Today, we got to go post fishing regulation signs around Applegate Lake, so I got a chance to see parts that I hadn't yet seen. I also got to go up to the smaller Squaw Lakes to post some signs and check out the area. These little lakes were pretty cool and seemed like they had some neat campsites (walk-in and, I think, free). We then went to look for snags (dead trees) again. I have been really enjoying the chance to see the area and driving the network of forest roads. Today was no exception. I got to drive some really bad roads and have been practicing my 4-wheel-drive skills in this big Forest Service truck. I actually really like the technical aspect of driving over ruts, cobbles, and large rocks and getting to feel like I am somewhere nobody has been in a long time. The country is beautiful, but you can really see that this area was flattened for timber in the recent past. The result of this is the Forest Service feeling like they need to thin the understory for their "fuels reduction" program or, as I like to refer to it, "the great fire scare." Unfortunately, I've noticed that this has caused the following effect: a monoculture. Okay, not really a monoculture, but close. What they are keeping is the overstory; the second-growth trees that have grown since the timber industry left or that have survived the timber industry. This translates to mostly Pine and Fir species. What's removed are the hardwoods (Madrone and oaks) and shrubs that are trying to establish themselves. I understand the need to reduce the risk of fire and that this understory is the main way fire spreads, but in doing so, the Forest Service seems to be reducing the chance for forest diversity which seems pretty important to me. Hopefully I will learn more about this along the way and maybe be able to form a more concrete opinion.
Pretty good day.