Archive for the ‘Forest Service’ Tag

The First Returners   2 comments

After the Big Horn Forest Fire — Image by kenne

As the first returners, ferns, and mosses are some of the greenery we see after a fire.
They have rhizomes, horizontal stems tucked away underground that stay protected and often survive moderate fires.

— kenne

Controlled Burn Smoke At Sunset   2 comments

Controlled Burn Smoke At Sunset — Image by kenne

The Forest Service has been conducting controlled burns in the mountains east of Tucson.

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


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

Standing With Giants   4 comments

Standing with Gaints-2 blogKenne Turner, David W. Lazaroff, Steve Plevel, and Bob Barnacastle

Yesterday I was honored to be MC at the graduation event for sixteen new naturalists, which included recognizing the founders of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN), David W. Lazaroff, Steve Plevel and Bob Barnacastle. In 1977 these guys began formulating what became SCVN. It was a pleasure to stand along side of such giants in our organization.Their continuing support is a reflection of the quality of SCVN.

Big THANKS to all who made yesterday’s event a great success.



Hiking To Leopold Point   Leave a comment

Friday Hikers (1 of 1)-15 II blog

Hiking to Leopold Point — Images by kenne (Click on any of the tiled images for a larger view in a slideshow.)

SCVN Mt. Lemmon Summer Hikes Have Begun

The SCVN lead Friday Summer Hikes started June 6th on Mt. Lemmon. Twenty hikers gathered at the lower Butterfly Trailhead for a 3.9-mile hike to Leopold Point, a big boulder lookout over the San Pedro Valley. This first hike of the summer season was lead by Ricki Mensching , the coordinator of the summer hiking program.

The Friday Hikes have a history that goes back to 1992, when Dick Toups and other SCVN members (Bob Porter, who started the Mt. Lemmon Nature Walks; BJ Martin; Heidi Schewel; Jim Martin) started the Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters (MLVI). Since the MLVI was never an official organization operating under the Forest Service, the group was ask to not use the name Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters. However, since the MLVI members were also SCVN members, the summer hikes have continued under SCVN.

“I truly believe that one of the nicest things that a person can do
is to share something special with another.
What better way to do that than to lead people
through a peaceful forest with all that it offers,
somethings to some really spectacular views.”

– Dick Toups


(Parts of this posting are from “Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters – History of An Unofficial Organization,” by SCVN member, Ricki Mensching)


Beyond Tucson Event, 2014, At Sabino Canyon   3 comments


Beyond Tucson Event at Sabino Canyon, January 11, 2014 — Images by kenne

Beyond Tucson is an annual community-wide event that occurs each year in early January to commemorate the January 8, 2011 shooting. Its purpose is to help the community move beyond by coming together, much in the same way they spontaneously gathered after the tragedy, and by doing so commit to be better and be better together:

“To spend more time with those we love,

and to reach out to those we don’t yet know.

To get outdoors and enjoy nature’s beauty, 
and to fully embrace all that life has to offer.

To push ourselves beyond our normal boundaries,
and to strive for that next peak on the horizon.”
(. . . from Beyond Tucson website.)

One of the community-wide events took place at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area where activities were organized by the Forest Service and the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Visitors had opportunities to learn about nature, take guided nature walks and hikes — must I not forget, get their picture taken with Smoky Bear.


Hiking Green Mountain Trail To Guthrie Peak   4 comments

Green Mountain Trail

A Panoramic View of the San Pedro Valley from the Green Mountain Trail in the Santa Catalina Mountain (north).

Green Mountain Trail
View from the Green Mountain Trail south toward Tucson with Thimble Peak in the crosshairs. Thimble Peak is the Highest Point in Sabino Canyon. — Images by kenne
Click here to see a slideshow of  photos taken on this SCVN lead hike last week.

A Visit To The Lemmon Rock Lookout In The Catalina Mountains   4 comments

Lemmon Rock Outlook overlooking The University of Arizona Steward Observatory and a “control-burn” on Mt. Lemmon.

Lemmon Rock Lookout on Mt. Lemmon. The lookout cabin is about 15′ by 15′.

Hiking friend Jim with Gus.

View toward the Tucson valley with a Osborne Fire Finder mounted in the center of the cabin.

View east in the Catalinas toward the Rincon Mountains.

David Medford has been at the lookout since 2010. Here David takes a picture of a group visiting the lookout.

David, supervised by Gus, takes a group picture with the Tucson valley in the background.

View out of the southwest corner of the lookout cabin.

View from behind Osborne fire finder.

Images by kenne

The above plack reads: Lemmon Rock Lookout Tower was erected in 1928. It is the oldest lookout still in use on the Forest. This general locale has been used as a fire lookout since the Coronado Forest Reserve was established in 1902. The current lookout structure was constructed according to 1920’s standard plans. It contains a work area, kitchen, sleeping area, and fire finder in the same room. This lookout played a role in the first aerial fire patrols which flew over the Santa Catalinas beginning in 1921.

The earliest Forest Service fire towers were trees cleared of branches with a simple platform on the top. They were constructed in locales which provided an open view of the surrounding forest. The first wooden tower was built about 1915. Numerous wooden towers were erected during the 1920’s, along with the establishment of telephone lines for reporting fire conditions.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees stationed a camps on the Coronado National Forest during the 1930’s provided personnel for fire prevention work and additional fire tower construction. Architectural plans were developed throughout the Southwest Region for standard lookout towers made of wood and steel at this time. Few fire towers were built after World War II because of increasing dependence on air surveillance. Today, 50 permanent lookout towers remain on the forests of Arizona. Most are used seasonally, throughout the dry, windy spring and during the first rains of summer.

The Forest Service has always emphasized fire detection and suppression to protect the timber reserves. Fire guards patrolled on horseback or searched for fires from high vantage points in the early years of this century. Wildfires were suppressed as quickly as possible, although forester and conservationist Aldo Leopold, in a review of Southwest fire activities between 1919 and 1923, reported the beneficial effects of fire in maintaining pine forests and in brush control. The Forest Service now emphasizes prevention of fire damage rather than strict suppression. This, fire may enhance natural conditions and reduce fire hazards. Modern fire fighting equipment such as airplanes and fire retardants, sophisticated communication systems, and fire management plans help protect and maintain forest and range lands today. The lookout tower, used for almost a century, still plays a valuable role in protecting our forests resources.

This Lookout Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Please help us protect it. 


When on Mt. Lemmon, visitors are encouraged to take the short hike down the Meadow Trail to the Lemmon Rock Lookout.


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