The crew will be completing 12 weeks of service mainly within the North Fork John Day Wilderness Area in the Umatilla National Forest. The mojority of the work will be log out, brushing and tread and drainage work along the river trail. The Umatilla National Forest, located in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon, covers 1.4 million acres of diverse landscapes and plant communities. The Forest has some mountainous terrain, but most of the Forest consists of v-shaped valleys separated by narrow ridges or plateaus.
The landscape also includes heavily timbered slopes, grassland ridges and benches, and bold basalt outcroppings. Elevation range from 1,600 to 8,000 feet above sea level. Changes in weather are common, but summers are generally warm and dry with cool evenings. Cold, snowy winters and mild temperatures during spring and fall can be expected.
From rolling benchlands to the granite outcrops of the Greenhorn Mountains, the rugged North Forest John Day Wilderness provides diverse landscapes. Much of the wilderness is composed of gentle benchlands and tablelands; the remaining of steep ridges and alpine lake basins. A continuous vegetative canopy covers most of the land, including dense virgin stands of conifer species like Douglas-fir, white fir, western larch and lodgepole pine.
This wilderness, which is broken into four segments and traverses two national forests, is known for its big game and anadromous fish habitat. Headwaters of the Wild and Scenic North Fork John Day River is in this wilderness, accounting for many miles of steelhead and trout habitat. Dominant wildlife species are elk, deer and some bear. Many small game and nongame species also inhabit the area, as do mountain goats.
Over 100 miles of trails serve both hikers and horseback riders where the lay of the land calls for long-distance trips with many elevational changes.
PREHISTORY AND HISTORY
The North Fork John Day River corridor was used in prehistoric and (written) historic times by the southern Plateau Indians. In particular, ancestors of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) are said to have used this area extensively in prehistoric times for hunting, fishing, camping, root digging and berry picking.
Gold mining was the primary activity which first brought substantial numbers of people to the Blue Mountains in the 1860's, and evidence of this "gold rush" still exists along the river. Evidence of this history includes various structures for habitation and use, mines, prospect holes, and other related developments. Other minerals such as silver, copper, lead, zinc, chromite and manganese were produced in small quantities.
Courtesy of the US Forest Service website.