Author: Alex Dolk

Raising 5,200 Children by Shovel and Machete

This January the Hansons embarked on a large reforestation project on their forest near Olympia, Washington. Comprising 18 acres and 5,200 seedlings, it’s been their most ambitious planting job to date — one that has had Hanson parents, kids, and grandkids weathering much of the current pandemic from deep in the forest.

Continue »

A Field Guide to Harvest Equipment

The forests of the Pacific Northwest are teeming with movement and noise—not all of it animal in origin! Stroll through an NNRG member forest undergoing an ecological harvest or thinning and you might catch a glimpse of one of these logging machines (don’t forget to wear appropriate safety-gear!).

Continue »

Seeing the Forest for the Tech

Advances in tech seem to happen so rapidly it can be hard to keep up. Super-efficient heavy machinery, digital applications, remote sensing & mapping tools, and drone technology have changed the way we manage forests.

Continue »

Beavers, Bobcats, and Bears, Oh My!

If a bear ambles through a forest while no one’s watching, was it really there? Thanks to wildlife cams — and our understanding of the metaphysical possibility of unperceived existence — we know that bear was really there!

Continue »

Resources for Building Wildlife Nesting & Roosting Boxes

In Pacific Northwest forests, dead wood works wonders for wildlife. But when there isn’t enough naturally occurring dead wood around, you might need to do some woodworking yourself. Wood duck carefully inspecting a nesting box. Photo by Mark Biser. Snags—standing dead or dying trees—are important forest structures for cavity-dependent birds and small mammals, food sources for woodpeckers and other foragers, and slowly release nutrients into the ecosystem with the help of decomposers. But second and third-growth forests often lack sufficient snags because they were removed during previous intensive forest management, or the few remaining are in advanced stages of decay.

Continue »

Women in the Woods: Then and Now

Here we are at the beginning of National Women’s History Month, this Sunday is International Women’s Day (March 8th), and it feels like the right time to shout from the rooftops how important women are to sustaining healthy forests. That fact doesn’t change when March ends — so we promise not to stop shouting it!

Continue »

Keeping an Eye on the Back 40

Regular, rigorous monitoring is an important part of good forest stewardship. No one knows this better than Chris Goodman. Chris and his family own and take care of Back40 Quinault Forest, an aptly named 40-acre forest near Lake Quinault in Grays Harbor County. Since acquiring the forest in 2008, monitoring has been a critical component of how Chris manages his forest. In conversation Chris mentions monitoring canopy closure, seedling growth, trees per acre, soil pH, and air temperature—not to mention elk browse, camera trap photos, bird box usage, elk herd movements, and bear damage. (Phew!) His strategy has its roots

Continue »

Forestry for the Generations

Ayers’ Last Stand has roots that go four generations deep. When Matt Patton and his kids play in their forest, they’re climbing, hiding, and running around some of the same trees Matt’s great-great-grandfather knew. Matt’s kids are the sixth generation in his family to experience the forest—known as Ayers’ Last Stand—and likely not the last. Today the forest’s 210 acres are FSC®-certified through NNRG’s group certificate. But Ayers’ Last Stand came into being long before FSC® existed, when the family of Matt’s maternal great-great-grandfather moved from Connecticut to Thurston County in the 1890s. “They started farming on some of the

Continue »

Making a Good Co-Home

There’s a hint of expectation in the air around Lousignont Creek, located in the northern Oregon Coast Range.Sometime in the next two months, adult coho salmon will appear as if out of nowhere and struggle upstream in search of suitable gravel for spawning.

Continue »

A Tale of Two Thinnings

Two members of NNRG’s group FSC certficate, Kopel Family Forest and Ferris Family Forest, are both commercially thinning their forests—a strategy that works to achieve both landowners’ goals for their lands. 

Continue »

From Tinderbox to Fire-Resilient Forest

Tree by tree, Tierra Learning Center is coaxing 250 acres of dark dense woods into open forests with room for larger trees and resilience to wildfire. Tucked amid the picturesque hills of Sunitsch Canyon, just a few miles up the Chumstick Valley outside of Leavenworth, there is a collaborative community of artists, educators, learners, farmers, and land stewards. This is Tierra Learning Center, a member of NNRG’s Forest Stewardship Council® group certificate, where care takers are carrying out fuel reduction and thinning projects to protect the community and help the forest regain characteristics of wildfire resilience. Signpost with some of Tierra

Continue »

Forest Bats of the Pacific Northwest

Imagine stepping into your forest at night and being utterly swarmed by flies, mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. Glad that’s not the case? Thank a bat. Bats flit through our Pacific Northwest forests every night, but it’s easy to forget they exist. After all, we almost never encounter them (except on October 31st, when they appear taped to our windows, carved into pumpkins, and ringing our doorbells begging for candy). And yet—if all bats disappeared overnight, we’d likely notice their absence very quickly as insect populations boomed and our evening walks became nightly games of “let’s see who can carry on a

Continue »

NNRG Members Are Harvesting More Than Timber From Their Forests

Finding creative ways to derive enjoyment—and a little extra income—from non-timber forest products. Many forest owners enjoy the pleasures and profits that Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) bring. Broadly speaking, NTFPs are forest products or services aside from commercially harvested timber that have potential personal or commercial value.  NTFPs range from foraged berries and mushrooms to holiday wreaths and essential oils, from firewood to agricultural soil amendments, and on and on. Sometimes commercial services like tourism are considered NTFPs.  Two members of NNRG’s FSC® Group Certificate are capitalizing on some of the NTFPs in their forests. We hope their experiences inspire some curiosity in other landowners about the NTFPs

Continue »

Forest Recipes for the Adventurous

You’ve probably heard of stinging nettle tea — how about stinging nettle pesto? Japanese knotweed hummus? These six recipes draw from the bounty found in Pacific Northwest forests – both wild and urban lands.

Continue »

Featured Member: Still Waters Farm

By the time Beth and Mark Biser bought Still Waters Farm in 1990, the 48-acre parcel of forest in Mason County, Washington was a shell of its former self. Its 20 acres of wetlands had suffered two major disturbances.

Continue »

Sometimes, a forest just needs a little TLC (Thinning, Love, and Cost-share reimbursement)

As lifelong forest owners Rod and Diana Hanson were no strangers to land stewardship when they bought 70 acres near Black Diamond, WA in 2011. But the forest they purchased was a far cry from their vision of a mixed-species, mixed-age, biologically rich ecosystem that could also yield valuable wood products. The property had previously been owned by an industrial timber company that managed the land for short-term economic returns. The company had clearcut the property in the early 1980s and densely re-planted it all with Douglas-fir, the most commercially valuable species in our region. Several Douglas-fir stands were dark

Continue »

Member Spotlight: Smelling the Forest for the Trees

Brothers Jim and Ed Merzenich, along with Jim’s wife, Karen Wilson, steward Oak Basin Tree Farm: nearly 1,000 acres in the Coburg Hills outside of Brownsville, Oregon at the south end of the Willamette Valley. Oak Basin Tree Farm is Forest Stewardship Council® certified through NNRG’s group certificate.

Continue »