Camp Murnane Forest Update (June 2017)
As many are aware, the December 2016 ice storm was historic. The storm was particularly damaging to Lane County and especially heavy in the Coyote Creek Valley. Sadly, Camp Murnane’s forested hillsides suffered extensive damage with many fallen trees, blow-downs, and several trees with broken tops, which eventually kills the tree. The access road was impassible and a few Adirondack shelters were surrounded by downed timber. After surveying the damage, the camp has been closed until more clearing work can be done. It is not currently a safe place for Scouts to experience the outdoors.
Oregon Trail Council has several camp properties. Each is cared for and managed by experienced volunteer committees. With the long-term health of the forests of Murnane in mind, the forest managers on these committees have personally surveyed the damage and determined there are only two options for recovering from the damage.
Option 1: A selective “salvage” harvest to remove fallen, broken, and dangerous timber. This proposal allows the most of the forest to remain, but has several drawbacks: it is not cost-effective, it does not improve the long-term health of the forest allowing “trash trees” and invasive species to fill voids, and it exposes the forest to be more prone to wind damage in the next storm, potentially when Scouts are camping.
Option 2: A full harvest and re-plant of the timber along the south hillside and surrounding the access road. The trees along the meadow and near the camping and program areas would remain as they suffered little damage and are not it need of clearing. The primary downside to this option is short-term appearance. The hillside will be clear cut and replanted. The plan ensures the long-term health of the forest without threats of more wind damage or invasive species. Scout packs and troops will be involved in replanting. Small trees will cover the hillside in a few years. Any revenue generated will be permanently endowed and allocated toward capital property improvements.
It is the opinion of the volunteer committee that a full harvest is the best overall solution for the long-term health of the forest. In addition to involving Scouts in the replanting process, it has been proposed that this work can be a great teaching opportunity for Scouts to see first-hand the requirements in merit badges like Forestry, Soil & Water Conservation, and Plant Science.
Work is anticipated to begin as soon as possible. Updates will be published as it develops. Your patience is appreciated. Note that Camp Kitson, near Oakridge, suffered no damage from the storm and is ready to serve your Scouts. Work is also being done at Weyerhauser Woods, a primitive camp near Little Fall Creek, to better serve weekend campers.