VANCOUVER, Wash.(Aug 20, 2019) — Thanks to a mild summer season, huckleberry season is well underway in much of the Pacific Northwest, and fall mushrooms have arrived as much as a month ahead of normal in some areas.
The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region reminds all forest users to “know before you go” and check with your local forest supervisor’s office or ranger district for applicable seasonal info and permit requirements before picking berries, mushrooms, or any other forest products on your favorite National Forest or Grassland.
The huckleberry grows throughout the Pacific Northwest, but the season begins and end at different times in across the region, as factors from latitude, to local climate even elevation play a role in when the berries ripen.
Free-use permits are available for non-commercial harvesting of many forest products on National Forests. The permits are issued at no cost, but the process allows natural resource managers to assess the demand for various forest products.
The permitting process also helps the agency ensure that berry pickers, mushroom pickers, and other harvesters of forest products are informed of any restrictions on they type or quantities of a particular forest product that can be collected by a single user, and what areas are protected or otherwise not being opened to harvests during the current season.
Commercial permits are required for any user seeking to harvest berries, mushrooms, plants, or any other forest products for resale.
On the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, for example, commercial huckleberry permits are currently available at all Ranger District offices, and at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters. Commercial permits cost $60 for 14 days, or $105 for the season. All people harvesting more than three gallons, or selling any quantity of berries, must obtain a commercial huckleberry permit. (Under Washington State law huckleberry buyers and sellers must also register their sales transactions. For details, visit: www.fs.usda.gov/main/giffordpinchot/passes-permits/forestproducts).
A free-use permit is also required when harvesting berries for personal consumption. There is no cost for free-use permits. To apply for and print a free-use huckleberry permit valid for approved areas of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, visit: https://apps.fs.usda.gov/gp.
Please note: Some areas of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are closed to huckleberry harvesting. These include the legislated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, all legislated Wildernesses, and the “Handshake Agreement” area of Sawtooth Berry Fields. In addition, a temporary closure to public camping will be in effect for the month of August in a small area of the Pole Patch huckleberry area. A map of areas open to personal picking and commercial harvesting will be provided with all 2019 permits, as areas open to harvest have changed this year.
For detailed information about forest products and permits on other forests, contact the Forest Supervisor’s office or District Ranger’s office for the forest you would live to visit.
Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (press release)
PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug 20, 2019) — The USDA Forest Service has signed an agreement with Slavic Family Media to expand the agency’s outreach to the Russian -speaking immigrant and refugee community in and around the Portland metro, which includes Multnomah County, Ore. and Clark County, Wash.
“Our community loves recreating, and they love to hike, camp, and enjoy day trips to harvest mushrooms and berries. Our goal as a community organization is to ensure make sure that our people our members have the proper information and resources to do so safely and legally,” Timur Holove, the media organization’s creative director, said. “We want to give our audience this valuable information in their native language so they can understand and take advantage of all the programs offered by the U.S. Forest Service,” some of which they may not have even known existed, he said.
To underscore the importance of this outreach effort to the agency, the agreement was signed live, on-air, by Nick Pechneyuk, Slavic Family Media chief executive officer, and Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest regional forester, at the Slavic Family Media radio and television studios in Portland, Ore.
“This agreement … is really another step forward in our commitment to shared stewardship, and expanding our engagement to broader audiences, like the Slavic family,” Casamassa said during the July 17 signing. “This is a great opportunity, for us, noth only for this generation, but for future generations as well, to be able to work together.”
The agreement that outlines how the two organizations will work together to bring information about the national forest system to the Russian-language speaking population in and around Portland, Ore.
“We’re providing information that we need disseminated to the Slavic population,” Shandra Terry, Forest Service regional program coordinator for community engagement and inclusion, said. “And what we are providing is information that they can use – about recreation, and special use permits for special forest products, such as mushrooms, huckleberries, Christmas trees – things that are special to this community. These are opportunities that public lands offer, and this demographic will now have better opportunities to access these public lands and services.”
