ROSEBURG, Ore.(Oct. 1, 2019) — The Roseburg District, Bureau of Land Management and the Umpqua National Forest announced winners of the 2019 “Land of Umpqua” Amateur Photo Contest yesterday.
This past year, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and National Trails Act.
Amateur photographers submitted a variety of photos featuring the beautiful landscapes and wildlife on BLM and Forest Service -managed lands from around the Umpqua River, Umpqua Valley and surrounding forests.
Photos submitted by amateur photographers were grouped and judged in several categories: “Fall Colors,” “Water,” “Waterfalls and Wilderness,” “Wildlife along Trails and in the Wilderness,” and “Pets on Trails.”
Congratulations to the winners!
Winning entries, by category:
Fall Colors on Public Lands
1st Place – Tiffni Curley – Roseburg
2nd Place – Kevin Berhardt – Roseburg
3rd Place – Jane Brown
Umpqua Wildlife along Trails and in the Wilderness
The Roseburg District, Bureau of Land Management and the Umpqua National Forest hosted the photo contest as part of a multi-agency exhibit at the 23rd Annual Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show held earlier this year.
Winners receive prizes, including free overnight stays at BLM and Forest Service campgrounds, as well as Smokey Bear -themed items.
The winning photos are also featured on the BLM and Forest Service Social media services.
Source information:Umpqua National Forest (via Facebook)
Like many Pacific Northwest residents, I didn’t actually grow up here. I often call myself a “northeasterner by upbringing, northwesterner by choice.” While I know firsthand the way one’s hometown maintains a powerful hold on their heart, I also never tire of finding reasons to love my adopted home.
So, when one of my younger brothers came to visit this month, I steered him towards the travel and tourism kiosk located in the baggage claim area at Portland International Airport. As an anime fan, I thought he’d be especially delighted by Travel Oregon’s colorful “Oregon. Only slightly exaggerated” campaign… and he was! But even my heart skipped a beat when I recognized one of the locations in the brochure as Ramona Falls.
I’d hiked there just two weeks earlier.
It’s as beautiful as what you see in this illustration.
The area around the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which includes the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mt. Hood National Forest, is said to have the largest concentration of waterfalls in the United States.
Oregon’s most-famous waterfall is probably Multnomah Falls. My brother and I made a point to visit it during his trip; a spectacular sight, water plunging hundreds of feet to the pool below. It draws visitors from around the world, daily.
But to me, Ramona Falls is more beautiful.
Before I go any further, I want to share some words of warning: Ramona Falls is located in a wilderness area.
During my hike, I encountered many day hikers who seemed to take the lesson of 2017’s Eagle Creek fire, which occurred in the nearby Columbia River Gorge, to heart. During that fire, more than 100 day use visitors were stranded on the trail, and forced to undertake a long, difficult hike to safety.
But I also saw many people who not well-prepared, carrying only a bottle of water and whatever fit in their pockets.
As you approach the Sandy River, the trail is clearly marked with signs that warn about the dangers of crossing. Pay attention: If you can’t safely secure your child or pet to you and carry them across an improvised footbridge mad from a fallen tree or log without losing your balance, don’t try!
I’m sharing this from my own experience: Many people bring their dogs on this hike; I assumed I’d one of them, and it was a mistake. While I believed my young pup had done enough work on a balance beam to handle a log crossing, I failed to account for how much he likes to swim. While the current was safe – though, still quite strong – against the body of an adult human, it was much too deep and too swift for my Siberian Husky. Intellectually, I’d known the river can be dangerous, emotionally, it left me far more nervous for some of the small children I saw on this trail after I’d jumped into the current myself and fought to haul 65 pounds of wriggling, wet dog to the shore.
Signs that warn about the dangers of river crossings are posted alongside this trail for a reason: hikers have died here, after flash floods caused by heavy rainfall, in 2004 and 2014.
It’s easy be lulled into a false sense of security when you see others navigate a risky situation successfully; I know, I made the same mistake.
My advice is to read trip reports, check weather listings, and use more caution than you think you need to. Just because nothing seems to have gone wrong for many others, doesn’t mean it can’t.
Still: At the right time of year, when the river crossing is approached with appropriate caution and care, the Ramona Falls loop trail is a beautiful hike.
The 7-to-8 mile loop has a relatively gentle grade, with a cumulative 1000 feet of elevation gain.
The trail culminates with a spectacular view from the base of Ramona Falls, which really do look like something out of a fairy tale; truly, they need no exaggeration.
Source information: Catherine “Cat” Caruso works in the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region Office of Communications and Community Engagement. When she’s not editing the “Your Northwest Forests” blog, she’s usually shopping for fur-repellent office wear. She considers her outdoorsmanship skills to be “average,” which means there’s a 50 percent chance yours are better – but also, an equal chance that they’re worse.
The USDA Forest Service and Hydro Flask have embarked on a unique partnership to protect firefighters working to protect Your Northwest Forests, and protect our environment at the same time!
