Join the Oregon Women Owning Woodland Network on Saturday, January 21st for a program on “How to Interpret Your Timber Cruise“. Learn how to understand what a cruise report tells you about your timber, when is the right time to have a cruise done, and options for updating an old one. If you have a cruise report from your own property, bring it along to work with.

Date: Saturday, Jan. 21st, 2012
Time: 9 am to noon (brown bag lunch optional)
Location: Hyla Woods, Timber (owned by the Hayes family) – see flyer for directions

If you are considering a thinning project, join us for an informal, educational field tour just outside St. Helens on Thursday, October 20th, 2:00 – 4:30 pm. Landowner and OSU Master Woodland Manager Vince Cooney finished up a thinning project on his property last month and has offered to host a tour for anyone that would like to learn more about it. We’ll discuss thinning principles, equipment, financial considerations, and follow-up management.

Please RSVP to the Extension office, 503-397-3462 for planning purposes. Directions: From Hwy 30 in St. Helens, turn onto Sykes Rd. (at the Burgerville). Follow about 2.5 miles and at the bottom of a large dip in the road, turn right on to a rocked road marked by a Tree Farm sign.

If you are looking to get outdoors, meet fellow woodland owners, and learn something new, then Saturday, July 23 is the day for you. That day there’s not one, not two, but THREE awesome woodland events to choose from. The hard part may be deciding which one to attend! Here is the rundown:

  • In Vernonia, there’s the Columbia County Small Woodlands Association/OSU Extension Service Summer Woodland Tour & Lunch at the Keasey Tree Farm. Highlights include walking tour and discussion of streamside & upland management, a small scale equipment demo, historic logging exhibit, and a BBQ lunch. Tour begins at 9:00 am. To RSVP, call Bill or Lydia at (503) 556-2014.
  • In Forest Grove, there’s the Washington County Small Woodlands Association summer tour at the Howell Tree Farm, 9 am – 3 pm.  Activities include portable sawmill, firewood processing & pruning demonstrations, stream restoration, walking tour, and a free BBQ lunch courtesy of the Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District, OSWA and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. 51075 NW Cox Rd, Forest Grove. For details, contact WCSWA.
  • Further south, in Lafayette is an event from 2-6 pm sponsored by the Build Local Alliance at the Trappist Abbey. Tour topics will include silviculture, invasive species, FSC wood products and markets, and working forest conservation easements. RSVP to info@buildlocalalliance.org.

It’s nothing new for this time of year, but we sure have seen our share of precipitation lately. While we’ve likely seen the last of the snow (finally), more wet weather is in store. Good for planting trees, but maybe causing problems on your roads. Out in the field over the last several weeks, I’ve seen plenty of issues with roads. Here are some examples.

Example #1: A landowner has a steep, winding access road that leads from her house down to her pasture. Adjacent to the road, a culvert underneath a county road feeds into a small field. But heavy rain washed sediment and gravel off the county road and it collected in front of the culvert, diverting water from the field onto the landowners’ access road. Because the road had not been designed with water diversion features, severe erosion ensued. Lesson: Get the water off your road as soon as possible. Use ditches, waterbars, and cross drains to do so.

Example #2: The sidecast fill failed on an industrial haul road high up along a steep slope, sending a landslide that reached almost down to the fish-bearing stream that the landowner had been working hard to restore. In this case, the road was an old one that would have been designed differently under today’s standards, and if it were not for the need to access a harvestable unit in the near future, the landowner would have closed this road a while back.  Lesson: Old roads are often the worst. If you have an old road that is no longer needed, consider closing and restoring it.

Example #3: Busy beavers have created a pond directly upstream of a culvert on a landowner’s property. A timber company has a road easement to access their land in back of this property, and they dynamited the beaver dam in the past to protect the culvert and the road. But the beavers came back, and the pond is even bigger than before. Now the landowners are concerned that a big rain could cause the culvert to plug and the road to fail. Lesson: No easy solution here. Nature’s engineers are crafty. Re-engineering the stream crossing may be the long-term (but expensive) solution.

If any of these situations sound familiar, or if you have other road issues, check with the friendly folks at the NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation District office. They might have some technical and financial assistance to help you out and protect our watershed health at the same time.