Under the agreement, Slavic Family Media will translate information provided by the Forest Service into Russian, then communicate it via the company’s various Russian-language media platforms. These include television, radio, a website, social media, and print publications – including a newspaper, business journal, and a magazine that, combined, potentially reach more than 150,000 Russian -speakers across the Pacific Northwest.
Information will include conservation education, recreation, and land stewardship topics, wildland fire prevention and preparedness information, and information about special places on nearby National Forest lands, such as the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forest, and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Terry said.
The Slavic language family is diverse, consisting of languages that include Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldova. But many immigrants from former Soviet countries learned to speak, read, and write in Russian in school, or from family members who were taught in Russian and otherwise discouraged by that government from using their native language in public life, prior to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
After English and Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian are the 3rd largest language-group spoken in Oregon. Large Slavic communities are also present in Washington State, in the Seattle-Tacoma metro, and smaller populations of Russian-language speakers are found in several areas of rural Washington and Oregon.
In the U.S., English, is the language most often used for communicating government information, placing non-fluent speakers at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving information or from benefiting fully from public services – including public lands, and specifically opportunities available on National Forests and Grasslands.
Terry said that while working on this partnership and related Slavic outreach efforts, she’s learned many in the community deeply value opportunities to spend time in the outdoors, and are very interested in information that will expand their opportunities to access public lands.
“Fishing is a huge area of interest. So is finding places the family can gather, and make memories,” she said, noting that Christmas tree -cutting permits and the Every Kid Outdoors (formerly, Every Kid in a Park) program for fourth-graders have been a particularly strong draw in previous Forest Service engagements with Portland’s Slavic community. “They’re wanting to know more about what the regulations are, so they can access those places. We’ll be sharing a lot of information, about our special places and how to access them, so they can do that.”
Terry said she hopes the Forest Service’s partnership with Slavic Family Media will help more members of this community find connect with public lands stewardship and volunteer opportunities, as well.
“These are public lands. They are for everyone, and we are all responsible for them,” she said.
Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa will also deliver remarks to the Slavic community Sept. 1, 2019 at the Slavic Family Festival 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Gateway Discovery Park (10520 NE Halsey St.; Portland, Ore.). Casamassa will deliver his remarks at approx. 11 a.m. The agency will have employees present to provide forest user information throughout the day, and Smokey Bear is scheduled to make an appearance at the event.
From the Memorandum of Agreement (signed July 19):
National Forest System lands are open and welcoming to everyone. Slavic Family Media and USDA Forest Service value the opportunity to communicate and highlight National Forest recreation opportunities, forest products, eco therapy, forest safety, smoke health, fire recovery information, conservation education, volunteer and employment opportunities and National Forest System events to audiences primarily in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area through multimedia opportunities.
The partnership between Slavic Family Media and the USDA Forest Service signifies our partnership and commitment to connecting Russian-speaking communities to national forest lands and Forest Service engagement opportunities.
The USDA Forest Service is committed to shared stewardship to protect public lands and deliver benefits to the people and communities we serve in Oregon and Washington.
Through Slavic Family Media, the USDA Forest Service aims to leverage its communications and reach the Slavic community through bilingual (Russian and English) print, radio, and social media platforms. This partnership initially became effective in March 2019.
Watch the signing ceremony, here:
Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, Office of Communications and Community Engagement (staff report)
It comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. It’s an animal today, but a plant the next? Few see it, but it sees all. It (allegedly) LOVES Nutella! It’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It’s the last of its kind, a true legend. That’s right, this month’s Forest Feature honors the Pacific Northwest’s most unique forest creature: BIGFOOT!
Lurking always just out of sight, our friendly 8-or-more-feet-tall, gentle giant of the Pacific Northwest has (reportedly) graced us with its presence for decades now.
