The picture of forest health

 

Rich Wininger, a Weyerhaeuser manager in the Northwest, recently wrote us in response to our Nov. 9 feature story "Roadless-less", which included a photo of clearcutting on Weyerhaeuser forest lands (unfortunately we don't have permission to reproduce that photo on our Web site).

 

I noticed the page 18 photograph of Weyerhaeuser lands adjacent to National Forest lands.  I did not recognize the area, so I requested background information on it from our planners.  My impression of High Country News is that you use current information, so I was surprised to learn that this photograph is 20 years old (copyrighted in 1990). (NOTE: After receiving Rich's letter, HCN researched this photo. Getty, the photo service from which we licensed the image, had filed it with a 2006 date, but  National Geographic, which originated the photo, says it was actually taken on August 26, 1989.)

A lot has changed in our forest management practices since 1990.  Prior to 1992, there were only minimal buffers on fish-bearing streams.   Watershed analysis was adopted into regulation in Washington in 1992 to protect public resources (such as fish, water, and capital improvements of the state) from the cumulative effects of forest practices. Most of the watershed analysis prescriptions were superseded by the Forest and Fish Law in 2001.  That law required minimum 80 to 100 foot buffers on all fish streams and 50 foot buffers along ~50% of the length of perennial non-fish streams.

In addition, Washington wildlife tree, green-up, maximum clearcut size and improved road construction rules were enacted or expanded in the early 1990s.  Pulling all of that together, this photograph is not an accurate portrayal of our practices, or of those lands today.  The below aerial photo gives a more current view of the property you showed on page 18.

Clearview wilderness 2009

Concerning your article on roadless areas, my view is that public and private lands have different roles to play in our society.  I'll give you an example, I am attaching a photo taken on March 24, 2005, just a few months shy of 15 years after the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption.  The Douglas-fir on the left side were planted in 1983 by Weyerhaeuser; the lands on the right side were set aside in the National Volcanic Monument to watch and learn about natural restoration processes.  As you can see in the photograph, in the blast zone Weyerhaeuser lands have been reforested much faster than what you would find with natural processes.  Which land management practice is right and which is wrong?  That's easy, both are right; they are different because we are serving different needs and have different objectives.  We clearly manage our lands for timber production while at the same time protecting public resources.  National Monument and National Forest lands have different goals.

High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNICATIONS & DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position Type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman, MT Compensation: $42,000 - $47,000 Benefits: Major Medical Insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k, PTO, flexible...
  • PARTNERSHIP & COLLABORATION DIRECTOR
    WEST REGION WILDFIRE COUNCIL- RIDGWAY, CO The partnership & collaboration director will provide leadership and/or assistance with all initiatives that create and enhance connections between...
  • 2 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • WATER STEWARD
    The Blackfoot Challenge is seeking a full-time Water Steward to coordinate and deliver a variety of partnerships and projects aimed at conserving and enhancing water...
  • SMALL FARM AT BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA, CALIF.
    Fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm in the mountain town of Mount Shasta. Small home, 2 barns (one with apartment), and more. Famously pure air and water.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • POLICY & PLANNING SPECIALIST
    Position Type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman, MT highly preferred, remote negotiable Compensation: $50,000-54,000 Benefits: Major Medical Insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Illinois Valley SWCD is offering an incredible career opportunity in beautiful SW Oregon. .8+ FTE, plus benefits. Visit our website for full details.
  • DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
    Formed in 1980, Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action brings people together to build grassroots power through community organizing and leadership development. The Alliance works...
  • LITIGATION ASSISTANT, NORTHERN ROCKIES OFFICE - FULL-TIME BOZEMAN | REMOTE OPTION
    Visit our website to apply: earthjustice.org/about/jobs
  • BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE SEEKING AN ASSESSMENT CONSULTANT
    ASSESSMENT OF THE SCOPE OF CONSERVATION PLANNING AND ACTIVITIES IN NATIVE NATIONS IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Rural Community Assistance Corporation seeks experienced CFO.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, the official philanthropic non-profit partner with the National Park Service Southeast Utah Group, is seeking an Executive Director....
  • GRAND CANYON MANAGER
    Application deadline: May 9, 2022 Anticipated start date: June 15, 2022 About the position Are you passionate about building authentic relationships, supporting tribally led initiatives,...
  • LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) is seeking a Land Conservation Program Director to join our nationally accredited land trust. This is a full-time position based...
  • OUTREACH AND COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    Reports to: Communications and Outreach Director Location: Ashton, Idaho (partial remote schedule possible) Status: Full-time, 40 hours per week Timing and Duration: Position open until...
  • CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
    The Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) was founded in 2012 by landowners and managers to increase the wellbeing of working lands in the American West and...
  • WILDERNESS STEWARDSHIP CREW MEMBER
    The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) wilderness crew members work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to monitor wilderness characteristics, conduct trail work, and...
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (TEMPORARY, FULL-TIME POSITION)
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill a temporary, full time, Assistant Director position in the Outdoor Program. The Outdoor Program provides professional outdoor recreational and...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    We find groundwater, reduce excavation costs and determine your IBC site class for a fraction of drilling costs.