Sawin’ Through the End
Second week into the Devil’s Creek thinning project. The team is working like a well oiled and gassed up chainsaw. We are all now pretty comfortable working with saws and switching it up with other partners. A few of the groves we cut in this week were a little harder because succession is starting to take place. Succession is a forest “maturing”. Our goal is to keep aspen groves present in this part of the forest, with there being no disturbance spruce and other trees are starting to slowly work their way in. Are main goal is to cut the aspen’s and the spruce. The spruce are the last stage in forest succession because they will out compete every other species for sun. A few other species we encountered are birch, willow, and cottonwood. Those got to stay (unless they were in the way) because they are in the early stages of forest succession with aspen. Willow is also a yummy treat for moose which points us toward our main goal, to make perfect moose habitat.
The second week ended with us taking a little jaunt into the woods. We rented a sweet Forest Service cabin along the Resurrection Trail. The Resurrection Trail links up Cooper Landing and Hope (both awesome little towns)., The team has never been so happy to stay in a cabin, mostly because it was a 17 mile hike the first day to get there and soggy boots. It was great resting for a night, throwing some horseshoes and burning a fire all night. The next morning was another 15 mile hike to get out and enjoy some great food at the Seaview Cafe in Hope. After 31 miles of hiking, food and coffee cures all.
|East Creek Cabin|
The crew is awesome we finished our three week thinning project in two, so the Forest Service sent us to a knew location. We were pretty excited to get out of the rain (which has been going nonstop for awhile now). The Forest Service sent us to the Portage Valley which is at the very end of Turnagain Arm. When we arrived we realized that we were not getting out of the rain. Talking to a few locals and other Forest Service members, we found out Portage Valley has the worst weather in Alaska. It likes to rain sideways there. But it was the last week of work, so we said “Bring It On!”. The projects we worked on in Portage Valley needed a little chainsaw work, lots of brush moving, and some restoration work. We worked on two main projects. One was clearing the “view shed” at a viewing platform of alders. Alders seem to always be in the way in Alaska. Once those were cut down it made for a great view of some wetlands where lots of migratory birds pass by.
The other project was working along a stream-bank where salmon run. A platform was made over the stream, so people can view the life cycle of salmon. On the other side of the stream alders grew so thick that bears could be hiding a few feet from people with no one knowing. The alders were cut so there won’t be any bear/people run ins, those usually don’t end well. After the alders were cut we planted willow stakes so the stream bank isn’t so clean cut. Finishing our projects in Portage Valley signaled an end to our season. It was a great season with so many grand memories, more than we could put in this blog.