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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
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June 2, 2004     Hells Canyon Journal
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June 2, 2004
 

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Per Timber Harvest, Trailhead and Prescribed Burn Ahead for by Patti Walker of the Hells Canyon Journal Analysis to evaluate the impacts of a large scale United States Forest Service vegetation management pro- ject on the west wall of Pine Valley, and on the east side of the Pine Creek drainage be- tween Cornucopia and Car- son, will be completed by summer's end. Preliminary fieldwork and scoping to de- velop initial proposed actions began last summer. The Pine Valley Vegetation Management Project, at eleva- tions between 4,000 and 6,800 feet, will involve 2,252 acres of forestland and include some mix of commercial harvest, non-commercial harvest and prescribed burning. While still in the forma- tive stages, forest service of- ficials say that proposals could recommend between three and four million beard feet of timber be harvested. The initial proposal calls for harvesting 2,205 acres, in- cluding 111 acres of regen- eration harvesting, 767 acres of commercial thinning and 1,327 acres of partial removal. Panter Creek Traflhead The establishment of a three-season trailhead near Panter Creek, with enough parking to accommodate 10- 12 pick-up/horse trailers, restrooms, information beard, fee tube, hitch rails and a small corral is also in- cluded in the proposal. For- estry officials say limited pub- lic land near the trail system complicates a trailhead loca- tion. A recreational easement on private land nearer to the trail system is also being ex- plored. The Panter Creek site could require the construc- tion of a connector trail to connect the trailhead to the existing trail system, and an access road from either the state highway or one of the existing roads, to the trailhead site. Harvest Terms: Rvgeneratiem harvut (REG): removes the ma- jority of an existing stand of undesirable trees and desirable tree species are replaced through planting or natural seed fall. Oommervial (HTH}: is used in areas determined to be over- stocked with trees with the aim of reducing trees to promote larger growth and favoring the species most disease and fire re- sistant and suited to the site. Partial s'emova/01t17R) is designed to return a site to its historically domi- nant species of trees, tak- ing out competing trees. Valley According to Dick Haines, Whitman Unit Ranger, the Pine Valley Vegetation Man- agement Project was devel- oped in response to discus- sions and comparisons of the existing and desired condi- tions of the timber resources. Comments at a public meet- ing in Halfway in 2003, con- cerning the lack of public ac- cess to the extensive Eagle Cap Wilderness trail system that begins near the old his- toric Cornucopia town site, led to the proposed trailhead component of the project. "The forested vegetation has moved away from his- torical conditions for the pre- dominant ecotype of warm/ dry grand fir, creating the need to reduce the risk of cata- strophic fire, especially in the interface with private lands and structures," Haines said. "Initial analysis indicated that many stands require ac- tive management to move the landscape towards the de- sired condition." An analysis of the current road system along with the vegetative, water, soil, wild- life, cultural, mineral and botanical resources in the area will be conducted this summer. "Some parts of the project area have an extensive road system to accommodate tim- ber harvest," said Haines, ~while other parts have very limited road systems "and were primarily helicopter logged in the past." According to Lyrme Smith, forest service spokesperson for the project, temporary spur roads off established roads could be used to facili- tate commercial harvest in certain areas. Potential im- pacts of doing so would be evaluated before any action would be taken. None of the proposed actions would take place in roadless areas. The forest service is ask- ing for comments and assis- tance in identifying issues connected with the proposed project. Haines indicated that further information and con- cerns about the project from Forest Service fieldwork and interested parties would shape alternatives to the pro- posed action. There is no deadline for comments, and any identified actions would not take place until sometime next year. Forest officials are plan- ning a public meeting for late June to get public comments. Written comments can be submitted now to Dick Haines or Lynne Smith at the Pine Office, Whitman Unit, 38470 Pine Town Lane, Halfway, Oregon 97834, or e-marled to Lynn Smith at lksmith Haines and Smith are also available for telephone comments at 541-523-1901 or 541-742-6715 respectively. Honoring Fallen Comrades Photo by Steve Bltckstrom MEMBERS OF VFW POST 7847 AND LADIES AUXILIARY, shown here at Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway, conducted Memorial Day services on Monday, May 31 in both Richland and Halfway to honor thier fallen comrades. Scholarships Availabl for Leadership Program by Steve Backstrom of the Hells Canyon Journal Two scholarships are avail- able for residents of the Pan- handle to participate in the