Who doesn’t love summer in Oregon? After making it through a cold, rainy winter and then a warmer (sometimes) rainy spring, we flock outside to enjoy some of the best weather in the lower 48. When the whole “staycation” concept came along, a lot of Oregonians were left scratching their heads. In summer, we’ve been staying near home and vacationing around Oregon seemingly since Lewis and Clark days.
This summer, I’ve developed a list of forest experiences that you can only get in Oregon. My plan is to check most of these off my list this summer, and I hope others will enjoy them too!
1. Travel back in time at Oregon’s The ghost forest of has around 100 stumps and snags from a 2,000-year-old stand of Sitka spruce. The stand was buried by an earthquake and is now a natural phenomenon unique to .
2. Visit one of our amazing six state forests. Oregon has some beautiful featuring trails, campgrounds, day-use areas, wildlife viewing and fishing. If you’re on the west side of Oregon this summer, chances are you will either travel by or through a state forest. Making a short detour to visit one will be something you won’t soon forget.
3. Visit one of our 11 national forests. Yes, you read that right: Oregon has 11 ! From the southern border with California through central Oregon and up into eastern Oregon, you can choose from a wide array of forest types.
4. Take a . I was skeptical about this one, but after doing a little research, I am game to give a forest bath a try. Basically, a forest bath is all about spending time in a forest and was popularized in the 1980s in Japan. All you have to do is walk 30-40 minutes in the woods to get some great stress relief.
5. Take a hike in . For the Portlanders among us, this is a great place to consider for that forest bath. Forest Park is one the country’s . So if you really can’t leave town, you can still spend time in a forest!
6. Visit the . The World Forestry Center is located in Washington Park, right next door to the Children’s Museum and The Oregon Zoo. Maybe you’ve wondered about the World Forestry Center after seeing the signs on Highway 26 leading out of Portland? The is a great place to visit and learn more about the importance of forests and trees in our lives.
7. Mountain bike in the Some of the best trails in the southern Cascades are found in this national forest. Make sure you pick the trail that matches your experience level.
8. Hang out in a I am probably not the right demographic for the new in Bend, but if you like bunking with a group of friends in a shared room and spending the evening in a hammock under the stars and trees, then this is the place for you. It also comes complete with free events, pool and Wi-Fi.
I have always loved walking through the woods looking for wildlife. As a wildlife biologist, I get to do this a lot. Most of the time, I’m looking for northern spotted owls at night. But recently, I got to join Brent Barry, a research wildlife biologist with Oregon State University, to look for fishers – during the day!
Fishers are furry, forest-dwelling carnivores about the size of a housecat. A member of the weasel family, fishers are only found in North America. A small population lives in southern Oregon forests, although they once roamed across a larger part of the state, and Brent is involved in a fisher monitoring project located on the Klamath Plateau. Our goal was to check the traps he’d set, document known fisher den sites and retrieve the motion-sensing cameras that snap a photo whenever wildlife passes nearby. I had never seen a fisher in the wild, so I was supremely excited about the day.
In the photo above, you can see the live trap where we were hoping to find a fisher. Bait is used, and it smells terrible. Worse is a special scent that attracts fishers (and sometimes skunks, I’m told), but it is so strong that it’s usually stored in the bed of a pickup truck. It’s really gross.
After we finished checking the traps and none had fishers in them, I tried not to be too disappointed that we didn’t catch anything. We then met the rest of the crew and went to document known fisher resting and denning sites. This is important to document so we can begin to learn about fisher habitat needs. I work with many landowners who manage forests within the range where fishers live, and they want to know how best to provide fisher habitat on their forestland.
While out in the field with Brent and his team, I learned that fishers need multiple denning and rest sites within their home range. We found the site shown in the photo below and took all sorts of measurements to add this site to the collective database biologists are building about fishers. This den site had fallen over, as older standing dead trees, or “snags,” are prone to do. But it could still be used on the ground by a lot of different species, including fishers.
Next, we removed all the motion-sensing cameras that had been up all season. Biologists have gained a lot of information about fishers through these cameras. This includes their habits, the predators that eat them and even how they move their young. Forest managers and landowners can use this information to help provide the critical features fishers need on the landscape to survive.
I learned a lot spending the day with Brent, and I hope I get to go again! Since this field day, I’ve helped OFRI develop a publication, part of the Institute’s series, on fishers and Humboldt martens, a related species of forest carnivore. If this blog has piqued your interest in fishers, you can learn a lot more about these animals and ways to manage forests to provide habitat for them in this new publication. I invite you to download a copy .
Fran Cafferata Coe
Oregon Forest Resources Institute contract wildlife biologist
Once again it's time to celebrate family forests at the Oregon Small Woodlands Association annual meeting. This year, , a member-based association that represents small woodland owners in Oregon, will hold its June 20-22 in Corvallis. The theme for the three-day meeting, hosted by the is “Research, Policy and Practices for Family Forest Management.”
On Thursday, June 20 you can choose to tour Oregon State University’s new , the mill in Monroe, or or ’s sort yard and shipping operation, both in Philomath.
OSWA’s annual meeting program and awards banquet will take place on June 21 at the in Corvallis. The full-day program includes speakers discussing fire, forest carbon, communications and the latest research on the . Other activities include a silent auction and awards banquet for the OSWA Chapter Volunteers of the Year and the 2019 County Tree Farmers of the Year, among other honors.
The annual meeting will conclude with the 2018 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year Woods Tour on June 22. Participants will visit Oakes Investment, LLC’s forestland near Monroe, which is managed by Don, Darrell and Dena Oakes and has been in the Oakes family since 1883.
Please join us for an informative and fun meeting. Learn more about the event .
For the forest,
Director of Forestry