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Norm Michaels Oral History Interview, May 27, 2014

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Samuel Schmieding: Good morning, this is Dr. Samuel Schmieding, Oregon State University College of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service. We are here today at the Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District Station 1, with Chief Norm Michaels, also retired U.S. Forest Service. And we are going to be doing an oral history interview today which is part of a history project focused on the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, its history, but also on its science, land use and land management issues. So, we will be interviewing both scientists as well as Forest Service people. And Norm being involved with the Andrews and working in this area for many years and now living here, he is going to be an important part of this study. So, I want to thank you, Norm, for taking time to meet us this morning.

Norm Michaels: Sure.

SS: So, I always like to start pretty much the same way. Where were you born and raised? Just tell me a little about your past and where you came from.

NM: Okay, I was born in Oakland, California, raised in the south San Francisco 00:01:00Bay area for the most part. I spent a little time in the California Sierras and then a little time in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, around the Yellowstone area.

SS: So, now, what was your childhood like especially in relation to the natural world? I mean, you mentioned those places that you visited, I take it, on family vacations perhaps?

NM: Family vacations and living.

SS: Right. And but just in terms of your daily existence?

NM: Oh, pretty much urban, for the most part, but got exposed in a couple places we lived to the forests, and that's where I developed my interest in forests and forestry.

SS: What do you remember about, let's say, an early interaction with nature, even something in the urban/rural interface right there in the South Bay area?


NM: One of the things that we did as kids was go through the fence at the end of the street and we were into the marshes of the south San Francisco Bay, and spent a lot of time out there.

SS: What do you remember about that ecosystem back then?

NM: Oh, as kids, we liked to hop on the crude rafts that the big kids had put together already and pole around in the little sloughs [pulling/pushing with poles], and look at the fish and other critters that were in those sloughs.

SS: And were those sloughs connected to any industrial or agricultural uses at that time?

NM: No, they were actually just going into the Bay. And where we were, there wasn't any real industrial uses.

SS: Now, you mentioned some of your trips with family or otherwise to the 00:03:00Sierras and other places. Tell me about some specific trips, places, experiences that made an impression on you, whether it was with forestry or just more generally with the environment, science and nature?

NM: My mom taught at a rural school in the Sierras for a year. So, we lived in the Sierras, basically, the Plumas National Forest was our backyard.

SS: And where exactly in the Sierras was that?

NM: Quincy, California.

SS: Would that be central, southern or -- ?

NM: North of Sacramento.

SS: Okay, so you're up by Tahoe then?

NM: Yeah, closer to Tahoe.

SS: Fairly close, right, got you. And any experiences with wildlife?


NM: Nothing specifically that I remember. I mean, there was wildlife there, but I don't recall, nothing sticks out.

SS: Now, how did you become interested in forestry and land management? You alluded to that earlier, but kind of give me a little train of thought in how you started thinking about a career out there?

NM: That year living with the national forest [Plumas] as our backyard kind of developed my interest in forestry. You know, I didn't know it was forestry at the time, but working in the woods.

SS: Do you ever remember interacting with U.S. Forest Service or Park Service or any other professionals?

NM: No. Not until after I graduated from high school.

SS: What did your family do, who were your parents?

NM: My mom did a little bit of everything because she was a teacher. She also 00:05:00did secretarial work and so on. My step-dad was an electronics engineer.

SS: Do you ever remember any book or movie or television report about the Forest Service or forestry or some representation of that, which you remember?

NM: Probably what got me exposed to it was 4-H that year we were up there in the Sierras. There was a 4-H club and they had a forestry section. So, I didn't want to raise rabbits, so I did the forestry.

SS: Now, you're looking back through the lens of a full career as a forester, but how would you describe the forestry and land management dynamics that you 00:06:00first saw, even when you were an adolescent or a young adult going out there. And did you take note of any of these things?

NM: I think as an adolescent, I really didn't understand what I was seeing, so there weren't any big "aha" moments. You know, I vaguely remember, I think, they were doing selection harvest in that area, primarily pine. But I don't remember any crisp memories of it.

SS: Now, you also mentioned going to Idaho and Montana, also, I believe?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Tell me a little about those experiences?

NM: It was one of those things that my step-dad thought he had a job in Montana, 00:07:00so he moved there and then found out he didn't. (Laughs)

SS: So, the Montana thing didn't happen, but what did you see when you were up there in Idaho and Montana?

NM: So, when in Montana and Idaho, we lived in farming communities. My step-dad was looking for electronic engineering positions, and not finding them, not surprisingly. And then one summer, I worked for his brother in the Jackson Hole area. He was a small-time contractor that did just about anything. So, we built fences and sprayed nasty chemicals on trees to kill bugs and that sort of thing, 00:08:00but mostly out in the woods.

SS: And this was in Jackson Hole?

NM: Yeah, Jackson Hole and the surrounding area.

SS: That must have been a stunning environment to do anything in?

NM: Oh, it was, it was. You know, one of my memories is about moose. We were working in the [Grand] Teton National Park. And moose weren't terribly frightened of people, and we knew well enough to be wary of them. Didn't have any problems, but when a moose crosses twenty feet in front of you, you have to stop and watch.

SS: Even a female cow is very large.

NM: Yes, yes. And a little bit intimidating when they have a calf with them.

SS: Yeah, they're a little protective.

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: That goes without saying. So, any other places you remember seeing when you were in Idaho or Montana? Did you ever go to, you went to Yellowstone obviously?


NM: Went to Yellowstone, yeah, a few times. Went into the forests around, basically, Idaho Falls area of Idaho, so probably into the Targhee [NE Idaho], I expect. But in Montana, we got into the forests there some and then probably, hmm, I'm not sure which forest that would have been.

SS: You never made it up as far as Glacier?

NM: No.

SS: Did you ever go down to the Wind Rivers? [Mtn. range in Wyoming]

NM: No. SS: Which were just down the way from you?

NM: Yes.

SS: Now, did you ever float any rivers when you were younger?

NM: No.

SS: You mentioned before the interview.

NM: Yeah, but didn't back then.

SS: That you're very much into floating rivers, but that had not entered your life yet?

NM: No. Well, I must have been over thirty before I started floating rivers. A 00:10:00friend of mine was interested and he invited me along on some trips.

SS: Now, how would you compare the Sierra's western slope where you spent time with the ecology of the Pacific Northwest and specifically the Cascades western slope?

NM: So, the Sierra is more like the east slope of the Cascades. Moister, so things do fairly well, but still a much drier climate than the west slope of the Cascades. More pines, a little bit of Doug-fir, but more pines than the drier species where I was.

SS: And how would you describe aesthetic, the artistic qualities, if you will, 00:11:00of the two areas?

NM: I'm one of those folks that likes just about any forest system, and looks at what's there, and appreciates what's there. So, I'm one of those crazy guys that I like the west side and I like the east side. And I don't really have a preference for one or the other. I just enjoy what's there and what it's doing, and enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to grow trees there.

SS: Okay, tell me about your late high school years and transition to college, and how the professional track started. And was there a connection from high school to college or not, or did your whole professional development kind of start after you left the lair and went to college?

