One day this past October, I decided it was time to make a trip to the woods with the goal of finding the first and the last reforestation projects on which I worked. At first thought, my plan seemed so simple; grab my camera, some food and water, then head to the woods. Upon further contemplation, it occurred to me that during my career, I had work on at least 560 separate projects. Without question, I remembered the last project, but the first one was a little more difficult to recall since nearly thirty two years had passed. So in the spirit of full disclosure, my “Alpha Project” is shall we say among the first of my career but likely not the actual first!
The Alpha Project
This is a stand of Douglas-fir trees that were planted during the winter of 1978. I should have included some point of reference for scale but on average, the trees in the foreground have diameters ranging between 12 and 14 inches. By convention, a tree’s diameter is measured at a point that is 4.5 feet above the base of the tree. Visiting a stand of trees this age is a joy because you can walk about and not get wacked in the face by branches!
The Omega Project
I will never forget the Omega Project; we planted the seedlings on a rather cold and wet day in March of 2007. The project area was located down the end of a vacated dirt road so we hiked nearly a quarter mile slipping in the mud the entire way. Oh yea, it was fun, fun, fun!!
The final unit was also a vast departure from the norm in that it was reforested with red alder seedlings. For the majority of my career, red alder was considered a weed species of little value and no one ever thought about using it in a reforestation project. Oh how the world of forestry has changed since beginning my career in 1977.
Again some point of reference for scale would have been useful but I left home without one the day of this trip. The alder seedlings shown above are three years of age and range in height from 8 to 10 feet. Given their rapid growth potential, by the end of the summer of 2011 it will be extremely difficult to walk between the trees without getting wacked in the face by a branch.