The Grand Ronde tribe owns about 10,000 acres now, and much of the land is in timber. Timbering was the main source of income for the tribe prior to the building of the casino and remains an important part of their economy. Reyn is a retired logger and his son Shonn formerly worked as a forester in the tribe's forests so we had two well-informed guides for our trip.
The green is as intense and lush as many parts of West Virginia, although the species of trees are quite different. I saw no oaks, hickory, or black walnut that are abundant on the easy coast. Here, the primary trees are evergreens, with a mixture of other trees I did not know. I did spot a few maples, but not much else that was familiar. Ferns covered the ground in many places, and blackberries were thick along the roadsides.
We passed by a campground and Shonn told us that when he worked in the forest they developed some walking trails as well. Land management practices in this forest include such things as stream clearing,
I was amazed at Old Tree, one of two very large fir trees on the reservation.
My camera was unequal to the task of capturing the size of this giant!
On a distant mountain a logging operation was in full swing.
We soon came upon a replanted area that had been previously timbered. Grand Ronde's timbering regulations require loggers to replant 4 trees for every tree that is cut. Trees are later thinned to remove any unhealthy specimens or those that are too close together. Loggers are also required to leave "snag trees" for the woodpeckers and to leave "bird trees" every so far apart to assure that birds can safely fly the distance from one tall tree to another.
A re-forested area, with some snag trees and bird trees standing.
We drove for miles on one-lane gravel roads through beautiful forests and occasional logged or replanted areas. As we were driving through one ares we saw something big coming.
It was an awfully skinny road to be meeting this thing!
But we passed by safely with his load high in the air. These logs are actually bigger than most of what is in demand for timber today. We saw one log truck carrying only 3 BIG logs and Shonn and Reyn noted that it was rare, and probably for some special order.
Later in the day Larry and I stopped at a little pull-off area along a pave road. I was intrigued by the deep green ravine and wanted a closer look.
I especially wanted to look at the moss on the trees, which we had seen earlier in the timberlands. Reyn told us that this moss is collected and used by florists. It hangs thick in the moister areas.
The sound of water on rocks caught my ear, and I went down a short path to find this little waterfall.
So pretty, so green, so inviting.
I learned a lot this day, and I came away with a healthy respect for the careful management of the land and the timber resources. This is a renewable resource, and will continue to provide jobs and revenue for Grand Ronde for a long, long time.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.