The Forest Service’s National Greening Fire Team partnered with the Bend, Ore. -based company, which provided 64 oz reusable, thermal-shielded water bottles to thousands of firefighters serving throughout Washington and Oregon this summer, at no cost to the firefighters and minimal cost to the agency.
Staying hydrated is critical to conducting any outdoors activity safely. It’s especially critical for wildland firefighters, who are often required to work in direct sunlight on the hottest days of summer, wearing protective clothing and boots, often while performing physically arduous work like clearing a fire line with hand tools, sometimes just inches away from hot coals or even an actively-burning fire.
The partners hope that putting durable, reusable, thermally-protected water bottles in the hands of firefighters will help reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles on fire-related incidents.
“Thanks to Hydro Flask, over 3,000 firefighters on incidents throughout the Pacific Northwest will receive a reusable water bottle, contributing to the National Greening Fire Team’s goal of waste minimization on incidents while maintaining high standards of firefighter safety and wellness,” Lara Buluc, Sustainable Operations and Co-Climate Change Coordinator for the USDA Forest Service, said.
The National Greening Team is working towards a goal of producing no net waste on agency-managed fire incidents by the year 2030.
The partnership is a way for HydroFlask, which is based in Bend, Ore., to show it’s commitment to local firefighters, Phyllis Grove, vice president for marketing and ecommerce for Steel Technology LCC (HydroFlask’s parent company), said in a prepared statement.
“This win-win opportunity supports the Team’s vision of achieving net zero waste at incidents,” Buluc said.
USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff report
Recreation on public land is increasingly popular in the Pacific Northwest. But recreation management requires balancing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors with mitigating the effects on wildlife and other natural resources.
Recreation and wildlife managers who are grappling with these issues asked scientists to quantify the impacts of motorized and non-motorized recreation on elk.
Researchers also found that such disruptions effectively reduce the total amount of usable habitat available for elk herds.
Land managers can use this information to assess trade-offs between multiple, and often competing, land uses. When combined with planning efforts that include stakeholder engagement, this research may offer a clearer path forward on balancing human and wildlife needs on National Forests and other public and privately-held lands.
PORTLAND, Ore.(Sept. 10, 2019) — The USDA Forest Service will accept applications for more than 1,000 seasonal spring and summer jobs in Oregon and Washington from Sept. 16 – 30, 2019.
Positions are available in multiple fields, including fire, recreation, natural resources, timber, engineering, visitor services, and archaeology.
Applications must be submitted on www.USAJOBS.gov between Sept. 16 – 30, 2019.
More information about seasonal employment, available positions, and application instructions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/jobs. Job descriptions, including a link to submit applications, will be posted to www.USAJOBS.gov on Sept. 16.
Interested applicants are encouraged to create a profile on USAJOBS in advance to save time once the hiring process begins.
“We’re looking for talented, diverse applicants to help us manage over 24 million acres of public land in the Pacific Northwest,” Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, said. “If you’re interested in caring for our national forests and serving local communities, I encourage you to apply.”
mission of the Forest Service 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 agency manages 193 million acres of public
land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the
largest forestry research organization in the world.
The Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region includes 17 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments, all within the States of Oregon and Washington. These public lands provide timber for people, forage for cattle and wildlife, habitat for fish, plants, and animals, and some of the best recreation opportunity in the country.
News release in English, русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish):
Join the Forest Service!Agency Accepting Applications for over 1,000 Seasonal Positions in Oregon and Washington (English)
Last year, we had 300,000 acres on fire on and near the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. We welcomed 15,000 firefighters from all over the country, and actually from New Zealand and Australia as well, to come here, to help keep you safe. I spent over 200 million dollars last year, making sure that we got these fires out. In the past 2 years on the Rogue River -Siskiyou National Forest, 500,000 acres have burned.
So, what’s changed? Has it always been this way?
Merv George, forest supervisor for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, joined Chris Chambers, city forestland manager, author of the Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan, and creator of Ashland, Ore’s FireWise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities programs, to present a 20-minute talk at TEDxAshland in May. A video of their presentation was posted to YouTube last month.
The city and federal officials teamed up to explain why wildland fires have become landscape-scale challenge in many U.S> communities, and how the City of Ashland and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are answering that challenge by collaborating with each other and their entire community on creative solutions that have been demonstrated to reduce risk and save homes (and possibly lives), right in their own backyard.
You can view the complete presentation on YouTube, or watch it below.
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)
Apparently, not everyone is celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday this month by taking his “only you can prevent wildfires” message to heart:
More than 100 abandoned (or incompletely extinguished) campfires have been discovered by Mt. Hood National Forest visitors and staff in just the past six weeks.
Recreation was heavily impacted on Mt. Hood National Forest following the Eagle Creek fire in the nearby Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, which makes it a little bit surprising more campers haven’t taken campfire safety procedures to heart.
The good news is, other campers have been quick to help by reporting the unattended campfires they’ve discovered, and consistently cool evening temperatures and periodic rain has helped keep sparks from spreading the fires to nearby vegetation.
