NNRG Helping to Restore Roslyn Urban Forest

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In May 2014, the Roslyn City Council voted to engage with NNRG’s Northwest Certified Forestry program to guide management of their 300-acre urban forest. The Roslyn Urban Forest came under city ownership in 2004, and a Land Stewardship Plan was adopted to clarify the city’s vision for a forest that benefits the human, animal, and plant communities living within it. NNRG’s mission for this project is to demonstrate how active management can achieve restoration goals while generating sufficient income to the city to pay for the project, and also add to the city’s general fund. The first step in this multi-year process is an ecological thinning project on 28 acres north of the city. NNRG is in the process of meeting with logging contractors to review project logistics, and to ensure the city’s management objectives will be met.

The Roslyn Urban Forest is on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, with a mix of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir. The forest is home to roslyndeer, elk, black bear, bobcats, flying squirrels, owls and warblers, and spring wildflowers include lupine, trillium, and calypso orchids. Eight places in the forest are on the Roslyn Register of Historic Places, many of which are old remnants of the city’s coal mining history. In addition, the forest contains several miles of hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and skiing trails, and is neighbored by residential developments.

Roslyn’s forest has not been managed for decades and is extremely overstocked for its age – mostly with Douglas-fir that has grown in amongst the pine in the absence of naturally occurring forest fires. The tree core pictured below tells the story of the stand where the first unit will be harvested. This tree is 107 years old with very tight rings, indicating the incredibly slow growth rates in such a high-density stand. NNRG’s silvicultural approach will be to selectively thin, reducing competition for the remaining trees as well as reducing the risk of high-severity fire. As part of NNRG’s stakeholder outreach process, we hosted a tour of the stand where the first thinning will occur. This was a great opportunity for members of the public to hear about how NNRG will select trees for removal, where haul routes and landings will be located, how slash will be abated, and other logging logistics. The tour was also an opportunity for NNRG to listen to community concerns and answer questions prior to marking trees and laying out the harvest unit.

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NNRG is excited to be helping the City of Roslyn manage their forest for the multiple objectives identified as important by the community. The project is another example of how active management can benefit both ecological and human communities when done right – a notion that is increasingly important in the face of changing climate, conversion of forestlands, and greater risk of fire, disease, and insect outbreaks. Follow along as the project progresses by going here.

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