NM: Pretty much started after I went to college. In high school, we were pretty 00:12:00much urban. We would get out some into the forest, but probably more to the beach because my dad liked to fish. I actually worked in a state park [California] between my freshman and junior years, or freshman and sophomore years of college. But by then, I knew I wanted to get into forestry. I pretty much knew during high school that I was interested in forestry, and was pretty sure I'd get into it.

SS: But do you remember how that happened?

NM: I think that exposure back in the Sierras to forestry.

SS: At that time, you didn't really know what it meant, you just thought it sounded cool?

NM: Yeah, basically. (Laughs) I thought I would enjoy working out in the woods. And as it turns out, I did.


SS: So, how did Oregon State come to be where you went to school?

NM: That was a really esoteric type of thing. I graduated from high school in '68. The draft was going really strong. My step-dad, who had been a Marine, said, "Go to college first, and then go into the service." So, I took his advice for some weird reason. At that age, you're not terribly interested in taking the advice of your parents. At least I wasn't. But I took his advice. So, I went to college first.

SS: So, you entered OSU in what year?

NM: So, the first, my freshman year, I went to San Jose State.

SS: Where?

NM: San Jose State.

SS: San Jose State, okay.

NM: Yeah. Just because, I think I wasn't prepared to apply to forestry schools 00:14:00yet. And then I realized that during my freshman year when I was looking at forestry schools, that Cal-Berkeley required that you go to summer school. I didn't know if I went to a summer school, I'd have to lay off the regular term. And if I laid off the regular term, I'd get drafted. The San Jose draft board was infamous for being really sticklers for that. You went to school during the regular school year, not at summer.

SS: Do you remember what your lottery number was?

NM: It was 125. It was low enough that --

SS: You were nervous?

NM: Oh, no, I would have been selected. I mean, they ran the lottery, if your lottery number was selected, you had the number, you were going to be selected as soon as you got through with the deferment. But at least, that's how the San 00:15:00Jose board worked it.

SS: So your step-father was a retired Marine?

NM: Well, he was four-year or whatever; he wasn't a career guy.

SS: Okay. But were you kind of a patriotic true-blue kind of kid or -?

NM: Well, I'd say not rah-rah, but I'd expected to go into the service.

SS: And you maybe hadn't seen yet at that age, well, maybe you heard about things, but the negativities that built over time with people? [Vietnam]

NM: Oh, it was really negative in the California area.

SS: Even in '67-'68?

NM: Yeah, yes, it was really negative there.

SS: But I just didn't know how much you were exposed to that because --

NM: A lot, just because that it was big news there.

SS: What kind of an impression did that make on you? I mean, you're obviously a young, developing mind and person, and the anti-war thing went totally against 00:16:00the mythology of the U.S. and war, and being the good guys always.

NM: Yeah.

SS: How did that affect you or how do you remember processing that?

NM: I probably don't remember that much. I wasn't anti-war. I probably thought we were stupid to be there, but I wasn't anti-war. You know, I had friends going into the service. I didn't think they were idiots. So I guess I was somewhere in the middle there. I was fully expecting to join the service when I graduated from college. Turns out, they quit drafting about the time I had graduated from college.


SS: Which would have been what year?

NM: '72.

SS: Okay, let's go back to San Jose State, one year.

NM: Yeah.

SS: How did you get to Oregon State?

NM: Okay. So, I was looking at forestry schools. Cal-Berkeley required summer school, which I said I knew if I went to that, I'd have to take a regular term off, which would have meant automatically going into the service. Oregon State didn't. Because they're so close to the forest, they did their labs just during the regular school year, you know, a 10-minute ride out to the forest, and no big deal.

SS: Are you talking about the McDonald Forest?

NM: McDonald Forest, and other forests around there [Corvallis and OSU].

SS: Right.

NM: So, I decided to go there. I was lucky enough that they gave me scholarships for the out-of-state portion of the tuition write-off, and then after my sophomore year, they gave me scholarships for all of my tuition. So, it didn't 00:18:00end up costing me any more than I would have.

SS: Now, you didn't take any forestry classes at San Jose State?

NM: No.

SS: You just took like preparatory classes, right?

NM: Yeah, the standard classes I was going to have to take anyway no matter where I went.

SS: What do you remember about your classes at Oregon State, and specifically, a particular teacher or class or something that made an especially strong impression on you?

NM: I don't remember any specific class that made a particularly strong impression on me at this point.

SS: Did you have any favorite professors?

NM: Probably not at that time. Because I had not gone the first year, I had to 00:19:00pick up my freshman forestry classes, which there was only one or two of them. And because I wanted to get done in four years, I was taking anywhere from 18 to 21 units a term. SS: A serious full load.

NM: A serious full load, yes. So, I think I was more just nose-to-the-grindstone, trying to get it done.

SS: And what do you remember about any of your experiences and field work connected to the OSU program of study, that you did which made an impression or certain things and places that occurred during that process?

NM: We saw lots of different places. And I think at that time, I was into learning, that it was all new. So, it was all new, and therefore, kind of interesting.


SS: So, you really liked it?

NM: I liked it, yeah.

SS: And, were any of the particular field trips to the McDonald or other places especially memorable?

NM: Actually, probably the only ones that were, actually a couple of them. We did a field trip to see a logging show. And it kind of surprised me, but only because being young, you don't know the history. They were using a spar tree. Now, as I learned later, at that point, they were just getting out of using spar trees and going to the metal towers. But I didn't know that at the time. I thought metal towers, they must have been using these all the time. No, they hadn't been.

SS: How was forestry and the forest as resource represented to you in your 00:21:00program of study at OSU?

NM: So, I'd say, similar to Gifford Pinchot's philosophy that the forests are there to be wisely-used, and kind of here's how you would do it.

SS: And basically --?

NM: Here's how trees grow, here's how you measure them, and here's how you make some decisions about them.

SS: Still within the utilitarian model?

NM: Oh, yes, yes.

SS: Even though we're talking about the transition period in the '60s and '70s.

NM: It was still utilitarian. SS: The revolution had not come into the College of Forestry [OSU] in terms of programs of study, new professors, new ideas, yet?

NM: Right, yeah. As students, we joked and called it the "Clear-Cut and Burn School of Forestry." (Laughs)

SS: Really?

NM: Yeah.

SS: But that's when you were students?

NM: Yeah, yeah.


SS: So, my question would be segueing off of that, is that you were already developing a social consciousness.

NM: Oh, yeah.

SS: Independently of the ideology of how it used to be, thinking, "I'm not sure about this method?"

NM: Well, I'd say more a questioning of degree rather than how to do it more, should it be done everywhere, yeah, that sort of thing.

SS: In other words?

NM: We were students of our age.

SS: But in other words, the main thing that may have bothered you or had sent up a red flag, was the scope of post-World War II practices, shall we say, industrial logging, that maybe you saw it as being a little much?

NM: Actually no. Maybe. But I'd say that what I saw was, we, the profession, 00:23:00were going into some places that you probably ought not cut, you know, just because it would be too difficult to get to some.

SS: What would be a for example?

NM: Very rocky slopes that you'd have to beat your head against the wall to get them reforested.

SS: Right.

