Archive for the ‘Forest Service’ Category

Telegraph Fire — A Photo Essay   3 comments

Telegraph Fire

The Telegraph Fire is a wildfire in the Tonto National Forest that started west of Globe, Arizona
on June 4, 2021. The fire burned 180,757 acres and was fully contained on July 4, 2021.
It is the largest wildfire in the United States of the 2021 wildfire season so far.
State Highway 77 was closed several times during the life of the Telegraph Fire.
These images were taken July 2nd as we drove back to Tucson after spending
a few days in Pinetop, Arizona.

— kenne

Telegraph Fire
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A dust devil forms.
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Telegraph Fire — Some structures were saved.

Telegraph Fire Images by kenne (July 2,2021)

Aspen Loop One Year Out After The Big Horn Fire   5 comments

SCVN Friday hikes on Mt. Lemmon have

Begun with more excitement than usual,

Last year’s hikes being a casualty of the

Big Horn Fire and the pandemic.

Marshall Gulch #3

Marshall Gulch Parking Area

Leaving behind morning temperatures

In the mid-eights, we gathered at Marshall Gulch

To hike the Aspen Loop, combining the Aspen

And Marshall Gulch trails for a 4.3-mile hike.

 

Marshall Gulch survived the fire, as did

Most of the trail. But the Aspen Trail

Wasn’t so lucky with parts that burned

From the 1993 Aspen Fire burning again.

Aspen Trail (June 15, 2015)

Over the years, I watch aspens and pines

And many other native plants return

Among the charred remains of the Aspen Fire

Only now to experience that same fate.

Last year’s fires were followed by the driest year

On record, delaying the reclamation process

And trail clearing to provide for safe hiking

On the grayest powder covering the trails.

The mountain ferns were among the plants

To return only weeks after containing the fire,

Providing hope to those grieving over the lose

Of so much beauty found on these mountain trails.

Now so exposed, the trail seems longer

Each step requiring a watchful eye

For this out of shape hiker, navigating

The loose gravel and ankle turning rocks.

Just beyond the ridge, a line of trees

Was missed by the very erratic wildfire

As if it turned on a dime, redirecting

The firefighting crew from Montana.

Soon the trail turns away from the freshly

Scared land rambling among tall ponderosas

Shadows formed by the whole clear

Cloudless sky moving across the trail.

Images by kenne

I’ve hiked the trails on Mt. Lemmon

Now ten summers, where troubles cease,

untangled silent knowledge contemplating

A void in a world that exceeds stillness.

— kenne

Giant Reed   Leave a comment

Giant Reed In The Tanque Verde Wash — Image by kenne

Giant reed is an invasive grass common to riparian areas, streams, and rivers throughout the Southwest.
It thrives in moist soils (moderately saline or freshwater), sand dunes, and wetland areas. 

Giant reed forms dense, monocultural stands and often crowds out native vegetation for soil moisture, nutrients, and space.
When dry, it is highly flammable and becomes a fire danger in riparian habitats unaccustomed to sustaining fire.
It uses far more water than native vegetation, thus disturbing the natural flood regime.

Shoots and stems grow rapidly (as much as 4 inches per day during spring), outpacing native plant growth.
Shallow parts of the root system along stream edges are susceptible to undercutting, which contributes to bank
collapse and spreading of reproductive parts downstream. Giant reed grows back quickly following a fire,
thereby increasing its dominance over native riparian species.

I spotted this growth out in the Tanque Verde wash while walking the trail near the wash the other morning.

— kenne

Source: Forest Service

 

Naturalists To Resume Mountain Hikes   Leave a comment

SCVN Friday Hikes In The Santa Catalina Mountains To Resume This Summer — Image from 2017

The last Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) hike was March 2020. The National Forest Service has authorized the SCVN to begin Friday Hikes this June on Mt. Lemmon. The Forest Service will require all volunteers to wear masks at all times while volunteering. The groups will be smaller and maintain social distancing.

— kenne

Fountain Grass   Leave a comment

Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) In Sabino Canyon Recreation Area — Image by kenne

Fountain Grass is a perennial bunchgrass with attractive purple or green flowers. It is an ornamental plant that is still sold in nurseries. Although some nursery varieties are considered “sterile,” no varieties are recommended for planting and landscaping. Fountain grass is a close relative of buffelgrass, the most problematic invasive species in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Fountain grass is present in much of the western United States and is a big problem invasive species in Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and California. 

Fountain grass is a native of Africa. Fountain grass seed was first available in the US around 1880and has been cultivated as an ornamental plant in Tucson since 1940. Records document that fountain grass began establishing itself in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson as early as 1946. 

Fountain grass can form dense stands with several undesirable effects. It provides a large amount of fuel for hot fires that can destroy native plants and animals. It displaces native grasses, blocks the natural flow of water in washes, and alters animals’ habitat, particularly frogs and toads that are sensitive to such changes. Source: National Park Service

Clearing The Forest Floor   2 comments

Clearing The Forest Floor (Santa Catalina Mountains) — Images by kenne

The Forest Service tries to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfire by actively managing the landscape and its fuels. By increasing the spacing between trees and bushes and removing dead and fallen vegetation, we can create a better chance for healthy trees and plants to withstand a wildfire. The above photos show work done by stacking dead and small vegetation that become part of controlled burns in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

— kenne

Sabino Canyon To Reopen With Partial Services   3 comments

CJ Woodard, Santa Catalina District Ranger

On Friday, September 18, 2020, District Ranger conducted a guided tour for Partner members ahead of the Scheduled Reopening of Sabino Canyon Recreational Area on September 21, 2020. Fifteen Partner members, five each from:

Friends of Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon Volunteer Nationalists
Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol

In addition to the following video, images of the Drive-thru are in this Flickr Album.

