glad we were to not have been stung.
– Anthony Cafferata