Several Members of the Twin Lakes Improvement Association participated in the woods tour sponsored by Inland Empire Paper Company . Starting from the boat launch in Spirit Lake, we traveled along the lake and up the main Brickel Creek road. The first stop, we looked at some newly installed research plantations. These plantations are looking at the genetic plasticity of native trees and the effect that climate change has on the growth and survival of trees from different seed zones.
The second stop was in Litter Creek, which is a tributary in the upper reaches of Brickel Creek. There, we viewed and discussed “Variable Retention Harvesting” techniques which maintain and enhance a diverse forest structure. Also, we were able to view root rot patches, where most of the Douglas fir and grand fir have died from the disease.
After a lunch and restroom break at the Selkirk Lodge on Mount Spokane State Park, we made our way to a 12-year-old plantation in the headwaters of Fish Creek. The mature forest prior to harvesting was not diverse in terms of species and structural diversity, but subsequent planting and natural seeing has produced a very diverse forest with many different species represent.
The final stop was at the Fish creek bridge, where IEP has installed a water quality monitoring station. While there, we discussed water quality monitoring plans, issues and parameters. We even measured water clarity and the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) content of Fish Creek — the water was cold and clear, with high levels of DO (which is good). On the way back to the Spirit Lake boat laugh, we passed by the stream rehabilitation project on lower Fish Creek. IEP is one of the cooperators with this project, along with TLIA, the Easterday Ranch and the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.
Based on the engaging conversations, smiles, and the expressed appreciation from the tourists, the tour was a success. IEP is proud of their timberland and forestry and is happy to share their story with its neighbors along the lake.
Paul Buckland, CF
Forest Resource Manager
Inland Empire Paper Company