NM: You know, or might not be able to get reforested. You know, stuff that you're mining, rather than managing it. SS: Right. What did you do immediately after you graduated in 1972? What opportunities were offered and how did you become a Forest Service person?

NM: The country was in a slight depression at that point. The Forest Service really wasn't hiring. So, I did the next best thing and got a job as a technician with the Forest Service. Actually, it started out as temporary, as a 00:24:00lot of folks did. I managed to be a temporary about a year-and-a-half.

SS: And where was that?

NM: First in the regional office [Forest Service - Region 6] out of Portland with the insect and disease control folks. And then, Siuslaw National Forest, on their timber inventory.

SS: Where were you based out of, Corvallis, or over on the coast?

NM: Corvallis.

SS: Now, did you have any mentors or role models that you met when you were in the Forest Service that influenced you, people that --?

NM: Sure, I think most people have. But it was my supervisor on the inventory was a forester, who was a planner for the forest, and I learned a lot from him. 00:25:00I moved out to the Alsea District [Siuslaw NF] as a forest technician working in silviculture. My boss there was a technician and had a lot of years of experience, and was bright enough to use my abilities. So, I was actually working way beyond that.

SS: And how would you describe your abilities? I mean, everybody has aptitudes that they develop, either they discover them or they develop them. What did you know at that time and what were your aptitudes?

NM: So, a couple, three different ones. Having worked in insect and disease control, I knew a lot more about some of the particular root diseases that Siuslaw was dealing with. So, when I got out on the district [Alsea], they used my knowledge there to help develop some plans for dealing with them. Also, 00:26:00having been a forester, you know, being trained as a forester, they used some of those skills beyond what you'd normally ask a technician to do in terms of planning.

SS: For instance, what would be the normal duties in contrast to the extra things you just said?

NM: Normally, at the level I was as a technician, they'd tell you, go out and measure some plots, and lay out a unit for planting or thinning. Inspect that, those sorts of things. They went beyond and asked me to go out and evaluate some areas, particularly areas that were growing hardwoods, to evaluate whether they ought to just bite the bullet, slick it off, no value, pay the money and reforest it, or wait and see if it would become merchantable hardwoods. And at 00:27:00that point, alder was just starting to become a merchantable species. So, most of the foresters didn't have much of an idea of the value of it.

SS: What about some of the other hardwoods that would grow in, shall we say, cut areas or along stream beds, alder, plus what are some of the other species of hardwoods?

NM: Pretty much, maple was the only other hardwood on the Coast Range that was found in any amount at all.

SS: Now, how would that compare to the west slope of the Cascades?

NM: West slope of the Cascades has much more maple, much less merchantable alder.

SS: And "merchantable" alder is basically based on just the size, right?

NM: Size.

SS: Right.

NM: Size and height to some extent, but yes.

SS: What do we use alder for usually?

NM: Most wood goes into furniture and cabinets.

SS: What was the use of chemicals back then? When you first started working out 00:28:00in the field, you were in the Coast Range, how heavily were chemicals used in herbicides for whatever?

NM: We were using them very heavily. The Forest Service was actually ahead of the curve in terms of their use. They were ahead of industry in terms of reforesting Coast Range and Cascades' conditions, when there was a lot of it used.

SS: Now, you're talking about Forest Service land in contrast to private forest land, right?

NM: Right.

SS: That's what you mean, like Weyerhaeuser or Georgia Pacific owns private land?

NM: Right, yes. At that point, the Forest Service was doing a lot of herbicide use to get those stands reforested. The industry was much less so. They hadn't 00:29:00seen the value of better stocking of the conifers.

SS: How would herbicides help regeneration and reforestation? And what were some of the concerns that maybe developed over long-term effects of chemicals leaching into the soil and into the watershed, for instance?

NM: The Coast Range particularly, grows everything really well. Alder and brush species cannot compete with Douglas-fir and hemlock trees the first five years, really easily. So, if you wanted to get a good stand of conifers, you had to do something about the brush.

SS: Because the seedlings wouldn't have any light, there'd be no light?

NM: They just wouldn't, they wouldn't have any light. Yeah. I mean, it was, you had to control in a lot of places, had to control either the brush or the alder, 00:30:00the first couple years, in order to get the trees up enough to where they could out-compete. And this was also a time when Congress was concerned about the lack of reforestation, successful reforestation on national forests. And a few years after that, had actually put in a 10-year directive to the Forest Service to get those places reforested. So, prior to that, the Forest Service had done a similar or worse job as industry in getting stuff reforested, and they had started to turn that around.

SS: What were the laws at that time about reforestation, in comparison to 00:31:00internal directives with the Forest Service about reforesting how and when and how many years after harvest?

NM: So, at that point, there were no laws requiring reforestation. It wasn't until NFMA [National Forest Management Act] about 1976, as I recall, that the five-year requirement was put into law. But Congress was already looking at the lack of reforestation on national forest lands.

SS: And why would that be? Weren't contracts written with that as a requirement?

NM: Oh, no.

SS: They weren't? Okay.

NM: No, the harvest contracts were separate from reforestation.

SS: And so you would eventually, but usually there was no quid pro quo where the company that got the sale was expected to replant?

NM: Oh, no.

SS: You didn't? It was the Forest Service's responsibility to do that, and they 00:32:00would subcontract out usually, correct?

NM: It was the Forest Service. Yes, the Forest Service, until very recently with some of the stewardship contracts, has never tied the harvest contract to the reforestation contract.

SS: So, what are some of the reasons for the big, long lag effects, even after the 1976 Act, which required it, because you still see a lot of areas where they're not being reforested quickly?

NM: It takes time for trees to grow. And I have had foresters ask me, how come I haven't planted a chunk of ground. And they said, "We planted it three years ago. Get out on the ground and walk." So, for somebody who's not a forester, it probably takes 10 years before you actually see the trees, before you recognize that there's trees.

SS: In other words, if you're looking from a distance on a hillside, it's not going to look like it's been reforested until it's at least 10 years?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: Okay. Segueing kind of to where we are now here in the upper McKenzie River 00:33:00Valley, some of these really high slopes around here look like they might be struggling to be successfully reforested, or is that just merely because they're in that first 5-10-year new growth?

NM: They're probably in the first 5-10 years, for the most part. We don't have very many places in this valley that are terribly difficult to reforest. You know, we have places that are very rocky and so on, that are difficult, but for the most part, they're relatively easily reforested.

SS: Okay. So, tell me about what did you do after that first year-and-a-half of seasonal work, how did you transition into a career Forest Service person?

NM: They finally picked me up as a permanent, as a technician. And unfortunately, at that point, the Forest Service wouldn't convert a technician even though they were qualified, to a forester position. Even though Civil 00:34:00Service rules would allow them to do it, they wouldn't do it. Within a couple years, some folks filed some protests, basically with the Civil Service Commission, and forced the Forest Service to consider anybody who was qualified for forester positions. Additionally, at that point, the Forest Service probably hired almost zero folks between about '70 and '76. The funding for the Forest Service was so low, they weren't hiring any new employees.

SS: And that was, indirectly at least, related to Vietnam?

NM: Yeah.

SS: And then federal expenditures started up.

NM: Yeah.