To enjoy your campfire safely: Check for local fire restrictions on the forest you are visiting. If fires are allowed, make sure the weather is calm – do not light a fire during windy conditions, which can carry sparks far from your campsite. Use the provided fire rings, or dig a fire pit surrounded by at least 10 feet of bare ground, and surround the pit with rocks. Keep a shovel and bucket filled with water nearby, and stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
To safely extinguish a campfire: Pour water on the fire, stir it into the coals and embers with a shovel, and continue adding water and stirring until all coals are thoroughly soaked and cold to the touch. (Make sure there are no warm embers still trapped beneath the top layers; such fires can smolder for hours or even days before reigniting when the materials around them dry out).
PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug. 14, 2019)— On Tuesday, state and federal forestry officials joined Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and James Hubbard, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment in Salem, Ore., to sign a Shared Stewardship agreement between the state and the USDA Forest Service.
Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty and USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa, building on years of strong state-federal partnership, also signed the agreement to seek even greater collaboration between the agencies..
this agreement, the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry will work
together to identify shared priorities and implement collaborative projects
focused on healthy and resilient forested ecosystems,
vibrant local economies, healthy watersheds with functional aquatic habitat,
and quality outdoor opportunities for all Oregonians.
“Federal and state agencies face many of the same challenges, including longer and more destructive wildfire seasons; forests facing threats from insects and disease, and the need to ensure the continued long-term ecological and socioeconomic benefits our forests provide,” Casamassa said. Pacific. “Working together in a spirit of shared stewardship, we are better prepared to tackle these challenges on a landscape scale.”
The Forest Service and the State of Oregon have a long history of working together, including coordinated fire protection and grant programs to cooperatively manage forest health issues across all forest lands in Oregon.
In 2016, the Forest Service signed a Good Neighbor Authority Agreement with the State of Oregon to increase the pace and scale of forest health and restoration projects.
Now, there are Good Neighbor projects underway on every national forest in the State of Oregon.
The Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry are working more closely and effectively on a wide variety of projects, including forest restoration, watershed restoration projects, timber sales, and other fuels reductions projects.
In May, the Forest Service signed a Shared Stewardship agreement with the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
With this newly signed Oregon agreement, the Forest Service anticipates working even more effectively with state partners, on a landscape scale, across the Pacific Northwest.
CORVALLIS, Ore. (July 2, 2019) — New findings show that old-growth forests, a critical nesting habitat for threatened northern spotted owls, are less likely to experience high-severity fire than young-growth forests during wildfires.
This suggests that old-growth forest could be leveraged to provide valuable fire refuges that support forest biodiversity and buffer the extreme effects of climate change on fire regimes in the Pacific Northwest.
A recent study published in the journal Ecosphere examined the impact of the Douglas Complex and Big Windy fires, which burned in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of Oregon during July 2013, a drought year.
The fires burned through a long-term study area for northern spotted owls.
Using information on forest vegetation before and after the fires, along with known spotted owl nesting areas, researchers had an unprecedented chance to compare the impact of wildfire on critical old-growth nesting habitat.
“On federally managed lands, spotted owl nesting habitat is largely protected from timber harvest under the Northwest Forest Plan, but wildfire is still a primary threat to the old-growth forest that spotted owls rely on for nesting habitat,” Damon Lesmeister, a research wildlife biologist for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, said. “The loss of spotted owl nesting habitat as a result of severe fire damage could have significant negative impacts on the remaining spotted owl populations as well as a large number of other wildlife species that rely on these old forests.”
Old-growth forests have more vegetation than younger forests. Researchers expected that this meant more fuel would be available for wildfires, increasing the susceptibility of old-growth forests to severe fire, high tree mortality, and resulting loss of critical spotted owl nesting habitat.
However, the data suggested a different effect.
Lesmeister and his colleagues classified fire severity based on the percentage of trees lost in a fire, considering forest that lost less than 20% of its trees to fire as subject to low-severity fire and those with more than 90% tree loss as subject to high-severity fire.
They found that old-growth forest was up to three times more likely to burn at low severity — a level that avoided loss of spotted owl nesting habitat and is generally considered to be part of a healthy forest ecosystem.
“Somewhat to our surprise, we found that, compared to other forest types within the burned area, old-growth forests burned on average much cooler than younger forests, which were more likely to experience high-severity fire. How this actually plays out during a mixed-severity wildfire makes sense when you consider the qualities of old-growth forest that can limit severe wildfire ignitions and burn temperatures, like shading from multilayer canopies, cooler temperatures, moist air and soil as well as larger, hardier trees,” Lesmeister said.
Because old-growth forests may be refuges for low-severity fire on a landscape that experiences moderate to high-severity fires frequently, they could be integral as biodiversity refuges in an increasingly fire-prone region.
Leveraging the potential of old-growth forests to act as refuges may be an effective tool for forest managers as they deal with worsening fire seasons in the Pacific Northwest.
The study was a collaboration between
researchers Damon Lesmeister and David Bell, USDA Forest Service, Pacific
Northwest Research Station; Stan Sovern and Matthew Gregory, Oregon State
University; Raymond Davis, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region; and
Jody Vogeler, Colorado State University.