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Hiking Through The Lifecycle of Oregon Forests


Hiking through OSU’s Macdonald Forest to visit families. Babies, teenagers, baby boomers, grannies, and the graves of past generations. Families of fir and oak and cedar and maple and spruce and redwood and huckleberry and birch and buckhorn.

This photo I took north of the Saddle last weekend sums it up for me. In the foreground, newly planted trees in white mesh bags, below them, slash from a new clear cut, behind it the adolescents (15-20 yrs) and up on the mountains, a patchwork from babies to matriarchs. Deep in the forest, the bones – stumps 20 feet across and old, moss covered logs that tower over me even though the are laying on the ground.

When I first moved to Oregon 27 years ago, I hated the clear cuts. I saw them as scars on the scenery. And when they’re left un-managed, I curse the owners. But for a forest like the Mac, tended by OSU’s School of Forestry, I can get behind the forest’s cycle of life. Hiking along the old logging roads I see their beauty, the wildflowers, the new life. I still hate¬† and cry to see old growth cut – it just seems unnecessary and mean spirited when there’s so little left. But the changes in a working forest are OK by me.¬† – Jean


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