SS: And, of course, the 1976 Act combined with NEPA and all the different acts that changed the entire political landscape, made it necessary for the Forest 00:35:00Service to hire more people, and also a different type, or different types, of specialists, aside from foresters?

NM: Yeah, aside from foresters, yes.

SS: Right.

NM: And part of that, the budget for the Forest Service went way up. A lot of that I believe was due to a couple of Oregon "congress-critters" who were high up, had important chairmanships, who in addition to Packwood and Hatfield, strongly supported the Forest Service and good forest management.

SS: Yes.

NM: They supported forestry, so those folks would actually bump up the Forest Service requested budget.

SS: An unrequested boost?


NM: Yes. Not that it wasn't appreciated, but, the administration tells the Forest Service how much they can ask for. So, they do and those two would make sure that they were funded more. There also was more of the push to harvest to the sustained-yield levels, so there are budgets to do that.

SS: And of course, that was really before the whole NEPA, Wilderness Act, the whole -

NM: Well, the Wilderness Act, yes.

SS: But I mean that the infrastructure had to change to address the political economic cultural "thing" that developed out of new laws and culture shifts.

NM: Yeah, I would like to point out that the Forest Service actually had created 00:37:00its own wilderness areas. They called them primitive areas at the time.

SS: That goes way back to the '20s and '30s.

NM: Yeah, that they had no intention of harvesting in any way. And most of those became wilderness areas. So, I think folks for the most part don't recognize that the Forest Service was really in the forefront of protection of special areas, including the Grand Canyon.

SS: Yes.

NM: I believe it was 1906, Teddy Roosevelt, as part of his increase of the forest reserves, included the Grand Canyon of all things, a wildlife area that was administered by the Forest Service. In 1910, the second Chief of the Forest Service, 1910-1912, Graves [Henry], nixed a dam in the middle of the Grand Canyon. It blows me away that the Chief of the Forest Service could tell the 00:38:00Bureau of Reclamation, "No, you're not going to put a dam in there and get away with it."

SS: Anyway, you're continuing about the Forest Service and its efforts at, shall we say, preservation, which it's not often thought of doing.

NM: Right, yeah.

SS: I mean, especially, in comparison to the other agencies and how people look at history especially?

NM: Yeah. Now, the Forest Service in the '60s and into the '70s had that tension between those who wanted to harvest anything that was harvestable and those who wanted to set some aside for recreation. But I think you're going to get that in any large organization. You have differences of opinion about what ought to be done.

SS: Exactly.

NM: But for the most part, like I said, it was those Forest Service primitive areas that became wildernesses under the Wilderness Act.


SS: And then all of the other, Wilderness Act road-less areas, all of that stuff, happened later. We may talk about that later. When you entered the Forest Service, how would you describe the esprit de corps, the culture of the Forest Service?

NM: I'd say it was everybody pretty much working together. If somebody needed some help, you went out and helped him if you had time to do it. You know, early, I was in silviculture, but that didn't mean I wouldn't go out and help the marking crew if they needed help, or go out and help the fire crew if they needed help burning. You know, it was just part of the deal. But if somebody needed help and you had time, you helped him.

SS: Then, in terms of the cultural reputation, both internally and externally, 00:40:00there was that almost military, but it was more than that, pride in the organization?

NM: Yes.

(Break in audio)

SS: Continuing on the question before.

NM: Oh, I'd say we had a very high esprit de corps, and for the most part, we were viewed as a relatively good agency. You know, there were some loggers that hated us because we thought they ought to do a better job logging, but that's the kind of the "weed-down" thing that you get just about anywhere.

SS: But the environmental dynamic hadn't yet developed?

NM: Actually --

SS: Maybe a little bit?

NM: It had on the Siuslaw.

SS: Oh, it did, okay.

NM: We had the infamous folks down at Deadwood that were harassing us about the herbicide use. And that's one of the areas where they used my expertise. They 00:41:00put me on a project to research all the herbicide stuff, of the herbicides we were using, to see if they truly were a problem. And found out for the most part, no, because we weren't using the stuff the Army had been using in Vietnam. The stuff the Army had been using in Vietnam was done by a manufacturer who didn't pay attention to the processes.

SS: You're talking about Agent Orange? NM: Agent Orange, yeah. So, 2, 4, 5-T, if it's manufactured at too high a level, produces lots of dioxins. And that's what the issue was in Vietnam.

SS: And it's also when you have a lot of soldiers coming home with long-term health problems, right?

NM: Right, yeah. The stuff produced for commercial use in the U.S. didn't have those.

SS: Okay.

NM: So, that part of it, you know, the truly toxic stuff wasn't in what we were 00:42:00using. Now, there's a different philosophy about whether you should be using herbicides at all. But from the standpoint of toxicity, the stuff we were using degraded as it should have, and we weren't using anything that had a long life in the soil or anything. They were all very soil active, and broke down rapidly in the soil.

SS: So, what was your first permanent posting?

NM: Beautiful downtown Bly, Oregon. No, actually, my first permanent posting was at Siuslaw as a technician, but first on the inventory, and then out on the Alsea District.

SS: And when was that, from what years?

NM: So, '70, I was in the Siuslaw, so '72-'73, the Alsea, '74-'75 into '76. And 00:43:00then, I got a permanent position as forester on the Bly District.

SS: And excuse my ignorance, but where is Bly?

NM: Halfway between Klamath Falls and Lakeview.

SS: Okay. In the middle of --

NM: Middle of nowhere.

SS: Nowhere. (Laughter) I'm glad we agreed on that.

NM: So that was my first permanent post as a forester.

SS: And how would you describe the ecology, the geography of that region?

NM: Basin and Range Province. Relatively dry forest. Ponderosa pine predominated. We had a fair amount of lodgepole pine, so on the dryer side. We 00:44:00had some true firs that shouldn't have been there. There had been a series of wetter years without any fire, and so the range of White Fir had expanded greatly. It was interesting, because there were places there that when I was there in '77-'80, and '81, I thought, true firs would be a good crop tree there. Went back in 2001, stomped over some of the same ground, and saw a 30-inch true fir that had died from the drought.

SS: So, in that region, I would guess that the only true firs, or shall we say, trees that needed higher moisture precipitation levels, would be found maybe in 00:45:00the higher areas like Gearhart Mountain or --?

NM: Not quite as high as Gearhart, but yeah, the higher elevation.

SS: Or the Warner Range or those different mountains around there?

NM: Yeah, the Gearhart, Warners, and what we call the Black Hills. It's west of Gearhart, but a higher range of mountains.

SS: That was a pretty-remote place to live, wasn't it?

NM: It was. But at the time, Weyerhaeuser had a big mill there. So, there were probably 800 or 1,000 people living in the Bly area, so it wasn't much, you know, you pretty much had to go to Klamath Falls to do your shopping. But, there were a couple small grocery stores, a couple gas stations. You could get immediate needs right there in Bly.

SS: How did science and forestry even beyond what you were trained in school, 00:46:00start to enter forestry as you saw it being practiced, administered, framed by the debates that were going on at that time, the '70s, early '80s?

