Monthly Archives: June 2018

Recreation Advisory Committee members needed for Willamette, Mt. Hood

A snow-dusted mountain rises above an evergreen treeline, with a lake in the foreground.

PORTLAND, OR, – June 26, 2018 – The Willamette and Mt. Hood National Forests are seeking volunteers to serve on the Mt. Hood-Willamette Resource Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC is accepting applications through Aug. 3, 2018 for new committee members.

A resource advisory team member reviews restoration and recreation fee proposals and make recommendations through a collaborative process. Previous projects have provided local jobs, restored landscapes, enhanced recreation, combated invasive species, and engaged youth.

Resource Advisory Committees are chartered under the Secure Rural Schools & Community Self Determination Act. The RAC consists of 15 members who represent a broad variety of interests.

To be selected, nominees must demonstrate the ability to effectively work in an environment with diverse interests and opinions. The Act encourages the representation of minorities, women and people with disabilities on RACs. Prospective members must reside in one of the counties under jurisdiction of the Hood-Willamette RAC. These include: Wasco, Hood River, Clackamas, Multnomah, Marion, Linn, Lane and Douglas counties.

For more information about the Secure Rural Schools Act visit: www.fs.fed.us/srs. Those interested in learning more about and/or serving on the Mt. Hood-Willamette Resource Advisory Committee should visit https://go.usa.gov/xUqY3 or contact Jennifer Sorensen, RAC Coordinator at jenniferlsorensen@fs.fed.us or call (541) 225-6388.

For more information about the Mt. Hood National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/mthood.

For more information about the Willamette National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.

Applications are due August 3, 2018.


Willamette National Forest & Mt. Hood National Forest staff

‘Christmas in July’: Help decorate 2018 Capitol tree July 25 in Eugene, Corvallis

Slices of tree branches, made into ornaments and decorated to resemble owls and reindeer.

EUGENE, Ore. – June 29, 2018 – Celebrate “Christmas in July” with Eugene Emeralds baseball and Willamette National Forest July 25, 2018 at PK Park in Eugene, Ore.!

The Willamette National Forest will supply the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this December, and is contributing additional trees to be displayed throughout the U.S. Capitol this holiday season.

Game attendees will have an opportunity to help the forest reach it’s goal of supplying 10,000 unique “Pacific Northwest”nature-themed ornaments to decorate the trees while they are on display!

If you attend:

Gates open at 6 p.m. See Smokey Bear throw the first pitch to start the game at 7 p.m.!

Ornament making stations will be located at the first base plaza.

The Emeralds will play wearing special “ugly sweater” jerseys.

A limited number of discounted tickets are available for purchase at
groupmatics.events/event/USFS.

(PS: The ballpark has Kids Eat Free promotion every Wednesday. Kids 12 & under will receive a voucher when they enter, which can be exchanged for a free hot dog, chips & soda in the concession area).

More upcoming ornament-making opportunities at community events:

  • Sportsman’s Holiday – July 14 at 10 a.m., Sweet Home High School, Sweet Home, Ore.
  • ‘Christmas in July’ with Corvallis Knights baseball – July 25, 6:30 p.m. at Goss Stadium, Corvallis, Ore. Tickets at corvallisknights.com/tickets/
  • Oregon Jamboree – August 3-5, Sweet Home High School, Sweet Home, Ore.
  • Sweet Home Community Health Fair – August 18 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sweet Home High School Activity Center
  • Oregon State Fair – August 25 and September 1 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Salem, Ore.
  • Harvest Fest – Saturday October 13 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Sankey Park, Sweet Home, Ore.

You can host your own ornament-making event! For more information about the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree, visit www.capitolchristmastree.org.

Willamette National Forest staff

A group of four people, three women and one man, show the series of Oregon-themed ornaments they created at the fair

Participants show off the ornaments they made at the Willamette National Forest’s 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree ornament-making booth at the Brownsville Pioneer Picnic on July 16 and 17, 2018 in Brownsville, Ore.

PNW National Forest info now available via iOS, Android apps

Image of a forested mountain valley in background, overlaid with the Pacific Northwest Forest App icon, screenshots from the app, and the Apple App store and Google Play store logos.

PORTLAND, Ore. – June 29, 2018 – The USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is excited to announce that the recently launched Pacific Northwest Forest Service recreation app is now available for devices using the Android and iOS mobile platforms.

