Hyla Woods News – Thanksgiving 2010

Posted in Blog

Hyla Woods News – November 2010:

Piles of leaves, cold rain, rising creeks, and shrinking daylight remind us that the coho are headed upstream and it’s about time to share some news and deliver some invitations. The ways in which so many of you have been directly involved with the forests during the past year suggests that we are making progress toward sorting out what it might mean to be a “community-connected forest”. You are a diverse lot – loggers, teachers, ornithologists, furniture makers, foresters, students, millers, conservationists, professors, elected officials, contractors, agency and non profit staff, artists; young and old – and we appreciate and enjoy your involvement in this adventure of trying to figure out what approaches might work best – for forests and people. As in the past, we share below invitations that we hope will lure you out to the forests in the coming months, news from the woods, and a few puzzlers aimed at stirring your thinking.

Six Good Reasons…..
Please consider making it out to the forests in the coming months. Six, open to all, opportunities are on the horizon:
1. Something Fishy – Cohohoho Rendezvous – Sat. December 18, 10 AM – dusk – Family fun in the cold, wet, dark, muddy forest, welcoming coho back to Lousignont Creek. Good cheer guaranteed – and fish are up to the fish (numbers have been low for the past few years). (late breaking news: they’re back! 20 beautiful fish in ¼ mile on Nov. 20th)
2. Owl Monitoring – In spite of the potentially negative consequences of a positive find, this year we plan to expand our bird monitoring program to the nocturnal world of owls on several evenings in January or February. Hoo will join us?
3. Annual Amphibian Roundup – Saturday April 2 – A great way to learn about the forests and amphibians as we visit all forest wetlands in a day, under the leadership of amphibian expert, Char Corkran.
4. Annual Bird Monitoring – Rise before the birds to help with three annual bird counts in our Timber Forest in early May. Birding expertise is not required, but is always welcomed.
5. Spring Celebration Day – For those who want to explore the forest in the warm, green, full flush of May. With this new event we plan to try a mix of forest exploring, logging/sawmilling, trail clearing, and possibly a teachers’ summit and a bit of potluck music. Date to be determined in late May.
6. Support the Schools – The multiple teachers who regularly work in our forests with their students often need and welcome an extra, level headed adult to help work with the group. If you’d like to be added to the “on call” list, let us know.
RSVP, please – If you’d like to join us and/or learn more, please send an e-mail to: peter_hayes@comcast.net.
News – A Taste of Life in the Woods in 2010:
• Let ‘em Grow – With log markets continuing to be depressed, we’ve limited our logging to what is needed to keep our “in house” milling and drying operation supplied.
• Who’s Home? – This year we’ve expanded our monitoring program in a number of ways, including inclusion of remote wildlife cameras, installed and cared for by Joe Furia and our team of hunters. It is exciting to see photos of the bears and bobcats that we know are there, but seldom see.
• Visitors and Constructive Critics – We’ve been fortunate to welcome a series of knowledgeable and interested visitors in the forests, including: faculty of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, staff of the Pacific Forest Trust, members of the Tualatin and Upper Nehalem Watershed councils, and World Forestry Center International Fellows. We learn from their constructive critique and suggestions.
• Where Are We Going? During last winter’s rains we completed a thorough rewrite of the stewardship plans for the forests. It provided an important chance to assess where we are, where we’ve come from, where we aim to go, and how we intend to get there. If you’d like a digital copy, let us know.
• The Research Team – Our base of knowledge about the forests continues to expand thanks to the contributions of our decentralized research team. Key contributors include: Forest Grove Community School studying stream health and forest history, Pacific University studying amphibians, restoration techniques and a range of other topics, OSU College of Forestry studying the forest’s response to logging experimentation, and annual counts by our birding team.
• Where Does the Wood Go? After years of watching our wood disappear into the anonymous pipeline of large sawmills, it is exciting to see our finished products in homes in our community, including: flooring and ceiling paneling in the Chamberlain’s new home on the coast, the oak floor in Joan Williams’ NW Portland home, trim and maple floors in the Granger’s innovative new home in NE Portland, and firewood heating homes throughout the region. Increasingly, when a tree hits the forest floor, we know where it is headed.
• Focus on Products – Over time we’ve learned that we are best suited to producing the following finished products: flooring, select lumber, fir trim, and paneling in cedar and fir. If you’d like to consider using some Hyla Woods wood for an upcoming project, we’re happy to provide more information.
• Save the Oak – Start the Saw – After a three year break from doing any significant logging, we are working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to organize several projects primarily focusing on removing fir that is out competing and killing some of our unique oak stands.
• Art in the Woods – Over the past year, encouraging progress has been made toward our goal of integrating arts throughout the forests. Highlights have included: Forest Grove Community Schools creative “wishes for the fishes” hanging welcoming coho home, the sharing of a new, forest-based novel by author Kristin Kaye over dinner discussions in the forest, and inspiring projects by students of the Seattle Waldorf School
• Improved Forest Access – Our Timber forest is a great place for walking, and has gotten even better in the past year. Student skill and labor have created four new trails providing linked access to important corners of the forest. The For the Birds Trail, built by students from Catlin Gabel School, connects the end of the west side road to the NW corner of the Nedow, Seattle Waldorf 10th graders and Montessori Earth School students teamed up to create a great West Creek Trail, and Seattle Waldorfers also created the Raven’s Way Trail through the dense Christmas Tree Patch, and the Cabin Creek Cut Through Trail. All routes are getting good use by students, other researchers, hunters, ……and the occasional bear. Thanks to all for the hard work.
And Now for the Puzzler – In the form of a pair of questions:
Background – As most of us know, society expects private forests to provide a range of important services – including wood, clean and clear water, habitat for the many species we all depend on, carbon sequestration, scenic views, etc., yet the landowner is financially rewarded for providing only one of these services – timber.
Question 1: Should the status quo be maintained, or should we work to find equitable ways to compensate private forest owners for providing essential public services?
Question 2: If changes should be made, which approach makes the most sense, creating individual markets and agreements for individual services (carbon, biodiversity….), or bundling the services together and possibly finding ways to include them into the value of the wood that is purchased from the forest owner?

Thank you for reading this and for your involvement with the forests. The attached summary of our operations may be of interest.
If you would like to no longer receive these occasional updates, please let us know.

Best wishes for the holidays and the new year, the Hayes family and the Hyla crew