NM: I ended up being one of those folks that continued learning. So, I continued looking for the research papers that would help me to quantify the things I ought to be doing. You know, when I started as a forester, you thinned by taking out, yeah, a third of it.

SS: Oh, it was just like --

NM: Seat-of-pants.

SS: Guesstimate.

NM: It was guesstimate. It was seat-of-the-pants. Very little was known about, really, about stocking levels. We had a little bit of stuff, but it was pretty primitive. I always wanted to do a better job, so I kept up with the literature more than other folks did. So, I'd say, throughout my career, I paid attention 00:47:00to the literature.

SS: Now, did you ever go back and get a master's?

NM: I did.

SS: And when did that happen?

NM: When the Region 6, our region, started having formal training in silviculture. For some reason, I was able to get into the first class, which was amazing, because most folks in there had been forest silviculturists for several years. So that I think there was only two or three of us in that first class that weren't forest silviculturists.

SS: Was this also at OSU?

NM: It was OSU and University of Washington. It was a joint-program at that point.

SS: Okay. So, where did you attend classes then?

NM: Both OSU and University of Washington.

SS: So you went between Corvallis and Seattle?

NM: Yes.

SS: Now, was this during this '77-'81 period, or right after that?

NM: It started in '80-'81.

SS: So, at the end of your --

NM: Oh, '79? '79-'80 somewhere, is when it started.


SS: So, you were transitioning when you were still stationed at Bly then?

NM: Yeah. So, now that I think about it, I went through most of the classwork when I was at Bly. Then did my oral.

SS: So, your master's was also in forestry?

NM: Yes, silviculture.

SS: Silviculture. And how would you describe that content versus what you learned before as an undergraduate?

NM: Very difficult, but also very difficult, more than even the normal grad student. I was able to use some of my classes with the silviculture training as graduate credits. Then University of Washington actually made it really easy and let me attend without going to classes. So, I did directed studies for the rest of my credits.

SS: And of course, this was before the internet, so your extension studies had a 00:49:00little different connotation.

NM: Yes.

SS: And how did you do that? You mailed papers in?

NM: We mailed papers back and forth, the profs would send me some stuff to read, and then I'd read it and basically do a thorough report on it, and shipped it back. And so, it was all mail. And there was no email.

SS: "Snail mail."

NM: Snail mail, yeah.

SS: So, do you have any mentors during that period that, people that came out, any intellectual heroes? I mean, Jerry Franklin, you know him, and he was at OSU [Corvallis- Forest Service and OSU] then.

NM: Yeah. He was at OSU.

SS: He ended up going to Washington shortly after this.

NM: Yeah, that's horrible. I'm going to have trouble remembering. So, my three committee members were somewhat mentors in terms of helping me work through this 00:50:00process and helped me to learn what I wanted to learn. My focus at that time was probably forest nutrition. And of course, they took me way beyond just fertilization, which really opened some eyes.

SS: So, as a professional, how did you view yourself, as coming out new and better, and in what way?

NM: Probably better able to critically look at research papers, evaluate kind of the background of research to see how much of it might actually apply to what I was doing. And in some cases, critical enough that I'd say, "Huh, I wouldn't have come to that conclusion." So, I'd say, critical thinking.


SS: Now, where did you go after Bly?

NM: From Bly, I went to Lowell District on the Willamette in silviculture and timber sale planning.

SS: So, you worked in the district office then?

NM: Yes.

SS: And what was your typical menu of work, what were you tasked to do?

NM: Supporting the timber planning effort for the most part. But also, any of the NEPA things the silviculture department needed to do, I was responsible for that. So, particular herbicide use at that point.

SS: Was that your first experience with EISs and EAs?

NM: My first experience was when we called them EAs. At Bly, we had what we called the "Environmental Analysis" reports. And during that period, it seemed 00:52:00like every six months, the Forest Service would change what we were calling it, and what we did to do it. So, from '77 through '83 or '84, there was big turnover semi-annually, of how we approached things in terms of the environmental analysis.

SS: Yeah, I believe what even some agencies, for instance, the Park Service called an EIS [Environmental Impact Statements] in the early days, wouldn't even pass muster 10-20 years later as a remedial EA.

NM: Right, right.

SS: I mean, the sophistication increase was mandated by many factors.

NM: You're right.

SS: In all these agencies, it happened.

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: Now, what do you remember about the researchers and the science, 00:53:00specifically places like the H.J. Andrews Forest, other experimental forests, there was also the South Umpqua, and you had Pringle Falls?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Cascade Head, other ones around, how did you view when you first came in and as you're developing as a professional over this really-formative, 10-year period of time, which includes your masters, where you're becoming much more aware of all of these things? NM: Yeah, so, in terms of the experimental forests, the two that were active in Oregon were Pringle Falls and H.J. Andrews. The others were, I'd say, active in terms of outreach. The silvicultural lab at Bend was very good, about hosting two or three-day workshops for eastern Oregon, particularly.


SS: And that would have applied very much to what you were doing down in Bly at that time, and the Pringle Falls, specifically?

NM: Yeah. OSU was doing the same thing for west side stuff, not necessarily focused on the Andrews, but occasionally you'd do stuff there. But it wasn't nearly as developed then.

SS: When was the first time that you heard about the Andrews and when was the first time you actually went there?

NM: Probably during my, let me think, I may have heard about in school, but it's foggy enough that I don't know that we went there. You know, we took some field trips, but it's foggy enough that I'm not sure we got there or not. During the silviculture training, and so, in late '79-'80, we went there as part of, as a 00:55:00field trip.

SS: This is part of your master's then?

NM: Yeah, well, yeah, it turned out being part, the part of the silviculture training for becoming a "certified silviculturist."

SS: Now, do you remember meeting some of the people up there at the Andrews?

NM: Yeah, we met then, you know, I remember some of the professors, Dick Waring, particularly.

SS: Now, he was one of the really-important people at the Andrews before it became an LTER site.

NM: Right, yeah. His knowledge of tree physiology and the practicality of how he got it across in terms of what it meant, really impressed me.

SS: So, you were really impressed with Dick Waring. Do you remember meeting Jerry Franklin at that time?

NM: Yeah. Actually, I had actually met Franklin when I was working at Alsea. He 00:56:00was a Scout Master or something, and they wanted some trees planted, so I took some trees out to him and helped the scouts plant some trees. So, I had exposure to him early in my career. And he was, even then, he was a force to be reckoned with in forestry. You know, he was a known entity and well-respected.

SS: His career is incredible.

NM: Yeah.

SS: The production. I mean, he's beloved, he's revered, he's also controversial, he's many things. But an engine of research, though.

NM: Yeah.

SS: And he's impacted all, anybody who's done forestry. I mean, not just at OSU and Washington, but anywhere, absolutely.

NM: Yeah.

SS: Now, describe the key paradigms in forestry that you obviously learned as a student, multiple-use and its derivatives, sustained-yields, all the Gifford 00:57:00Pinchot playbook type stuff that's central to forestry, even in South America where I know something about. It's been copied world-wide. But how would you describe the adaptation of those basic paradigms over the first fifteen years of your career, from the '70s into the early-mid-'80s?

