County Commissioner and Forester visit Whychus Canyon Preserve
Alan Unger, Dylan Darling, Ed Keith, and Brad Chalfant follow the trail to see recent forest thinning at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Deb Quinlan.
Drawing on a long history of partnership between the Deschutes Land Trust and Deschutes County, the two are working together to improve wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuel conditions.
Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger and County Forester, Ed Keith toured the Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve to see recent forest restoration work designed to improve habitat and reduce fire danger. The smoky skies were a powerful reminder of the nearby Pole Creek Fire zipping through the Deschutes National Forest.
With help from a grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Land Trust recently completed the first phase of forest restoration at the 450-acre Whychus Canyon Preserve. Fire suppression and previous land management practices had contributed to crowding from juniper in stands of ponderosa pine and aspen. These encroaching juniper were thinned from the canyon rim and walls improving habitat for wildlife and also significantly reducing fire hazard.
The Land Trust's ownership and management of contiguous acres of fire-prone habitat allows the Land Trust to work with public agencies on issues such as fuels reduction. Furthermore, as a nonprofit, the Land Trust can apply for funding to do forestry work that reduces fuels and improves habitat. The Land Trust is currently working with Deschutes County to undertake additional forest restoration at Whychus Canyon Preserve by accessing federal funding.