Some say that its large stature belies an otherwise congenial attitude towards other forest-dwelling creatures.
However in times past and present, many have described a “wild man” or “hairy man” stealing food from unwary hikers.
Some anthropologists and dedicated Bigfoot-hunters have devoted their lives to revealing its secrets; but in true bigfoot-style, the creature remains largely unexposed. You won’t even find it posting on Instagram (although you may find many imposters posing for a Kodak moment).
Did you know?
Bigfoot, sometimes known as Sasquatch, is also rumored to be a shapeshifter
The highest number of Bigfoot sightings is in Clackamas County (Oregon), along Hwy 244.
The Blue Mountains is allegedly one of its favorite spots, and where parts of the 1995 film “Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter” were filmed (the story is set in Shaver Lake, Calif. and in the Modoc National Forest, also in California).
The first motion picture footage (alleged to be) of the elusive, notoriously camera-shy creature is known as the Petterson-Gimlin film, filmed in 1967.
This month, we have no photos of Bigfoot to share… but we do have a coloring page depicting an artist’s conception of Bigfoot in its natural habitat, created by the Jimmye Turner, a USDA Forest Service fire prevention specialist on the Umatilla National Forest.
We also have a drawing activity to help students draw on their creativity, curiosity, and to inspire questions about the many adaptations animals have evolved to meet the challenges of their environment.
While some of you may not be Bigfoot believers, Bigfoot offers a wonderful opportunity to talk about fire prevention during the hottest month of the year, the unexplored and undiscovered aspects of our forest’s wild and wilderness areas, and the importance of preserving habitat before more species become scarce, and seemingly as difficult to find as Bigfoot has proved to be.
Both of these resources are fun for all ages, but are especially suited to students in early elementary school (grades K-4).
Gather stories about Bigfoot in your own communities, use its mystique to inspire stewardship of the forest!
If you’d like fact sheets, activities, or links to other educational resources about this topic – and for information about other ways the Forest Service can help incorporate environmental education and forest science in your classroom – email YourNorthwestForests@fs.fed.us.
Where can you try zip-lining, horseback riding, camping, swimming, hiking, or other outdoors activities you’ve never tried before, with a group of your new best friends – and an assist from someone with more experienced to guide you?
The answer could be one of the organizational camps that operate on many of the seventeen National Forests in the Pacific Northwest.
Organizational camps are located on public lands and managed by third-party organizations under the authority of a Special Use permit granted by the U.S. Forest Service.
There are 44 such camps operating on national forests in Oregon and Washington, each offering unique opportunities for people who might not otherwise be able to enjoy the beauty and adventure opportunities available on forest lands.
“Permittees are able to offer a wide variety of experiences to the
public,” Shawnee Hinman, regional special uses program manager for the Forest
Because the agency’s work involves balancing multiple uses of the forest, many of the most-developed recreation sites on National Forest System lands are operated by permittees.
“They’re vital partners… often providing the unique level of services, with more staff, more amenities, more flexibility, and more infrastructure than what the Forest Service can normally provide,” Hinman said.
The extra amenities and services provided at some organizational
camps are especially important because they provide opportunities for members
of the public who need more support than the minimalist facilities offered at
many Forest Service operated campgrounds and recreation areas.
For example, people with different ability levels, such as special
medical needs or mobility challenges, that can limit their activities on forest
lands could find better opportunities to enjoy their public lands – while
sustaining the support or assistance they need to do so safely – at an
“These are organizations whose sole purpose is enriching the lives of others: spiritually, physically, or emotionally,” Nathan Fletcher, special use manager for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said. “The main idea here is that these groups are improving lives through outdoor experiences.”
The Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp, located on the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, introduces people with disabilities to the great outdoors via day outings and overnight camps. It offers a 1:1 ratio of campers to counsellors, offering eight weeks of summer camps and two winter retreats each year.