Leadership Baker program during the coming year. Funded by a grant from Idaho Power Company and chan- neled through United Com- munity Partners, the schol- arships, in the amount of $250 each, are available for any- one in Richland, Halfway or the Snake River communi- ties of Oxbow and Brownlee. Tuition for the nine-month program is $500, so the local scholarships cover one-half of the program's cost. More in- formation, including applica- tions packets for Leadership Baker, is available from Kaye Crane at U.S. Bank's Half- way branch. "I think it's a great pro- gram," said Crane. "We're hopeful that people who would participate would be ople who would turn around and become leaders in the comm ty and in the chamber. I'd suggest that scholarship applicants come to a UCP meeting and make that request." Scholarships in the amount of $250 are also avail- able from Baker County Un- limited, so an enterprising individual could have their entire tuition to the countywide leadership pro- gram covered. For more in- formation about the Baker County Unlimited scholar- ships, call BCU at 541-523- 5855. Leadership Baker will be- gin its fourth year of offering leadership training, an over- view of what's happening in Baker County and opportu- nities to network with other up-and-coming county lead- ers when the program re- sumes in September. All-day classes are held once a month from September through May. Each class focuses on a specific topic or pair of topics, such as agriculture, business and industry, medical and emergency services, govern- ment and justice, education and media, culture and his- tory, etc. Classes usually begin at the Blue Mountain Commu- nity College facility in Baker City and often involve a tour related to the topic for that month. (Lunch and snacks are always provided.) One such tour brought Leadership Baker to Richland, Halfway and Oxbow in mid-March of this year (see "Getting Ac- quainted with the Pan- handle" Hells Canyon Jour- nalMarch 17, 2004). Former Pine District Ranger Dave Schmitt became the first resident of the local communities to participate in Leadership Baker last year. Schmitt was impressed with how thoroughly the program acquaints its participants with what's happening in Baker County. "I was very much im- pressed. I think the biggest thing I came away with was the variety of different busi- nesses and activities going on across the county. A num- ber of those are what I'd call state of the art operations. "The purpose of the pro- gram is to train people who are interested in being lead- Con Luued on page 8 Recreation Improvements in the Works Near Cornucopia by Patti Walker ~ He//s Canyon Journal Three new stock and foot bridges are being pro- posed for the main and east forks of Pine Creek, above the historic Cornucopia town site. The bridges are part of a number of proposed U.S. For- est Service recreation projects for Pine, Baker, and Unity Ranger Districts. Pine Lakes Trail Bridge #3 would be built approxi- mately one mile above Cor- nucopia on the Main Fork of Pine Creek. It replaces an original mining bridge con- structed of native materi- als, which lasted 30-plus years, and a 35 to 40-foot wooden, glue-laminated stringer replacement built in 1996, which was de- stroyed in a subsequent ava- lanche. The bridge provides a link to Trail #1880. Trail #1865 on East Fork Pine Creek is slated to get two new bridges. One would be constructed about a mile above Cornucopia, the other two miles above. They will be 30 to 40 foot wooden bridges. Currently, there is only a single log footbridge on East Fork Pine Creek. "We are just at the envi- ronmental assessment stage," said Tom Smit, For- est Service spokesperson for the project. "Survey and de- sign will take place next year, with construction slated for 2006." Smit said the Forest Service will be looking hard at design, which may require aslight over- buildto accommodatethe some- times heavier-than-average snow loads the bridges are ex- pected to withstand. A new trailhead linked to the Eagle Cap Wilderness trail system, part of another proposed Forest Service Project, may also be con- structed in the vicinity. According to Smit, new private recreation develop- ment in the area is not the motivating factor behind the proposed forest service im- provements. "We've wanted to do a trail head at Cornucopia since I got here in 1989," he said. "Cornucopia has limited flat terrain and private land holdings that make recre- ation area development there a problem. Also, the listing of the Bull Trout as a threatened species and the hazardous mine tailing clean-up have also delayed things." According to Smit, fund- ing has also been an issue. Forest Service bridge con- struction funding is competi- tive, and must be shared throughout a regional area encompassing Oregon and Washington states. In other recreation im- provement projects on the Pine District, one of two newer vault toilets will be removed from Lily White and moved to Tamarack Camp- ground. According to Smit, public use of Lily White does not warrant two toilets and budget constraints make it hard to construct new facili- ties at sites in need of im- provements. For additional information about these proposed projects, orto make comments or suggestions, contact Tom Smit by phone at 541-742- 7511 or by mail at Pine Ranger District, 38470 Pine Town Lane, Halfway, Oregon 97834.