NM: So, during that period, obviously, we got the NFMA [National Forest Management Act] that put down in law some of the things that we should have been doing anyway. And frankly, my reading of NFMA is that the Forest Service sent it to the Congress so it would be institutionalized.

SS: The 1976 Act, you're talking about. Right?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: And how did that differ from the 1960 Act [Multiple Use], which was the 00:58:00operative act when you first came into that?

NM: Yeah, the '60s act was really a "wise-use," but it was "use" almost exclusively. It didn't recognize ecosystems as such, that there were things going on out there other than trees. So, the '70s act started getting into managing for other resources other than consumable items. You know, the '60s act was consumable items, really, water, wood, wildlife, recreation, range.

SS: Right. And how do you remember you, yourself, looking at forests differently during that first 15 years, where you obviously were still trained in that, you 00:59:00were aware of environmental things that were going on, but you were still trained as an old-school, multiple-use guy. But you were changing along with the times. Correct?

NM: You know, I was a product of my time. So, even while I was being trained in forestry, I also was aware of other non-monetary values of forests. So, I think, even early on, I recognized that just because it's good in one place, doesn't mean it's good everywhere.

SS: So, you never looked at the forest just as a crop?

NM: No, no.

SS: But in terms of the more sophisticated science, ecosystem management, the "whole," what was done at the Andrews?

NM: You know, obviously, as time went on and as researchers got more data and put it out there, then I incorporated that stuff into my thinking. When I 01:00:00graduated from college, I supposed Forsman [Eric] knew about spotted owls, but there wasn't anybody else in the world that did. You know, we just didn't know what we didn't know.

SS: And when's the first time you met Eric?

NM: You know, I don't think I ever did.

SS: You're never met Eric?

NM: No, no.

SS: Oh, okay.

NM: I mean, I've probably been at a room where he was speaking, but I've never met him.

SS: But when did you first hear about his work and that of his progeny, and of course, what would eventually result in the Dwyer injunction and all the changes after the fact? [ESA, spotted owl, injunction against harvests].

NM: Probably about the time I went to Lowell. That's when it was starting to get known.

SS: Did you even know what a spotted owl was before this whole thing?

NM: No, no.

SS: There were owls, right? NM: There were owls, yeah. And you know, there were 01:01:00owls and I knew there were different species, and it didn't matter to me, you know?

SS: But you didn't know what an indicator species was at that time?

NM: No, there wasn't even, people hadn't even come up with that concept.

SS: Right. So, you were at Lowell [Ranger District]. Let's go back to that. You were doing silviculture. How long were you stationed there?

NM: Five years, basically.

SS: And now, if my read of the Willamette National Forest history is correct, that was still at that time the highest yield area within the district, is that correct, or within the forest?

NM: Probably on a per-acre basis, it was probably highest yield. It was a small district, so it didn't produce as much as other districts on the Willamette. But the entire Willamette was get the wood out, basically [#1 nationally in 01:02:00forests-production]. It was focused on meeting the timber volume, timber targets, and much less interested in meeting other values of the forest.

SS: Who was the district ranger when you were there?

NM: Tommy Thompson.

SS: And describe your -

NM: I didn't have a whole lot of direct interaction with him. He seemed to be a decent guy, decent ranger.

SS: Now, what about forest supervisors?

NM: So, the one I remember is Kerrick [Mike]. I don't think he was forest [Willamette National Forest] supervisor when I first got there, but probably within a couple years after getting there, he became forest supervisor there. I'm not positive on that, but that's my recollection.

SS: And what do you remember about the relationship between the supervisor's office and the districts, and how that changed?


NM: At my level, I really, in terms of the supervisor's office, I dealt with the silviculture staff. I didn't even really deal with the timber management staff. So, I'd say, it was technical forestry. I was somewhat aware of the interactions, but not involved in them, so I really didn't know.

SS: Okay, now, two more "green" questions, if you want, philosophical questions. When do you first remember hearing the word ecology?

NM: Oh, in college.

SS: In college?

NM: Yeah.

SS: And what did that word mean for you then, and how did that change?

NM: When I was in college, it had more to do with the, what I'd say the 01:04:00technical aspects of systems, forest systems, range systems, whatever. How the different plants and animals interacted. So, it was more of a technical view of it, rather than a philosophical or political view of it.

SS: But how did that change over time?

NM: Well, it became the more of a political statement. You know, ecology became more of a political statement rather than a biological statement. You know, the ecosystem movement became more of a political movement rather than a movement focused on how systems really worked.

SS: Right. How about the same for environment?


NM: Same, the same.

SS: Or environmental?

NM: Environmental...the same. Environmental and ecology were kind of wrapped up together.

SS: What do you remember about when you first heard the word conservation or conservationist, what did that mean to you, and how did that change?

NM: So again, I was exposed to that probably even in high school. And conservation was really wise-use of the resource, rather than preservation of the resource. And then, I'd say, the preservation groups co-opted that, conservation means preservation, rather than a wise-use of the resource.

SS: Yeah. And conservation often became a euphemism for the "old way."

NM: Yeah.

SS: Exactly. Now, how would you characterize your environmental ethic and philosophy at the start of your career, and how did that evolve? NM: I'd say it 01:06:00evolved from the standpoint of getting more knowledge about systems and specific species and requirements, that sort of thing. I think I've always had a feeling that we needed to manage our forest as a forest rather than as a timber farm. You know, and a forest being a complex of organisms, plant and animal.

SS: Now, we know how that political debate has played out, out here in society. How did you see the political and cultural shifts being played out where you were operating within the Forest Service?

NM: I was very disappointed in our leadership, that couldn't tell that we were 01:07:00strapped to a rail line and that there was a freight train coming at us. You know, as a young forester, I could put ESA and spotted owls in the same sentence, and recognized what it was going to do to us.

SS: So, you recognized that even before Dwyer's injunction? [1991]

NM: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. You know, at Lowell, we were involved in that argument, the 100 acres, and then 2,500 acres was way too much to set aside for the spotted owl. And I'm thinking, "If we don't manage it, we're going to lose the whole thing." Which we ended up doing.

SS: In other words, the Northwest Forest Plan, and of course, even the injunction effectively stopped many things?

NM: Yeah. I personally felt and still feel, that we could probably manage more 01:08:00of our forests, and probably ought to manage more of our forests, including harvesting, than we are now, and we'd probably be more effective at managing for spotted owls and so on. That would require us to go to very long rotations.

SS: What was the normal rotation when you came in?

NM: Sixty to eighty years.

SS: And that was for the west slope of the Cascades?

NM: West slope of the Cascades.

SS: Is that the same for the Siuslaw and the Coast Range?

NM: Yeah.

SS: How about for over in Bly, where it's got a different climate?

NM: Hundred, 120. SS: So, it was a longer cycle then?

NM: Well, yeah.

SS: So, you think that the cycles need to go more toward the longer cycles, even for the wet, moister climes?

NM: Yeah. I think in order to recognize the needs of old-growth-dependent species, we probably need something like a 350 or 400-year rotation. So that at 01:09:00any point, about half of the forest is in an older condition. And I think we could do that. Technically, we can do that. Politically, we've shown that we can't. But you know, we have trouble keeping our plans together for 10 years, let alone for 400. In 1989, I made a proposal to the Umpqua National Forest. I was working there then. We were going through the forest planning process and I said, "Guys, we need to go to a 350-year rotation. We will drop the harvest by about 25 percent." And that was just too much for them. So, instead, we went to a 90 percent reduction in harvest.


