how much local forests impact our quality of life. With the Pole Creek Fire burning just 5 miles
from Sisters, Central Oregonians came out in droves to volun&hell
In Sisters, Oregon and throughout the Northwest, recent forest fires have reminded us just how much local forests impact our quality of life. With the Pole Creek Fire burning just 5 miles from Sisters, Central Oregonians came out in droves to volunteer at the National Forest Foundation’s Friends of the Forest® Day.
More than 115 volunteers were escorted through the fire closure area, driven past charred landscapes, and taken to the beautiful and lesser known river, Whychus Creek. Both Whychus Creek and the Metolius River are the focus of NFF’s Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign known locally as the Tale of Two Rivers.
Working near Whychus Creek, volunteers set to work planting and having fun in a sparse old campsite. This campsite was a popular spot for shooting, graffiti, and big parties of over 70 people. With overuse, the area’s sensitive habitat was trampled, leaving big areas of loose soil that rain flushed directly into the creek. This sediment covers spawning grounds of returning steelhead and degrades water quality.
With the Pole Creek Fire ravaging more than 26,000 acres of this watershed system, every little bit we could do to improve the health of the forest was a big help.
At the end of the day, volunteers looked proudly at an area of the forest they had transformed. Even two year-old Stella Stroup was amazed at how many native shrubs and grasses she had been able to plant with her mom.
Volunteers planted 1,600 native shrubs, trees and grasses, spread 2 acres of native seed and improved 1 mile of trail.
“Overall, the biggest impact of today was seeing so many come out to support the health of their National Forests,” said Sisters Ranger District Ecologist, Maret Pajutee. “It’s great to see people invested in this area and working together to restore our local watersheds.”