The app serves as a complement to the Forest Service’s traditional website by offering a more mobile-friendly way of connecting to the outdoors. Based on a mapping interface that allows visitors to find recreational opportunities near them, the app provides information on hiking trails, camping, picnicking, boating areas, and more across 16 national forests, one national scenic area, and two national volcanic monuments in Oregon and Washington. The app also provides other important information on passes and fees, visitor center locations and office hours, and alerts on fires and road closures.

“This mobile app is one of many ways we are trying to do our part to be good neighbors and support both the communities we serve and the recreation users who visit,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “We heard people want more mobile-friendly ways of getting their hiking, camping, and other recreation information, and this app delivers just that.”

An iOS version of the app was released in May and already has nearly 10,000 downloads with a 4.7 rating in the Apple app store.

  • Download the new Android app.
  • Download the iOS app.

The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland – comprising 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employing approximately 3,550 people. To learn more about the USDA Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6.

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region staff

Benson Bridge Reopens at Multnomah Falls

Visitors stand on Benson Bridge, framed by a steep cliff face and Multnomah Falls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — June 28, 2018 — Historic Benson Bridge, located between upper and lower Multnomah Falls, reopened today for the first time since the Eagle Creek Fire.

“We’re excited to reconnect visitors with one of Oregon’s favorite selfie sites. Please stay on the trail and respect fences and closures for your safety and that of first responders,” said Lynn Burditt, area manager for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The remainder of the Larch Mountain Trail, which continues up to the upper viewing platform, remains closed due to damaged sustained by last year’s 48,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire, which increased hazards of rockfall, falling trees, and landslides in areas where burned vegetation destabilized the Gorge’s naturally rocky slopes.

Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT)’s Interstate 84 parking lot at Multnomah Falls fills quickly and closes frequently on busy days in the Gorge. Travelers should watch for congestion around exit 31, respect gate closures, and not wait in the I-84 eastbound fast lane for the gates to open.

Plan ahead, go early, go late, or take the Columbia Gorge Express, which runs daily through the summer from Portland’s Gateway center and Rooster Rock State Park with new stops in Cascade Locks and Hood River.

Many road and trail closures remain in effect in the vicinity of Multnomah Falls due to damage or ongoing hazards, including Angels Rest Trail, Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area, George W. Joseph State Natural Area, most segments of the Gorge 400 and Historic Highway State Trails, and all Forest Service system trails south of I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area east of Angel’s Rest and west of Cascade Locks.

Larch Mountain Road remains closed at the snowgate, and Larch Mountain Day Use site and area trails remain closed. The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed from Bridal Veil to Ainsworth, though Bridal Veil State Scenic Viewpoint and its short self-contained trails are open. Due to congestion, visitors are reminded not to attempt to park if lots are full, and instead visit other destinations in the communities of the Columbia River Gorge.

Please check for closures before heading out for a visit, by checking bit.ly/eaglecreekfireresponse or ReadySetGorge.com. Violators that enter closed areas are subject to citations and fines.

For the latest Columbia River Gorge NSA closure alerts and map, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/crgnsa/alerts-notices/?aid=41589

USDA Forest Service, Oregon Parks and Recreation, and Oregon Dept. of Transportation joint press release

Reminder: Fireworks are a hazard to National Forests

Illustration of Smokey Bear standing before a banner reading: "Fireworks are illegal on Public Lands! Fireworks are always prohibited on all National Forests, Bureau of Land Management -managed lands, and State Parks - no matter the weather conditions! Only YOU can prevent wildfires."

PORTLAND, Ore. – July 28, 2018 – As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, fire officials remind visitors that fireworks are prohibited on all national forests.

“We’re excited to welcome visitors to enjoy their public lands this summer,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “However, please be safe and responsible with fire. With warm and dry conditions, one small spark can start a wildfire.”

Fireworks are banned on national forests at all times, regardless of weather or conditions. Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. Additionally, anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs.

Visitors are also encouraged to practice campfire safety as unattended campfires are the number one source of human-caused wildfires on public land. If you are planning to have a campfire, please remember:

  • First, know before you go whether campfires are allowed in the area you are visiting. Fire restrictions may be in place depending on local conditions.
  • Keep your campfire small and away from flammable material.
  • Use a designated campfire ring when available.
  • Keep water and shovel nearby.
  • Completely extinguish your campfire by drowning your fire with water and stirring with a shovel.
  • Make sure your campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it.

