Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Guest blog: Hungry, hungry caterpillars (WA DNR)

close-up of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth catepillar, undated.

The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region helps monitor forest health in Washington and Oregon via annual aerial forest health surveys, conducted in partnership with with the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. When signs of a widespread disease or insect pest activity are detected, more intensive monitoring programs may be established.

In this guest post from Washington State DNR, the state agency discusses about its efforts to trap, monitor, and collect better data on the patterns surrounding one such insect which periodically impacts the health of trees, especially in eastern Washington – the Douglas-fir Tussock moth.

From Washington State DNR:

“The life of a Douglas-fir tussock moth is not an easy one. The females can’t fly, and food is often scarce, not to mention viruses that make them explode. What’s more difficult than being a tussock moth, is having those moths in your forest.

“Every ten years or so, the tussock moth population skyrockets in some areas of eastern Washington, well beyond what the forest can support. When that happens, these insects can eat so much that they literally kill the fir trees they feed on, sometimes up to 40 percent in a single stand. If a tree is lucky enough to survive the infestation, they’ll then be much more vulnerable to disease, pests and wildfire.

“Often when we talk about species that destroy forests, those species are invasive. They didn’t come from the areas they’re killing. The tussock moth is actually a native species here in Washington, so what causes their once-in-ten-year eating rampage? We know that historically, the event happens approximately every ten years, but with a potentially disastrous ecological hazard, being as precise as possible is very important…”

Read more, on the agency’s “Ear to the Ground” blog:

close up of a Douglas-fir Tussock moth on a conifer branch

An undated field photo of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth. USDA Forest Service photo by David McComb (via

More information:

For more Douglas-fir Tussock Moth photos, check out this USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region Forest Health Flickr album:

For photos from annual aerial health forest survey conducted jointly by the USDA Forest Service and Washington State, and surveys conducted with the State of Oregon, visit:

WEBINAR: Demystifying Forest Service special use permits; Sept. 18


Are you a guide, outfitter, or organization facilitating outdoor recreation opportunities on Forest Service land? If your answer is “yes”, then this online webinar is for you!

The USDA Forest Service’s special uses program team lead will help present a “Demystifying Forest Service special use permits” webinar, scheduled for September 18, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Ben Johnson, team lead for the agency’s national recreation special uses program, will share a recently-created guide designed to help to you learn about the process for obtaining a special use permit, focusing on recreational uses.

This guide is designed to help anyone who organizes recreational activities on National Forests understand what kind of activities and uses are considered a “special use” and require a special use authorization, learn about the process for obtaining a special use authorization, and provides additional information that will help navigate the proposal and application process.

A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

RSVP, at

More info:

Special Use Permitting 101 for National Forests, on the “Transforming Youth Outdoors” blog:

Source information: Transforming Youth Outdoors is a resource-based community for people committed to developing and delivering best-in-class outdoor programming to youth, and this work sponsored in part by contributions from the USDA Forest Service. For more information, visit


Guest blog: How to react to wildfires while hiking

Firefighters hike on a road in front of an evergreen forest with burning underbrush.

“You’re on your own out there. Be prepared. There are tens of thousands of wildfires every year, and because of drought and our changing climate, they’re growing in number, size and intensity,” the Pacific Crest Trail Association shared recently on it’s “Backcountry Basics” blog.

  • Rule one: Don’t start a wildfire.
  • Rule  two: Be prepared with the knowledge and tools to react appropriately if a fire develops nearby.

Learn what to carry with you into the back country, fire area closures, and how to react if you encounter signs of fire or smoke on the trail, at this link

Source information: The Pacific Crest Trail Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the stewardship and support of one of America’s oldest and most recognizable national trail. The PCT was established by the National Trails Systems Act of 1968, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.