“We provide one of the only fully-accessible camps on Forest Service lands in the nation,” Matt Grager, the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp’s communications director, said. “The real magic of the camp is that if you were to pull up to our 22 acre camp, it would look like a regular summer camp straight from the movies—camping, hiking, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, even whitewater rafting and a ropes course… you name it we got it – the campers get to do all of the traditional summer camp activities just geared around the needs of people with disabilities.”
The Boy Scouts of America operate numerous
camps on national forests in the Pacific Northwest, providing day, overnight,
and week-long summer camps for youth from around Washington, Oregon, and the
These camps expand recreation access to the outdoors for young people from all across the country, including urban, suburban, and rural areas, offering activities ranging from archery lessons to week-long trail riding trips on horseback.
Organizational camps can create deeply rooted relationships and a connection to the land that reach from the forest to the Forest Service, and back into the community.
More than 500 people participate in programs
at the Mt. Hood Kiwanis camp each year, and many return year after year. In
fact, some of the organizations campers have been returning each summer for 20
to 30 years, Grager said.
Most of the camp’s counselors come from
Portland State University (PSU) where students earn 6 credits for their
participation as a capstone project for the college’s degree programs.
Approximately 4500 college students have served as Kiwanis camp counsellors since
the partnership was first established in the 1970’s.
“The experience the counselors have is as transformative for them as it is for the participants,” Grager said.
The Forest Service doesn’t have the
capacity to provide the kind of individual attention these organizations can
provide for their visitors, Hinman said – but considers organizational camps to
be important partners in creating those opportunities for a diverse group of
“We so appreciate the many organizations
who invest so much into helping so many people get outdoors who otherwise
probably wouldn’t get the chance,” he said.
To find out what organizational camps
operate in your area, contact your local forest supervisor’s or district
rangers’ office. Organizational camps may also be listed on the forest’s
website, under Recreation or Special Use program offerings.
For the 2019 season, the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp will host a barbecue to celebrate the last night of each weekly camp. Skits are performed by campers and counselors. The community is invited, and food and music will be provided. Barbecues are scheduled every Thursday, through Aug. 18. A $10 donation is suggested.
Chris Bentley is the Website and Social Media Manager for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communications and Community Engagement
Step back in time, hone your homesteading and log-construction skills, and join Forest Service employees for skills-building and historical preservation work on a century-old historic homestead on the Colville National Forest!
Uptagrafft Homestead is believed to be built in 1919, and was one of many homesteads in the area filed under the Homestead Act. Today, the homestead is a forest interpretive site, demonstrating the typical layout of homesteads that were once common in the area, but which have become increasingly rare.
The site has been the subject of several restoration efforts, beginning for the American Bicentennial in 1976, and its current condition is a testament to the quality work of the volunteers who have been involved.
This season, volunteers will assist in general maintenance on the site, including reconstruction of a root cellar (including archaeological excavation of the root cellar floor); splitting cedar shakes and using cedar shakes to repair shingled roofs; felling, notching, skinning, and installing logs, replacing missing or damaged shutters and associated hardware, and installing an interpretive sign. Project work is scheduled to take place Aug. 19-23, 2019.
Help the Forest Service continue to preserve, maintain, and improve the homestead so visitors can continue to experience a glimpse into early pioneer life!
To volunteer, you must be able to commit a minimum of two days to the project. Volunteers will work with the project manager on a small team of up to eight participants, and must be physically capable of lifting/bending/kneeling/standing/stooping for extended periods of up to eight hours each day, in a variety of weather conditions. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old (applicants under age 18 must apply with and be accompanied by a participating parent or guardian). Previous carpentry, roofing, construction, general maintenance, and/or historic building restoration experience helpful, but not required.
Volunteers may camp at the homestead or at nearby OHV campground, located approximately 10 miles from Usk, Wash.; the camp will have a toilet, and potable water will be provided. Volunteers are responsible for their own lodging, camping equipment and meals; transportation to and from Uptagrafft and designated meeting area can be provided by Forest Service (the access road is in rough condition, a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for passage).
