Our Annual News Recap
Hyla Woods News – November 2013:
The deadline of once again writing to invite you to join us in welcoming the spawning coho back to the forest constructively prods us to send along the following chronicle of forest highpoints from the past year. As stewards of these community-connected forests, we value and welcome the many and varied forms of involvement that so many of you have with the forests. Keeping you posted is one way we try to show our appreciation and encourage your ongoing involvement.
News of Note:
- Restoration Continues – Because it is increasingly clear that the core of our work is rewilding the forests – in ways that make economic sense – it is understandable that much of our work falls under the heading of “restoration”. Active oak restoration continues in Mt. Richmond Forest. Working in cooperation with US Fish and Wildlife Service, Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District and others, we are in our 15th year of restoring our oak stands by both removing light robbing fir and carefully thinning the oak. In the Timber forest, efforts to return pastures to ecologically functional forests are proving successful, following years of battling invasive broom and seedling munching elk. The results of stream restoration on Lousignont Creek are encouraging. After two rounds of large wood placement over the past 15 years, the creek is now actively recruiting its own large wood from undercut trees falling into the creek. And finally, the wetland restoration project driven by the faculty and students of Pacific University’s Ecological Restoration course at Mt. Richmond has succeed in converting the invasive choked “Bear Pear” wetland back into a diverse community of native plants. Special thanks to the many people and organizations that have helped – and keep helping – with this work.
- Biodiversity Firsts – Reminded of the truth in the statement that “every day the forests have something new to teach us – if we are paying attention”, this fall has provided three “firsts”. Though we have always known that wild members of the cat family are important parts of the forests’ community, we have been surprised by how little evidence we have of their presence. The long hunt for proof of cougar in our forests came to an end this October, when Jeremy Milton, forest keeper at Timber, captured, with his game camera, video of a cougar stalking a deer. The second “first” is also credited to Jeremy, when he and his daughter, Lauren, watched an otter climbing across new log jams in Lousignont Creek. And the final “first” is our first speedy retreat from an encounter with forest wildlife. Though encounters with bears are not uncommon, particularly at Mt. Richmond, when four of us found ourselves between a sow and her treetop climbing, beautiful cub, we knew that it was time to retreat.
- A Forest Mystery – Who (or what) done it? Up until about two years ago all three forests had solid colonies of resident beavers – chomping, dam and den building and habitat improving. As of this fall, all of the beavers appear to be gone. Disease? Killed? Shifted to better habitat? If you want to join the detective team, let us know.
- New Products Available – We are pleased to be offering two new products, in addition to the flooring, specialty lumber, and firewood that we regularly sell. Cutting boards made from oak and maple in various sizes and styles are now available. More information may be found in the blog section of the rebuilt website (www.hylawoods.com). Perhaps a fit for your holiday gift list? Cutting boards are available from both of the Food Front groceries or directly from us. As part of our ongoing efforts to better link the worlds of good forest and good farms, we are pleased to be working with our friends at the Dancing Roots Farm CSA to make the boards available, as an extension on which to chop their terrific produce. Making full use of remarkable, large cedar logs salvaged from the forest, we have milled and dried a range of tongue and groove paneling products in a variety of dimensions and grades. We’re happy to provide more information.
- Educational Cooperation and Citizen Science – Students and faculty, ranging from graduate students to second graders, continue to do active research and learning in the forests. Recent examples include Pacific University Environmental Science students completing their annual creek monitoring and Catlin Gabel School second graders beginning their yearlong investigation of “who’s home?” in the Timber forests. Regular updates on both the work and the results may be found on our blog. Thank you to all involved.
- More and Better Information Now Available – Over the years, our simple and humble website has played an important role in knitting together the web of cooperation related to Hyla Woods. Fortunately the website has recently benefitted from a much needed complete rebuild. Special thanks go to Ben Hayes for taking the lead as the “chief wire twister”. We invite and encourage you to take a minute to explore at: www.hylawoods.com. As always, many more questions than answers.
- Build Local Alliance Grows and Thrives – This forward looking network continues to make impressive progress toward providing “the wood we need from the forests we love”. At Hyla Woods we are pleased to be active members and supporters. We encourage you to join us. www.buildlocalalliance.org.
On the Horizon – As always, we hope to see you in one of the forests in the coming year. Here is information on some of the opportunities:
1) Annual Cohoho Rendezvous – December 7th.
2) Spring Forest Work Day – If you enjoy combining your exploration of the forests with rolling up your sleeves to do some useful work, consider joining us for a day of trail building and good company. With the goal of providing better access for student scientists to Mt. Richmond’s Beaver Pond Wetland’s, this year’s project will be constructing a loop trail around this unique wetland. All are welcome. Date to be decided. For more information, please contact Peter.
3) Student Forest Research Depends on Reliable Adult Helpers – Every year we put out multiple “help wanted” calls to volunteers willing to help with student work in the forests. If you would like to be added to the “call list”, please let us know.
4) “Exploring our Forests’ Ecological Mysteries and Wonders” – In partnership with the North Coast State Forest Coalition, we look forward to offering a day of walking, exploring, and learning in our Timber Forest and adjacent state and industrial lands this spring. If you would like to come along, please let us know.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in and involvement with Hyla Woods and best wishes for the coming holidays. We hope to see you soon.
– The hayes family