This short video demonstrates how to properly build and extinguish a campfire.

Stephen Baker, USDA Forest Service Region 6

Illustration of fireworks bursting above a forest, with a burnt tree in the foreground and blazing evergreens in the distance. Text reads: "No fireworks on public lands," above the USDA Forest Service seal and tagline "For the greatest good."

No fireworks on public lands – a message from the USDA Forest Service

Protecting your home from wildfire

Fire burns across a night landscape. The fire is burning in the ground-level brush beneath taller evergreen trees, as firefighters and vehicles are staged along the fireline.

PORTLAND, Ore. – July 26, 2018 – Seasonal fire is part of our landscape in the Pacific Northwest – and with fire season arriving, residents and communities can make their homes safer from wildfire by reducing flammable materials and creating more defensible space around their property.

These ten Firewise safety tips can help firefighters and protect homes and neighborhoods from wildfires:

  • Clear leaves and other debris from roofs, gutters, porches and decks. This helps prevent embers from igniting near your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch.
  • Screen in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (wood piles, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair the shingles that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose eaves and screen soffit vents using 1/8 mesh metal screening to prevent ember entry.

With more people living in areas where wildfires pose a risk, efforts to create more defensible space helps property owners and communities be more prepared and resilient. Homes that have been well-prepared are much less likely to catch fire when wildfires burn nearby.

The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners to prepare their homes from the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help homeowners learn how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together to take action now to prevent losses.

Additional information and materials are available at www.firewise.org.

USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region staff

Illustration depicts the Firewise tips discussed in the caption.

Are you Firewise? You can protect your home from wildfire by keeping your chimney cleaned and screened, maintaining at least 100 feet of garden hose attached to your house at all times, spacing trees located close to your home apart, and moving storage sheds, fuel tanks, wood piles and other burnable materials at least 30 feet from your home and other structures. Mow vegetation growing within 100 feet of your home; thin and prune coniferous trees, and ensure your driveway is accessible and address visible from the road. Lastly, avoid burning trash and brush at home – recycle or compost whenever you can.

Fire and smoke rise above a forested ridgeline, with structures and grazing alpaca in the foreground.

Fire is visible along a ridge behind structures during the Biscuit Fire in this 2002 USDA Forest Service photo. The fire, named for Biscuit Creek, burned nearly 500,000 acres on and around the Siskiyou National Forest (now part of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest) in south-east Oregon.

National Pollinator Week June 18-24

Two bees at the center of a yellow flower

It’s Pollinator Week! In 2018, the annual celebration of pollinators and their contributions to sustaining biodiversity, habitat and agriculture is observed June 18-24. Since 2010, this week has been a time to celebrate the contributions pollinators make to our nation, supported by official proclamations from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of Interior, and governors of many states.

Around the world, pollinators are declining due to factors that threaten all biodiversity. Loss of habitat is the principal reason, followed by improper use of pesticides, pollution, and invasive species.

Policymakers, natural resource managers, private landowners, and others want to make informed decisions that consider the needs of pollinators. Consumers can choose products that have been produced in a pollinator-friendly manner. Educators can emphasize the importance of pollinators; teach about their life histories; and instill an appreciation for the essential role played by pollinators in living systems.

Everyone’s future flies on the wings of our pollinators.

To learn more about Pollinator Week (and the Pollinator Partnership), visit: http://pollinator.org/pollinator-week.

***

What is Pollination?

Pollination allows for plants to reproduce. Much like the animal kingdom, plants have male and female parts and need to transfer genes from one to the other to create seeds for the next generation of plants. The only way this can happen is when pollen grains from the anther (male) of the flower are transferred to a stigma (female).

Some plants are able to self-pollinate—meaning that they don’t need any help from an animal pollinator to reproduce. Others can be pollinated by wind that carries pollen grains from flower to flower. About 80 percent of all flowering plants, and three-quarters of the staple crops that are grown for human consumption rely on animal pollinators.

There are a number of animal pollinators. The most recognizable pollinators are probably bees, but everything from ants and beetles to bats and birds can help pollinate.

More information:

 

Did you know?