Your participation can help preserve this piece of history for future generations to enjoy.
Passport in Time (PIT) is a nationwide volunteer cultural heritage resources program sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and managed with assistance of many partners, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), state parks agencies, and HistoriCorps. PIT volunteers work with professional archaeologists and historians on public lands throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. The professional staff of archaeologists, historians, and preservation specialists serve as hosts, guides, and co-workers for volunteers working on various archaeology, research and restoration projects.
It’s July? Where did half the summer go! Let’s all take a moment to breathe, relax, and experience the present while reflecting on this month’s Forest Feature, the graceful heron.
Herons are wading birds in the Ardeidae family. There are dozens of species (including bitterns and egrets). Herons feed on fish and small aquatic animals.
They are important birds that appear frequently in traditional folklore from many cultures, including Greek, Aztec, Celtic, Chinese, and Egyptian, and the Nisqually Indians, a Native American tribe from the south Puget Sound region of western Washington state.
There are many species of heron that are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, but these are a few of the most prominent species:
Great Blue Heron: One of the most easily spotted and found throughout much of the United States, this massive bird (with a wingspan up to 6 and a half feet wide!) is as handsome as it is graceful. You can find great blue herons wading across an impressively diverse habitat range: from brackish to freshwater systems, agricultural and suburban landscapes, wetlands and sloughs.
Green Heron: Smaller than many other herons, the green heron uses a different strategy to hunt. Standing still, it waits for small fish and amphibians to wander within striking range. Once prey is near, the move quickly! You won’t see more than a quick flash of green and brown before the green heron gulps its dinner.
Black-Crowned Night Heron: A generalist in the true sense of the word, this bird is the most widespread heron in the world. It’s a social animal, often nesting with other herons, egrets, and ibises. The oldest Night Heron on record was a 21-year old female.
Are you inspired to spend more time with this remarkable bird, the heron
If you’d like fact sheets, activities, or links to other educational resources about this topic – and for information about other ways the Forest Service can help incorporate environmental education and forest science in your classroom – email YourNorthwestForests@fs.fed.us.
This year Smokey will celebrate 75 years at the forefront of the Forest Service’s wildfire prevention campaign. To commemorate Smokey’s contributions to the U.S. Forest Service and wildfire prevention, replicas of historic portraits by artist Rudolph Wendelin will travel to National Forests across the country throughout 2019.
Wendelin created hundreds of Smokey representations that highlighted natural resource conservation and wildfire prevention.
Under his direction, Smokey assumed the softer human features, ranger’s hat, jeans and shovel for which he is best known.
The touring exhibit consists of replicas provided by the National Agricultural Library.
The replicas are on display at the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s Mt. Baker Ranger District offices from June 3-16, 2019 during regular office hours. Address: 810 WA Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.
Public lands are open to all, but research shows not everyone feels equally at home in them. That’s a problem for our national forests, which are managed by public resources that won’t be made available if the public doesn’t understand their needs. And it’s a missed opportunity for Americans who are not aware of, not encouraged to, or who don’t feel empowered to enjoy the incredible recreation opportunities, inspiration, and personal health and well-being that can be found on public lands. That individual disparity adds up to effects on society as a whole, though less public awareness of rural and ecological issues and in less diversity among applications for forestry-related science programs and for natural resources jobs.
This New York Times article talks about the disparities that exist, and how members of some underrepresented communities are seeking to change it.
WASHINGTON — May 6, 2019 — The USDA Forest Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Northern Border Regional Commission will offer a webinar for community representatives interested in applying for planning assistance through the new Recreation Economy for Rural Communities initiative Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from noon-1 p.m. PDT.
Program applications for the summer, 2019 cohort are due May 31, 2019.
