'Ground-truthing' the project: Citizens Council checks it out
Last updated 11/13/2020 at 4:02pm
Late successional reserves. Matrix shaded fuel breaks. Riparian reserves.
It can be hard for ordinary folks to wrap their head around the terminology used to characterize the proposed Twisp Restoration Project, a plan developed by the Methow Valley Ranger District that covers more than 77,000 acres.
So a dozen Twisp River residents and interested community members joined the Methow Valley Citizens Council (MVCC) last week for a "ground-truthing" expedition in the upper Twisp River. They got a crash course on how to evaluate forest types and conditions on the ground so they can provide informed comments to the ranger district.
MVCC Public Lands Coordinator and forester Sam Israel and Executive Director Jasmine Minbashian provided a basic overview of the project. The complex proposal, at more than 500 pages, includes descriptions of treatments and 15 evaluations from specialists on topics such as wildlife, economics and recreation. It was released in late October.
The project is huge, encompassing McClure Mountain and Alder Creek, the Twisp River drainage, Thompson Ridge and Chickadee near Sun Mountain, and Wolf Creek. The size of the area also means an enormous variety of forest types and conditions.
Israel explained what foresters look for when they assess an area. He handed out lengths of string so participants could measure trees to understand which ones the district is proposing to log and which would be retained. In some areas, the proposal calls for removing trees as large as 30 inches in diameter, which can include large, old-growth trees, Israel said.
The group visited three areas to see different forests up close. Since the area to be treated is so large and much of the forest is currently inaccessible because of snow and ice, those visits provided just a glimpse of the on-the-ground implications.
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