2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Shrader Old Growth Forest Trail

We picked up a brochure at the trail head and most of the narrative in this post is taken from it.

A common feature of old-growth forests are the distribution of mature trees, generally over 200 years of age and more than 3-feet in diameter.  The trees you see here, primarily Douglas-fir and Port-Orford-cedar, are between 200-250 feet tall.

The old trees have large, irregularly shaped tops.  Some were broken off by winds while others were shaped by dying limbs.  The standing, dead trees are know as snags.  It has been estimated that 65 species of birds, 30 species of mammals, and two species of amphibians use dead trees for shelter, food, or rearing offspring. 

This forest contains a grove of Port-Orford-cedar, which is native to a limited range in southwest Oregon and northwest California.  One of the most valuable softwoods found in the U.S., it is highly prized for its resistance to decay and its resemblance to hinoki cedar from Japan.

Several violent wind storms blew through this area during the winter of 2001-202, knocking down these large old cedar and fir trees.  We can tell a tree's age by counting the rings inside its trunk.  The space between the rings is an indicator of how much the tree grew in one year.  Because of the moist climate, old-growth trees grow slowly and continuously each day over the season.

This is evergreen huckleberry, a favorite treat for humans and wildlife alike.

This is wild rhododendrons, close relatives of the ornamental variety frequently used in home gardens.  They have beautiful pink flowers that blooms in the spring.  These rhododendrons have been growing since the last major fire in this area, over 100 years ago.

It looked like they were getting ready to bloom but this photo was taken in August.

The types of tree species that grow in a forest depend on may factors such as: soil type, climatic conditions, slope direction, elevation, and history of disturbance.  The dominant tree species in this forest are Douglas-fir, Port-Orford-cedar, and tanoak.  The Douglas-fir may live over 600 years, while cedars can live as long as 1,000 years if undisturbed by fire, or other natural processes.  The age of tanoak is difficult to estimate.  More susceptible to fire than cedar or fir, tanoak trunks and crowns often succumb to wildfire, but re-sprout prolifically.  A tanoak tree will have grown since the last fire- approximately 100 years ago- but its root system may be several hundred years old, having re-sprouted many times.
In 1939, the University of Oregon won its first national Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball championship.  This accomplishment was heralded throughout Oregon and the team was nicknamed the Oregon "Tall Firs".  Lauren (Laddie) Gale was a resident of Gold Beach and a member of this famous basketball team.  He continued his basketball career in the AAU league (prior to the NBA) and was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.  This tall Douglas-fir is dedicated to Laddie in celebration of his basketball accomplishments and the fame he won as an Oregon "Tall Fir".

This mammoth tree measures over 10 feet in diameter and 220 feet in height.  It provides a home and resting place to a variety of smaller plants and animals.  it also works as a huge air-filter, cleaning and re-circulating the air we breathe.  This tree contains over 20,000 board feet of wood, enough to build three 3-bedroom homes.

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