Sanders County Ledger - Your Best Source For Sanders County News

Cub Creek f ire salvage operation underway


Courtesy Photo

AVOIDING GROUND DISTURBANCE, Thompson River Lumber utilizes a line machine, or highlead cable yarder, to perform logging operations at the Cub Creek Fire sight in the Beaver Creek Drainage. The fire burned during the summer of 2017.

Recently, some members of the Cabinet Forest Collaborative (CFC), a local subcommittee of the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition (KFSC), visited the area of the Cub Creek fire and logging operations are underway. Most of the area inside the fire perimeter burned in a mosaic of moderate intensity, mixed in with skipped areas. These areas are already sprouting a healthy-looking growth of grass, helping to hold the soil in place.

Forester Shawn Morgan of Thompson River Lumber, which purchased the sale last July, explained that logging operations began one month after the sale and have been carefully designed to minimize soil disturbance. In most areas high lead cable yarding systems transport timber to log decks without skidding them over the ground. Crews worked on this project over much of the winter to salvage burned timber before it begins to check and lose value. Soon after harvest is complete, tree planting will begin.

Species planted will include mostly pine and larch, to provide diversity to stands that are currently dominated by Douglas fir. Pine and larch are also more resistant to the root rot disease, which is more prevalent in stands of Douglas fir. According to CFC members, many areas in our local forests are succumbing to root rot disease.

Bill Meadows, CFC member, experienced logger, firefighter and third generation rancher, has been interested in forest management most of his life. The forest land has changed significantly in the last 60 years, according to Meadows. Hillsides that were open are now so thick one can hardly walk through them.

Meadows believes this has resulted in elk populations moving to the valley floor. On a trip to the upper end of Emma Creek (location of Cub Creek Fire) last summer, Meadows observed multiple elk tracks in the fire area, indicating they may be moving back to their old habitat.

The CFC has been involved in many projects have been completed while others are underway or ready for implementation. The Cub Fire Salvage project is an example of how a focus on getting things done on the ground is producing results. The Cub Fire burned about 7,000 acres in the Beaver Creek drainage, southwest of Trout Creek, during September 2017. Less than a year later, the salvage project was designed, analyzed, approved and sold.

The CFC is composed of a group of interested local citizens with diverse backgrounds and interests. They believe community awareness of the Cabinet Ranger District's successes is important in getting forest projects approved and work done on the ground. Community support also gives the Forest Service more tools and opportunities for funding and accomplishing projects.

"Today the Forest Service carefully designs projects to protect water quality, and to enhance wildlife habitat and the future condition of our forest lands," CFC member Doug Ferrell stated. "Most all conservationists support the Forest Service and the timber industry in a variety of projects that create jobs and help support our communities."

Morgan welcomes the involvement of the CFC in projects that are proposed on Forest Service lands. "The participation of the CFC and the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders has helped in providing public input, which is important in developing successful projects. One of the goals we focus on in reviewing projects is to find ways to increase recreation opportunities in a project area," said Morgan. "We also recognize the value of protecting some of our remaining wild places. The involvement of diverse and broad-based groups like CFC and KFSC in public land management is good for our communities and for our local forest lands."

The Cabinet Forestry Collaborative welcomes participation from members of the public. Contact co-chairmen Shawn Morgan at Thompson River Lumber, 827-4311, or Doug Ferrell at 827-4341 for more information on the CFC or KFSC.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 09/08/2019 00:41