SEASIDE — On Nov. 6, 15 men armed with chainsaws arrived at Tillamook Head’s Boneyard Ridge, a 340-acre habitat reserve acquired in 2016 and conserved by the North Coast Land Conservancy.
One 85-acre portion, densely planted with now-20-year-old hemlock and spruce trees, needed to be thinned to improve forest health. By the time the project was completed 10 days later, the forest was transformed from about 630 trees per acre to 220.
The thinned trees were left on the ground, and some were arranged in “habitat piles” for wildlife. A couple of large gaps were left in every acre of thinned forest, where the conservancy plans to plant western red cedar and bigleaf maple in an effort to restore species diversity.
The conservancy worked with a number of forestry partners to plan the large-scale restoration project, including the Northwest Natural Resource Group, Springboard Forestry and GreenWood Resources.
Funding was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program and the Oregon Wildlife Foundation in addition to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.