Fish Ladder Tour

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With the jam-packed days we had at the Roseburg session of REALOregon, there was a concern that we would miss the sight with the dwindling daylight needed to navigate the steps at the North Umpqua fish ladder.

As the name suggests, the fish ladder is located on the Umpqua River as the water snakes through the landscape on the journey to the ocean. Although I enjoyed the walk down to the viewing windows beneath the water line, I found out many more fascinating tidbits when researching the tour after it had concluded by referencing the reader board information at the site.

By going following the prompt on the reader board and going to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife site, average citizens can get a peek at and keep up with the wildlife in the State. Even those who are not interested in hunting or fishing can find good information and wonderful pictures about the natural areas of Oregon. From the information that I have gathered, the actual counting of fish now is monitored in the months of January, April, July, September and November when the fish are more likely to be seen although the fish ladder is open to the public year round.

This information flag was posted on the website;

Due to budget and staffing cuts, the last 100 percent count was April 30, 2015. ODFW is now counting 200 days per year which will give a count accuracy of at least 90 percent. At this time, staff is unsure how often future counts will be posted here.

Also on the website, information can be found about hunting and fishing seasons, how-to videos and tutorials.

The Winchester Dam was built in November 1890 and is in the National Register of Historical Places. Constructed from large timber cribs, the dam was originally built 4-feet high and in 1907 the dam was raised to sixteen feet. Winchester Dam provided water and electricity for the town of Roseburg until 1923.

In December 1945 a more permanent fish ladder and the first fish counting station on Winchester Dam was built. Two counters working the daylight hours, counted fish that swim over a white board located about four feet below the counter. The ladder was closed when counting was no longer in operation. In 1964, new public and counting windows were constructed in the upper pools of the ladder. These viewing areas were improved again in the 1980’s. Since the fall of 1991 all counts have been conducted from a 24 hour video camera.

The fish ladder boasts between 65,000 to 80,000 visitors per year which is quite an impressive number that surpasses counted species totals. By using the ODFW map, it will be easy to find those viewing spots no matter where one is in the state.

Even though our time was short at the Umpqua fish ladder it is an important piece of the history of our native species and fostering the link between those who are living and working in the rural areas and those who are passing through or living in more urban areas. And I am glad the rain held off so we could enjoy the views and and the information.


A Tour Of SkyLine Brewing

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While in Klamath Falls, the group had a chance to tour Skyline Brewing. It was the last stop of the day and we were scheduled to have a  group barbecue dinner during the tour. I had expectations of a brew/pub type experience, it seemed to be an obvious fact that we would visit some trendy facility that caters to the mobile yupsters (young hipsters or affluent followers of trends). I was dead wrong. We ended up on a farm/ranch that produces beef cattle with two brothers Ty and Ry Kliewer, and not only that, my family has a connection to this outfit. Continue reading

Tour Of Patriot Hemp Services

The tour of Patriot Hemp Services facility showed a company that is in the middle of their first year on this site. There are areas of the plant that are still waiting for equipment and there are producers that are out there still trying to find the right way to harvest their crops to deliver to this  drying and storage facility.

The site would be in limbo waiting for equipment except for the producers that call, desperate to get their harvest dried before it molds. Emergency calls are handled as quickly as possible and many times, the plant can shift priorities to get a load in the door and drying in the course of a couple hours. Spontaneous combustion is a real issue in this game of many, many unknowns and the longer the plant matter has time to heat, the greater the possibility.

The dryers are large, bigger than a semi truck big and they use a wide conveyor belt to slowly move the product through the unit several times before it has dried to the proper moisture content. At this time in the facility, many of the loads have to be scooped manually from the truck that is bringing the product in onto the conveyor. It is all hands on deck when the shovels need to be scooping the conveyor full as it moves the product into the drying machine. There is no time to break until the load has been completely emptied from the delivery truck.

This facility is only the dryer for the product, the product itself is the responsibility and the property of the owner/grower. Harvesting in the field is a new prospect for many growers. Some hand harvest with clippers onto to glean the flowering buds. Others use corn pickers or combines to cut the full sized plants off just above the ground level and yet others pull the plants out of the ground to dry the entire plant and roots. The end results are striking when viewing the dried bags of product.

From this facility the grower/owners will be taking the dried product with some going to be processed further for oils and extracts.

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A Log Roll Out

If you ever have the chance to attend a log roll out, I would suggest that you jump on the offer. Every time I attend a session I learn new things and come away from the gathering stymied at the knowledge, common sense, errors, and issues that surround the logging industry.

a demonstation of what metal objects inside of wood do to the sawsThis log roll out was at the Stimpson Mill in Clastskanie. Before we got to examine the logs, we had a brief safety lesson. Less than 24 hours before the tour, the mill was shut down due to the saws hitting metal in-bedded in the log they were cutting through. The saw itself was irreparably damaged and it was only by very quick action on the part of the operator that the mill was able to mitigate damages only to the saw itself and the broken saw did not become bits of hot, flying shards of sharp metal. If metal of any kind is found in a log, the whole log is taken out of the mill instantly and no part of it can be milled. One small piece of metal could be dangerous and the mill will not take the chance that there may be other bits of metal in the log. The demonstration showed lag screws, wire, electrical insulators, nails and bullets in-bedded in wood and stressed the danger.  Continue reading

Pacific Fibre Tour

Tall hoppers are filled by conveyer beltsI had the chance recently to tour the Pacific Fibre Mill just out of North Plains. It is the mill site that you can see to the south as you travel on Highway 26 to and from Portland. The tall hopper bins are most noticeable with massive log decks out beyond the hoppers.

Pacific Fibre Products has three whole log chipping facilities, located in Longview, WA., Molalla, OR and North Plains, OR. They supply wood chips to Nippon Paper and West Rock Paper, both in Longview, WA, and Georgia Pacific Paper in Wauna, OR. Continue reading

Yammering On

I have been concerned about how I have been describing the harsh winter weather we had. I have heard other farmers, loggers, neighbors and city folk talking about the same winter I had, and they agree that it was a tough season but they don’t talk about the amount of damage that is noticeable around here.

Until I went to a meeting of our local chapter of the Oregon Small Woodland Association (for you jokesters, this means private woodland owners not small landowners). There is a yearly gathering  held to see first-hand how a neighbor is working their tract of timberland. It is a jam-packed day of tours through the woods with professionals like Foresters, Naturalists, Arborists and Conservationists. Continue reading

Saturday Tour

Taking a day off, we had the opportunity to go a-visiting in the neighboring county.

It was a comfortable Saturday. We got to see neighbors, friends and fellow woodland owners. We got to learn about what this land owner is doing with their acreage and some of the natural wonders on the site.

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A portion of the land is an active logging site where the logger is thinning out damaged and thick patches of trees. The result will be a better stand of tall timber that can be logged again in another 20 years with much higher quality timber.

Re-planting areas that are too thin, or have succumbed to root rot or insects is an on-going project each spring.  An area where fir were plagued with disease, now has 2 acres of 15 year old alder. Riparian areas along the river are monitored and planted with shade giving ash and cedar.

Making firewood is a year long project. The owners make between 20-50 cord each year for use on the property, for neighbors and for the community center in town.

The owners are using the resulting left over trees that are too small or damaged to send to the mill to make quality firewood bundles like you would see at the grocery store. They make a mix of ash, cedar, maple, cherry and fir in the bundles.

By combining several operations on the property, the owners clean up the woods and make it a beautiful area to live, visit, watch wildlife and enhance the vibrant river.