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Forestry & Natural Resources Field Trip for Environmental Science to Weyerhaeuser Tree Farm

The Times of Brownsville, Oregon

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Recently we went to shot gun creek to see the process preparing for harvest, harvesting the trees, and the replanting process after harvest.

Before the actual harvesting happens, they need to map out where they can cut and factor in all of the possibilities of endangered animals in the area. If there are any living in the acreage they want to cut then they can't cut for a certain amount of time. They have to figure out if any areas of water are in the area. Trees need to shade these waters for habitat and restoration reasons. After the area is cleared for approval, they can start cutting within their property line range up to 120 acres at a time.

The person cutting the trees to the right length and stripping the branches, sorts the logs into what appears to be random piles. They are actually sorted by quality, length, and size (width). They do this in conjunction with which mills request which certain logs. This persons job is to remember what logs go to the right mill. Ideally, the logs have fourteen weeks to get to their destination.

We had the opportunity to watch the log trucks being loaded. The process is pretty fast. All trucks have a legal weight limit and the loader operator talks to the truck driver about where to place the logs to even out the weight of the load. The log truck drivers are professional drivers; they have to know how to back up a trailer or load if needed. They need to know how to drive a huge truck with a heavy load of logs on narrow roads and I found that really cool. The trucks are all spaced out evenly to be loaded one at a time in hopes that no other trucks are just waiting. There is a lot of preparation and details that go into harvesting, collecting, and loading the trees.

I love the Shotgun Creek area. It's a beautiful place and I would love to go on a wildlife forest hike up there.

Special thanks to Matthew Fiorito and Tally Patton of Wey-erhaeuser Springfield Operations for leading our tour.

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Original Publication Date: May 6, 2015

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