“By partnering alongside EPA and the Northern Border Commission, the Forest Service is proud to help communities deliver recreation experiences that better meet the needs of visitors and support local economies,” Vicki Christiansen, Chief of the USDA Forest Service, said. “We are committed to sustaining the nation’s forests and grasslands through public-private partnerships that engage people directly in the shared stewardship of their natural resources.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 report on The National Outdoor Recreation Economy, outdoor activities – including hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, off-road vehicle riding, skiing, snowmobiling, and viewing historic places – generated $887 billion in annual spending and created more than seven million jobs. These activities can bring new investment to local economies, heighten interest in conservation of forests and other natural resources, and improve quality of life for residents and visitors.
A planning team will help selected communities bring together local residents and other stakeholders to decide on strategies and an action plan to grow the local outdoor recreation economy. The planning assistance process will take place over a period of four to six months, focused on a two-day facilitated community workshop during which participants will work together to identify a vision, goals, and specific actions to realize their goals.
Partner communities are encouraged to pursue activities that foster environmentally friendly community development and main street revitalization through the conservation and sustainable use of public or private forests or other natural resources, such as:
building or expanding trail networks to expand use and attract visitors and new businesses
developing in-town amenities, such as broadband service, quality housing, or local shops, restaurants, or breweries, to serve residents and help attract new visitors and residents with an interest in nearby outdoor assets;
marketing main street as a gateway to nearby natural lands and recreational opportunities; and
developing a community consensus on the management of outdoor assets.
USDA Forest Service and its federal partners expect to announce the selection of eight communities for planning assistance during summer, 2019 and anticipates repeating a second round of pilot planning projects in 2020.
The deadline to apply for the program is May 31, 2019.
Special consideration will be given to communities that are:
economically disadvantaged, such as those in Opportunity Zones; and/or
in the Northern Border Region.
The USDA Forest Service develops and implements place-based recreation planning using collaborative processes with communities and outdoor recreation and tourism providers within regional destination areas. Forest Service recreation programs support over 205,000 jobs, the majority of which are in rural gateway communities near national forests. The agency partners with states, tribes, local communities, and landowners to promote shared stewardship of public and privately-owned forests and grasslands.
The Northern Border Regional Commission provides federal funds for critical economic and community development projects throughout the northeast. These investments lead to new jobs being created and leverages substantial private sector investments.
EPA’s Smart Sectors program also provides support to grow the outdoor recreation economy. In 2018, EPA offices in the New England and Mountains and Plains regions established Smart Sectors programs that recognize the wealth of natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities that can be leveraged to create jobs, spur new businesses, and support economic revitalization.
SWEET HOME, Ore.(May 1, 2019) — Sweet Home Ranger District, Willamette National Forest have announced the 2019 guided forest interpretive tour dates, and registration for these activities is now open to the public.
These professionally-guided nature tours are a chance for visitors to learn more about the plants, animals, geology and cultural history of the Sweet Home area, located at the edge of the Willamette Valley, in the Cascade mountains, and tours typically fill quickly.
Most tours meet at the Sweet Home Ranger District Office and take approximately six hours, returning by 3 p.m (longer tours return by 5:30 p.m.). Transportation to and from trailheads or other start points is provided by the USDA Forest Service.
This year’s tour topics include general outdoor preparedness, wildflowers, and the history of the Kalapuya tribe in the Willamette Valley, as well as opportunities to make art in nature, paddle boarding, horseback riding, citizen science projects, and mountain biking.
Pre-registration is required. Most tours cost $10 per person ($5 for those with a senior or access pass), plus a $3 processing fee. Register via the National Recreation Reservation System at www.recreation.gov (search for “Sweet Home Nature and Heritage Tours”) or call (877) 444-6777 and press “1” for tours to make a reservation (ask for “Sweet Home Nature and Heritage Tours”).
These events are offered under the Recreation Fee Program authorized by The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Fees are collected to fund protection and enhancement of local historic sites for public use and enjoyment, and for the continuation of conservation education programs.