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The answer is that they are the leftovers of an important movement that has not quite got the message concerning forest health - and a few other details, such as optimization of carbon sequestration. It's inertia partially, but it's also siege mentality, because they took their 'fair share of abuse' for their contribution to better forest management.

To elucidate - 25 years ago the national forests were over-harvested. The mature trees were really depleted, because they made the best structural lumber - fine-grained, dense, and straight-fibered. Via litigation and direct-action, environmental groups virtually shut down logging on the national forests with a legal theory partly based on their share of the 'ownership' of national assets. It was a noble cause, but, as in all such adversarial developments, they swung the pendulum too far for too long.

Now, large sections of the national forests are sick - and dangerous - due to over-crowding. The cure is known, and people like myself are working on redirecting the forest management practices to what is essentially selective harvest - more or less what is practiced in the hardwoods forest of the Northeastern U.S., in many European countries, and in Japan.

Our immediate goals, though, involve substantial thinning of non-commercial, as well as some commercial, timber. Where I live, the Gifford Pinchot N.F. has been particularly unmanaged for 20 years. We are ripe for a catastrophic burn; the laminated root rot pockets are growing among the Douglas Firs; the Lodgepole Pine kill in the eastern section is over 40,000 acres; and stream temperatures are climbing due to removal of groundwater via the transpiration of many too many stems.

An interesting side-light of the tour shown in this diary: private lands, such as those around Sun River and a resort called Black Butte, are kept thinned out; and 'the woods' look to be in great health. There is plenty of forage and open space for elk, deer, etc.

And there were leftover indications of wildfire that showed the benefit of practices that leave and encourage the big trees. The wildfires of the last, say, 8 years have scorched the bottom 2 meters of bark on the big Ponderosa Pines, but without other effect. This is one of the main benefits of a thinned, selectively-harvested forest. Fires stay on the ground where they do virtually no damage to established trees; they clear and re-fertilize the ground for pioneer species; and they're relatively easy to suppress, if the situation demands it.

As to hops - yes, the Cascade Mountain region is home to some hops growers. I think that there are more growers to the west of us, in the Coast Range of Oregon. You and I apparently do not share similar taste in beer, because I like a strong hops flavor. As to the Deschutes Brewery, my favorite is Black Butte Porter. I used to prefer Guinness, but it's inconsistent over here, and now it's owned by an outfit that I will not support (have to give up my Bailey's and coffee, too).

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Oct 8th, 2009 at 12:18:27 PM EST
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Oh I do like strong hop flavours. Some of my favourite beers are American IPA purely because of the huge hop thwack.

However, in the UK, when cascade hops first appeared they were so startlingly floral that every brewer under the sun started experimenting with them. One brewery (roosters) even based their entire range on only using cascades. Trouble is it all got a bit same-y and everyone got a bit fed up with the ubiquity of them. So a dash of cascades now and then is okay, but much more than that and I really don't want to know.

In the british market it was just a case of overkill.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 8th, 2009 at 01:50:02 PM EST
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