Christmas Trees Gone Wild

Having been USDA Forest Service Class A Sawyer certified, we were able to remove an old, overgrown Christmas tree farm in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department supplied us with chainsaws and maintenance tools for the job. Oregon is the United State's no. 1 Christmas tree producing state, and in the case of Silver Falls, some of its recently acquired land includes former tree farms.

Sarah Gadomski, Michael Green and Amber Anderson removes fallen Christmas Trees from the area into larger piles to later be removed.

Taylor Burback cuts down a Christmas Tree. We were able to take some back to our temporary residence of the Maud Williamson House.

While at Silver Falls State Park, we took some time to explore the falls that the park is famous for, including the South Falls here, a 93-foot cascade. All waterfalls in the park spill over 15-million-year-old Columbia River basalt.

The Eradication of Sanity

NCCC Team Blue 4 wields weed wrenches used to remove the invasive Scotch Broom at Milo McIver State Park.

The difficulty with removing invasive species is that you never seem to remove everything. It's because of this notion that the work, while physical in nature, is more mentally taxing than anything. Exotic species removal may set the invasion back a few years, but it's really just a small dent in the amount of work that really needs to be done. Why spend long 10-hour days removing a plant when, at the end of the week, there are endless fields of it still in sight? You are told that every bit helps, that persistence in the manual removal of the plant adds up in the long-run. But that's only if crews are continuously sent in to remove it. That, unfortunately, does not happen. Grants to organizations that support crews like ours are sparse and quickly run out of money. It could be years before the next crew is sent in, as evidenced by the 10+ year-old Scotch Broom we were removing. Scotch Broom wasn't eradicated during our time at Milo McIver State Park, and who knows if it ever will be?

NCCC Corps Members exit the government van to begin work at Milo McIver State Park.

The team enters the morning fog.

Corps Member Carolyn Stevens uses a weed wrench to remove a several-year-old Scotch Broom plant. Removing the roots is key to prevent the plant's regrowth.

Scotch Broom is piled up to later be removed.