SS: So, in other words, you feel that if the Forest Service had adopted a much longer-range horizon on rotations, that some of the absolute things that happened later would have not happened, or would have been lessened?

NM: I think it would have been lessened. Maybe not happened at all. I think a big part of the problem was that the Forest Service was unwilling to recognize when it needed to change, before somebody made them change during that period of time. And that greatly exacerbated the issue. You know, go back to the primitive areas that the Forest Service set aside, well, when those primitive areas became wilderness areas, it was for the most part, no big deal, because we were already managing them that way. I think if we had recognized the need for 01:11:00old-growth-dependent species earlier, like really, we knew in the early '80s, if you thought about it, that we needed to do something like that. If we had done that, we very well could have, I think, forced all or a lot of the issues in terms of having spotted owls be put on the endangered species list.

SS: How do you view "New Forestry," segueing from what you were talking about right now? We talked about Jerry Franklin earlier, but it's along the lines of what we're talking about. Why don't you just talk about New Forestry and how that fits into your evolving thought process in the '80s?

NM: New Forestry was and is an attempt to look at different ways of managing, 01:12:00and I think we ought to do that. I don't think we have enough data to know what our timber yield from that might be, but that's a technical issue. I think we know much better now how trees grow under various light conditions to be able to predict what they will do under these different conditions, and they are based on what folks have looked at in terms of past-history of natural forest conditions. So, natural fire conditions and what came up afterwards and so on, they do mimic those to one extent or another. That standpoint would be a good 01:13:00place to start in terms of trying to think about different ways of managing our forests.

SS: Regarding old growth and the historical changes in its meaning, when do you first remember first hearing that term?

NM: Oh, boy, back in college. You know, that's an old term. Different connotations.

SS: In a related tag, when do you first remember hearing New Forestry? [ecosystem-based forestry]. For example, as a formal thing?

NM: Well, that was when Franklin was talking about New Forestry, probably in the early '80s or something like that? Maybe late '70s.

SS: Did that sound attractive to you, or were you thinking along the same lines?

NM: It was attractive to me from the standpoint of wanting to manage the forest for a variety of values. So, yeah.

SS: And what do you remember the "old-guard" folks in the Forest Service 01:14:00responding to these newfangled ideas?

NM: They didn't respond very well at all. They pretty much rejected most of that.

SS: And was this thoughtful rejections, or was it dismissive?

NM: I think it was just a knee-jerk reaction to it. Unfortunately, a good number of people learn something and that's the way it is, and they don't maintain their learning. So, it's as thought processes change, they don't change with it. And the Forest Service is no different than --

SS: I think you're describing the human condition?

NM: Yes. Yes, I am.

SS: In most cases. I think most people tend to be, they get one set of ideologies and beliefs, and that's what they live with.

NM: Yeah.

SS: You know, and they may adapt a little bit, but the original ideas remain their foundation. It's tough to change.

NM: It is.

SS: Change is hard.

NM: Yeah.


SS: Now, what do you remember about environmentalism, which became this thing that was developing all around everybody?

NM: Because of my broader views, I was attracted to environmentalism to begin with, until I realized that it wasn't environmentalism, it was a catch-phrase to preserve everything as it is. And being a forester, I knew darn well that things change. You know, you can't preserve things as-is. It's going to change, no matter what you do. And when folks started saying, "Look at all this neat wood I've got in my house. Don't cut that tree." It pretty much turned me off to that.

SS: So, how did you reconcile yourself as a long-term, conservation-minded 01:16:00person, who was also a forester, with your initial attraction and then caution and even rejection, and kind of being in the middle of all these forces? How did you reconcile those?

NM: I did my best to make changes. Back to the Umpqua. When I made that presentation, they were looking at 70-80-year rotations. One of the ticklers I put at them, because I knew what was important to the Umpqua, was financing. I pointed out that you could actually reduce your output by harvesting larger trees because you've got more volume per acre. You had to go fewer acres. And at the end of my presentation, the forest sup [supervisor] was Bob Devlin at the 01:17:00time, he said, "Well, we're not going to 350-year rotations." Then he turned to his planner and said, "Look at longer rotations." So, the result of that is we went to 120-year rotations on the Umpqua instead.

SS: Well, it was a compromise.

NM: It was a compromise, and frankly, a 40-year difference is a big deal. So, I did have some influence there, just not as much as I had hoped for.

SS: Now, you didn't talk about how you went from the Willamette to the Umpqua?

NM: To the Umpqua, yeah.

SS: And how long did that last?

NM: So, I went to the Umpqua about '85, and was there till '98, 13 years, something like that, on the Diamond Lake District.

SS: Was the South Umpqua Experimental Forest still operating at that time?

NM: Even by then, it wasn't operating.

SS: It was pretty much out?

NM: It was gone, yeah. My impression of the South Umpqua, they had started doing 01:18:00some stuff probably in the '70s, maybe earlier.

SS: Much earlier than that.

NM: Okay.

SS: They had water monitoring and other monitoring stations, I believe, in the '50s and early '60s.

NM: Yeah, but by the time I was there, they weren't doing anything.

SS: And that would have been a budget-related thing, I would guess. Right?

NM: Sure. And, you know, as I like to say, how close are you to the university?

SS: It does matter.

NM: How much work the university does on your piece of ground is inversely related to the distance. The farther you are, you know, by a square factor or something.

SS: And it is a much longer drive from Corvallis to the South Umpqua than it is to the Andrews?

NM: Yes.

SS: Like twice as long, I would think. Yes?

NM: When I was down on the Fremont-Winema, 2001 through 2008, something like 01:19:00that, fire researchers were looking for places that had had one, two and three fires, over a given area. Well, the Fremont-Winema has had its share. So, I went to bat and found some areas, and shipped them off and they would have been just fine areas. And we were too far from them. That isn't what they said. But amazingly, they selected places within an hour or two drive of them, versus one that was a six-hour drive.

SS: That's usually the case.

NM: Yeah, I mean, that didn't surprise me.


SS: Now, describe the difference between the Umpqua and the Willamette in general terms.

NM: In general terms, the Umpqua was a much more frugal forest.

SS: Describe frugal.

NM: They could get the job done for about half the price of the Willamette.

SS: Why is that?

NM: They didn't go in for the bells and whistles. I mean, they were doing a fine job. They're doing the job that needed to be done. They just didn't put a lot of money into what some people might call frills.

SS: And what would you mean, you mean equipment or -- ?

NM: No, more outside training. The Umpqua would send you to outside training if it was pertinent to the job. No problem. The Willamette would send you to 01:21:00outside training if it was outside training. That's one example.

SS: Okay, I got you. So, how was the ecology and silviculture dynamics different there?

NM: Oh, boy.

SS: Slightly drier, I think, but -- ?

