Today I spent about six hours up at this site in the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest: the Blue River Face, located high up on a forest road, about 4 miles from the headquarters.
This high south-facing slope was partially logged (in multiple parts, using a variety of experimental techniques and harvesting percentages) and then intentionally burned (again, in multiple zones, simulating different fire conditions). Now, the site is being studied for long-term tree mortality, bio-diversity, regrowth rates, etc.
While I was out up at Blue River Face, a group of several vans full of college students (forestry, I assume?) from Quebec pulled up, led by the Andrews site manager Mark, and Thomas Spies, a USFS Research Forest Ecologist, who gave them an outdoor lecture on the history of the Blue River Face experimental harvest, and the “simulated natural fire” techniques that followed.
Note: I had to carry a radio today, just in case I ran into problems like a downed tree or a stubborn gate or truck problems or some other calamity. I’ve been told there are mountain lions here, too, but I really don’t think I’d have time to call for back-up by radio if a mountain lion decided to revise my travel plan. As Tim Fox told me yesterday: “I think they’re there watching us… they stalk us all the time.” His sense is that they simply don’t attack in most cases unless they sense illness, weariness, limping, etc. So: note to self! Stand up straight! Walk strong! No foot-soreness here, mister mountain lion, just move along…. I’m not limping, I’m just dragging this heavy bag full of inedible notebooks….