The Shutdown Hasn’t Stop Volunteers from Providing Services In Sabino Canyon   2 comments

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Sabino Canyon Recreational Area in the Coronado National Forest
has been impacted by the government shutdown
yet remains open to the public with 
the help of volunteer organizations,
Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) 
and the Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol (SCVP)
continuing to provide their services to the public.

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One of the programs provided by the SCVN is daily
environmental education programs for k-6 students.

Each August teachers reserved a date to bring their class
to the Canyon starting in October.

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Because of the shutdown, the Forest Service agreed
to make sure all trash is removed and 
the restrooms are clean
in the areas where the environmental education programs are taking place.

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Teachers select from six programs designed to meet “core curriculum” goals.

Jan Labiner-72.jpgImages by kenne

This past Thursday’s program was “Back To the Past.”
Students learned
about the nature Americans
who lived in Sabino Canyon hundreds of years ago.

— kenne

“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth
who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience,
and just plain loving one another.”

– Erma Bombeck

Sunrise In The Canyon   2 comments

Sunrise (1 of 1) blogSunrise in Sabino Canyon Recreational Area — Image by kenne

This morning the canyon is closed.
The government has shut down again.
Still, the sun comes up unaware as
Shadows move among the coyote or deer — 
Watch me rise and go.

— kenne

Scenic HWY 83   Leave a comment

AZ HWY 83-57 blogScenic HWY 83 (Southeast of Tucson, AZ) — Image by kenne

This is the general area where the Rosemont Mine will be developed in the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. Is there copper in these mountains — Yes. Should it be mined — Yes, only if the mining company reclaims the area but, their past track record says otherwise. But in the end, copper is king in Arizona.

— kenne

 

Learning About Nature Is Fun!   2 comments

Park Ranger and Kid-0108 blogPark Ranger and Kid at Mesa Verde National Park — Image by kenne

During our recent visit to Mesa Verde National Park, I watched a Park Ranger at a demo table doing something we as naturalists do at Sabino Canyon to education visitors to the canyon — couldn’t pass up taking a photo and watching the child’s reaction.

Wild for the Wilderness (1 of 1)-67-2 blogSabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist at Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) programs and nature demonstrations start in October.

— kenne

“Children the world over have a right to a childhood filled with beauty, joy, adventure, and companionship.
They will grow toward ecological literacy if the soil they are nurtured in is rich with experience, love, and good examples.”

— Alan Dyer

 

 

Bee On Thistle Grunge Art   Leave a comment

Southerland TrailBee on Thistle Grunge Art by kenne

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
we need bees, and
bees need you!

— Friends of the Earth

 

Hiking The Bug Springs Trail Photo Essay   Leave a comment

As the lead guide for yesterday’s SCVN Friday hike on the Bug Springs trail, I didn’t take my D800 Nikon, instead I took some photos along the way with my iPhone. This 4.4 mile hike requires us to settle cars from the trailhead to the Green Mountain trailhead, both located along the Catalina Highway. Since the hike has a 1,300 foot change in elevation, we began our hike at the Green Mountain trailhead in the vicinity of Middle Bear campground and picnic area. Hiking the trail in reverse does provide a challenging 400 foot elevation in about 1/3 mile to the highest point on the trail, 6,279 feet.

kenne

(Click on any of the images for a larger view in a slideshow format.)

iPhone Images by kenne (October 14, 2016)

National Public Lands Day — Before and After   2 comments

invasive-plants-1-of-1-pappas-grass-before-blogBefore Image by kenne

This is a before snapshot of soft feather pappus grass in and area where Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN)would be removing invasive plants. Our focus would be to clear this area where we teach elementary children about nature, October through April.

pappus-grass-after-blogAfter Image by kenne

This after image illustrates how effective invasive plants are at crowding out native plants.

diamondback-blogRattlesnake Image by kenne

Removing invasive plants requires a lot of caution, keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes. There is a western diamondback rattlesnake in this image, which is a good example of how well the blend into grass. The snake is coiled center-right in this image.

Towering Douglas Fir Crashes Across the Meadow Trail   Leave a comment

Downed Mt Lemmon Tree (1 of 1) blog

The SCVN Friday hikes on Mt. Lemmon began June 3rd. Part of the hike was on the Meadow trail, which goes through a pine thicket that includes some very large Douglas Firs. On May 4th a 100 feet tall Douglas Fir crashed across the Meadow trail.

Downed Mt Lemmon Tree (1 of 1)-3 blog

Tree ring experts at the University of Arizona estimate the tree was over 300 years old. There had recently been strong winds on the mountain, but it’s still anyone guess that this towering tree toppled. This tree was still relatively young compared to the largest Douglas Fir on Mt. Lemmon, which dates back to the year 1320.

Downed Mt Lemmon Tree (1 of 1)-4 blog

A temporary trail now goes around the fallen tree.

Downed Mt Lemmon Tree (1 of 1)-2 blog

A Forest Service volunteer has begun cutting away large limbs and a large section of the trunk, which will allow hikers to follow the original trail.

Downed Mt Lemmon Tree (1 of 1)-5 blogImages and video by kenne

Fallen Douglas Fir On Mt. Lemmon Video

 

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