  • 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat are thanks to animal pollinators.
  • Almost 90% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization.
  • About 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals such as mice. The rest are insects like beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths.
  • National forests and grasslands provide valuable migration habitat for the pollinators that allow everything from wildflowers to agricultural crops to thrive.
  • The USDA supports programs that help find homes for pollinators.
  • Honeybees are the most prolific animal pollinator—but pollinators range from insects like butterflies, wasps and ants, to mammals like bats, and even birds.
  • Pollinator populations, especially honeybees, have seen sharp declines in recent decades—there were about 6 million honeybee hives in the U.S. in 1940; that has declined to about 2.5 million today. Now more than ever, pollinators need habitat to keep our ecosystems and agricultural economy strong.
  • Pollinators play a key role in feeding American families and supporting the American economy. Pollinators contribute $15 billion annually to farm income in the U.S.
  • Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Crops like almonds, apples, blueberries, melons, squash, even oranges and avocados are heavily reliant upon pollinators to reproduce and thrive.
  • The USDA Forest Service is a key agency in restoring degraded lands for pollinators and other wildlife, through the planting of native wildflowers that help connect birds, bees and other pollinating insects across the American landscape.

Suggested activities:

  • Plant a pollinator garden. Check out:
    http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/jan03/pg1.html. for gardening instructions, and for educational and curriculum
    resources.
  • Reduce chemical misuse. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce
    damage to your plants and to protect pollinators by using less chemicals. You could
    intersperse food plants, like tomatoes, with inedible plants like marigolds. Marigolds are known to attract pest insects away from food plants. Learn more about IPM and gardening at: http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/homegarden/garden.html.
  • Limit lawn grass. Grass lawns offer little food or shelter for most
    wildlife, including pollinators. You can replace grass with a wild meadow or prairie
    plants. For a neater look, make a perennial border with native plants. Plants native
    to your area are adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators! You can get a list of plants native to your area at: http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/nativeplants.cfm 
  • Provide water. All wildlife, including pollinators, need water. Some butterfly species sip water from muddy puddles to quench their thirst and get important minerals. You can provide water in a birdbath or even a shallow dish placed on the ground. Pile small stones or glass florist beads in the water so the pollinators can crouch low and sip from the surface of the water without falling into the water.

Northwest Forest Plan 2018 science synthesis released

A woman wearing a backpack hikes a trail past tall evergreen trees of varying sizes and heavy undergrowth.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 11, 2018 —The USDA Forest Service today released a report that will serve as the scientific foundation for land management planning in western Washington, western Oregon, and northern California.

One of the most significant findings of the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis is that the plan has protected old-growth forests as habitat for important species. At the same time, the report found that restoration of fire and other active forest management activities at the landscape scales can promote ecological integrity and rebuild forest resilience to disturbance and stressors.

The report, Synthesis of Science to Inform Land Management Within the Northwest Forest Plan Area, summarizes science published since 1994, when the Northwest Forest Plan was implemented. Based on the best available scientific data at the time, the plan was designed to resolve debates about old-growth forests and endangered species while providing timber outputs from 17 Northwest national forests totaling 24 million acres.

The science synthesis was authored by 50 scientists from Forest Service Research and Development, other federal agencies, universities, and tribes. It also was informed by extensive public input with stakeholders who provided comments to peer reviewers for their consideration, as well as suggestions of scientific literature to the authors. The Ecological Society of America, a science organization, independently managed scientific review of synthesis content, which covers topics ranging from old-growth forest ecosystems and tribal values to timber harvest and socioeconomic well-being.

Published by the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in partnership with the Pacific Southwest Research Station, the science synthesis will inform the assessment stage of the land management planning process across the Northwest Forest Plan area. Using the synthesis as its scientific foundation, assessments will evaluate existing and possible future conditions and trends in social, economic, and ecological systems. As such, the synthesis is not a decision document.

To view the three-volume Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis online, visit https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/science-synthesis/index.shtml.

The Pacific Northwest Research Station will host a science forum in Portland, Oregon, on June 26 to share key findings of the report. The forum also will be simultaneously Webcast to allow for remote viewing and participation. To learn more, visit https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/science-synthesis/index.shtml.

The mission of the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The Pacific Northwest Research Station—headquartered in Portland, Ore.—generates and communicates scientific knowledge that helps people make informed choices about natural resources and the environment. The station has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and about 300 employees. Learn more online at https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw.

USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station staff

USDA Forest Service logo

USDA Forest Service logo