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Eddie Bauer Partners for Yuba, Shasta and Tahoe Conservation Projects
Posted on April 16, 2015

Swimming Hole on the Yuba River, CA, a forty-mile stretch that drains the west slopes of the Sierra Nevada via its three-fork tributaries. Photo: Scott Hart

Northern California is an outdoor recreation playground for several members of our guide and athlete team, including Lel Tone, Ben Stookesberry, and Chris Korbulic. So as part of the 2015 efforts of our 20-year partnership with American Forests, we picked three conservation and reforestation projects to back and highlight in zones these guides and athletes know well. Nearly every project American Forests identifies is worthy of support—but we thought these three NorCal projects carried a special resonance with our brand. Lel Tone completed an all-time Tahoe SUP expedition to the Klamath River in the Shasta-Trinity wilderness, many of our ski and snowboard guides have shredded in the Tahoe National Forest, and the Yuba is the home river for Eddie Bauer expedition kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic. “I spend a lot of time on the Yuba in Cali,” Korbulic explains. “It is one of my favorite places in the world.” That fact alone verified, to us, that this effort was a worthy cause. —LYA Editor

Images Courtesy of American Forests

Sierra Nevada, bark beetle damage up close and up high in a region where drought has parched millions of acres of these forests, tied to the effects of climate change. Photo: Christian Mountain-Hawk

Project: Sugar Pine Project

Location: Tahoe National Forest, CA

The areas this project will be restoring have been devastated by recent fires or thinned by diseased trees. These areas include 39 acres of Tahoe National Forest damaged by the 2013 American Fire and another 52 acres damaged by the 2014 Hirschdale Fire. Additionally, the project will restore 61 acres of land slated for conservation at the area’s Northstar resort. These areas have been planted or have existing populations of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine, as well as some fir and cedar, but sugar pine is needed for species diversity. Students, members of the community, and professional crews alike will join together for the plantings.

The majestic sugar pine is the world’s largest species of pine. Its enormous cones are often more than 14 inches long and 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Thanks to its wet, cool winters and warm, dry summers, Lake Tahoe boasts some of the most productive timber lands in the U.S., which also supply water to millions of people and thousands of acres of farmland. Sugar pines once comprised a quarter of this area’s important forests, but now account for less than five percent due to white pine blister rust, an invasive fungal disease that attacks and kills five-needled pines. Restoring sugar pine to this area will not only contribute to watershed health, but will also decrease fire risk and provide wildlife habitat and other scenic and recreation benefits. American Forests is partnering with the Sugar Pine Foundation to plant 7,000 sugar pines across 152 acres in Tahoe National Forest and the surrounding area.

Project: Stafford Fire Project

Location: Shasta-Trinity National Forest, CA

 

One small part of California's massive Shasta-Trinity National forest, a 2.1 million acre forest first established by presidential proclamation in 1905 and the largest in a very large state. Photo: Bob Dass

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 380 acres in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest with 62,700 trees, including Douglas fir and ponderosa pine, to help restore areas damaged by the 2012 Stafford Fire. The planting will break up the homogeneity of burned areas by reestablishing conifer cover in stands that have revegetated to forbs, grasses, hardwoods and shrubs, altering the natural, historic vegetation composition.

The Stafford Fire restoration project will help the area improve forest health in a shorter period of time, reducing the long-term adverse effects on watershed conditions, wildlife habitat, and landscape aesthetics caused by high-intensity wildfires. Areas burned by the Stafford Fire were repopulated with fast-growing vegetation, which not only affected the regeneration of the native conifers that once inhabited the area, but also the habitat of wildlife such as the threatened northern spotted owl. By planting conifer seedlings in the area, the forest will return to its natural and historic composition at a quicker rate, and reconnect the forest habitat of the northern spotted owl and other animals.

Aerial assault on the Stafford Fire, CA, which burned 4,400 acres in Trinity County. Photo: Gampopa 101

Project: Yuba River Reforestation Project

Location: Tahoe National Forest, CA

 

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 200 acres in California’s Tahoe National Forest with 32,000 conifers to help restore watershed areas that have been damaged by insect infestations and disease outbreaks. The areas being reforested have experienced extensive mortality because of insect pests and disease. In most cases, these areas were salvage logged in the distant past, but recent mortality has taken stocking to lower levels.

Reforesting these sites will further improve hydrologic conditions that are especially important in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Watershed management, which includes good forest health and sound forestry practices, is especially critical given the state’s current drought conditions and the impending water shortages in the region.

The Northern Spotted Owl, an enduring symbol of the forest conservation fight in the American West. Photo: Kameron Perensovich

Global ReLeaf supports the restoration work that forests like the above geographic areas—and the communities that depend on them—need in order to thrive. Since 1990, American Forests has brought ReLeaf to forests in all 50 states and 45 countries, planting nearly 50 million trees in the process. To learn more about Eddie Bauer’s 20-year partnership with Global ReLeaf or to donate to the cause visit eddiebauer.com.

Watch the original Tahoe SUP Explore video from Lel Tone’s trip to the Klamath River in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest below:

Author: - Thursday, April 16th, 2015
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