NM: Slightly drier, although, you know, the Cottage Grove District is insignificantly different from the Lowell District, especially on the southern grade-exposures. So, the North Umpqua District is very much like the Oakridge area to the southern end of the Willamette. The North Umpqua District, Diamond Lake District, is higher elevation, but still had some South Willamette qualities that continued into higher elevation.

SS: So, where's the station over there at the Diamond Lake District?


NM: A place called Toketee Falls.

SS: So, you're about 20 miles from Diamond Lake?

NM: Yeah.

SS: It's beautiful country.

NM: Beautiful country. I probably could have stayed there forever. Decided not to, but 16 or 17 commercial conifer species, half-a-dozen non-commercial conifer species. Half-a-dozen non-commercial hardwood species; 2,000-foot elevation to 9,000-foot elevation. So, just every time you went out, you were looking at something different, and you had to be thinking and figuring out what to do on that piece of ground, because it was different than over the hill. It was just really a professionally interesting place to work.

SS: Now, the population is relatively sparse?

NM: Sparse? (Laughs) It's the Forest Service.


SS: No, but I mean, the Umpqua Valley is much less -

NM: Oh, yeah. The Umpqua --

SS: Populated than either the Willamette or the McKenzie, right?

NM: Yeah, the Umpqua Valley was, and still is resource-oriented. The environmental groups don't get much traction there. The one time we had a protest on the Diamond Lake District, the ranger said, if they showed up on weekends, set up blockades, and so on. The ranger thought about it about two minutes, and said, "Let's let them sit." So, no controversy, no television stations. By the end of the week, there were two people left. Then law enforcement went in and said, "You guys got a choice. We'll give you a ride to 01:24:00town voluntarily, or we'll give you a ride to the jail." They chose the ride to town.

SS: Was this the Douglas County Sheriffs?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: And Roseburg is slightly more conservative. [than Eugene, for example.]

NM: Yes, yes. So again, too far from population centers for the TV stations to get involved, since there was no controversy, no face-to-face shouting.

SS: So, I take it that from some of your other comments that you definitely see the relationship between demographics, cultural attachments, environment, and then even the inconsistencies that would exist versus a pure philosophical view of whatever you're talking about.

NM: Yes, yes.

SS: That was kind of a convoluted question, but do you understand what I'm saying?

NM: I think so. They're very different populations, different focus. You know, 01:25:00the Willamette has the U of O Law Center to harass them all the time. The Umpqua, when I was there, had two people, I think, that liked to fuss with us. But there was no base of support there, really. So, we could go out and do our business, and frankly, the Umpqua was doing fine. But it was protecting the areas that needed to be protected, and you know, it wasn't out-of-control forestry by any means. Definitely, still "Industrial Forestry." But the desire, not to reduce harvest and that sort of thing.

SS: Backtracking a bit. Going back to the local communities and traditional resource uses you have been exposed to, you know, you sought when you were a 01:26:00seasonal over in the Siuslaw, but let's go to later when you were in these other more permanent locations. How have you seen, you might want to, maybe single out a couple examples, at Bly, Lowell, or Umpqua, and how the local economics and cultures existed and changed, and even in some cases collapsed, because of, whether it be purely economic or political or what-have-you? Give us some examples of that, and you were obviously the silviculture guy for the Forest Service, you know, grading and deciding on tracts and what was going to be harvested, at least, in some cases? Just tell me what you saw.

NM: So, the Alsea District based from Corvallis, was resource-based, but you 01:27:00know, the community was resource-based. Corvallis was an Ag College town, so it was more resource-based. Didn't have much there except for the Deadwood folks.

SS: There wasn't too many people that lived out there?

NM: There were quite a few, but no, it was definitely rural.

SS: That was rural.

NM: It was rural and most of the folks made their living off the land, one way or another.

SS: Right.

NM: Lowell was still in the hey-day of harvest. So, the rural folks were still mostly resource-oriented. They made their living off the land one way or another, but were, all of 35 miles from Eugene. So, there was --


SS: You were influenced by the same political forces that affect up here, also?

NM: Yes. Bly was strictly resource-based. I mean, the middle of nowhere. You wouldn't find somebody from U of O in Bly. I mean, it just wasn't, there weren't enough facilities there for them.

SS: It was a "good-old boy" logging culture. Right?

NM: It was, it was.

SS: Describe that. You were there four years.

NM: Yeah.

SS: So, what was that like? How did you feel about your relations to the local community?

NM: I had good relations with the local community. I got involved in the community to some extent. At that point, Weyerhaeuser had a mill that probably 01:29:00had 400 people working in it. I think there's always been a tension between the logging and mill folks and the Forest Service for various reasons. You know, people learn this is the way you do it, and sometimes particular loggers are really slow to accept the fact that you shouldn't turn your ground into a parking lot. You know, so there's the appropriate management actions potentially. So, that became, the Forest Service is wrong and we're right, or the logger is wrong and the Forest Service is right. But it wasn't. I was friends with one of the mill managers. It wasn't, those folks who thought about 01:30:00it, weren't a problem. So, Bly was primarily resource-based.

SS: Where is that community now?

NM: The mill closed.

SS: That's what I thought. So, there's nothing left there, right?

NM: There's nothing there. There's a gas station, store.

SS: A lot of empty houses. Have they been all flattened or -- ?

NM: The older ones were flattened because they didn't have any foundation, so it was easier to flatten them. There's still folks living there. I expect it's become more retirement. I'm not positive, but I expect. It's still very much a ranching community to some extent.


SS: But that all happened after you left.

NM: Yeah.

SS: The mill closed, what, in the '80s, '90s?

NM: Probably early '90s. Basically, Weyerhaeuser, they were into full-yield forestry, had by that time decided they didn't want to fuss with managing pine forests. So, they were going through and liquidating their merchantable holdings. When they did that, they closed that mill down and sold off their land. So, they were mining and would harvest and regenerate. And they did a 01:32:00great job of regeneration.

SS: So, Weyerhaeuser was good about reforesting in a very responsible, proactive manner?

NM: Yeah. They were even fertilizing some of that ground in the early '80s. Surprised the heck out of me.

SS: Now, contrast this with companies or entities that didn't do it the right way?

NM: D.R. Johnson down in the Umpqua.

SS: They just didn't care?

NM: They didn't care. By then, the forest, when I was down there, the Reforestation Practices Act had been passed. So, they had to reforest, but they didn't have to control brush or make sure that they got it fixed.

SS: So, they'd hire a hoe-dad crew to put a bunch of seedlings in and walk away from it, right?

NM: Yeah. And it shows to this day.

SS: But anyway, talking about the big variance between the responsible 01:33:00reforestation and people that didn't care.

NM: Yeah.

SS: And of course, let's --

NM: But I think for the most part, the larger, and even a lot of the smaller landholders are in it because they want to be in forestry, so they're responsible. I think since probably the '70s, when OSU really developed some of the recommendations for tree handling and effective tree growing, that most of the organizations accepted that.

SS: In terms of the method of replanting, how has that changed from the '70s until now in terms of how you designed and implemented planting in terms of slopes or spacing or other considerations?

NM: What's changed is spacing because of better understanding about tree growth 01:34:00at various spaces and levels. And the philosophy on whether you should plan on doing a pre-commercial thinning or not. And the relatively short rotations on the west side that the industrial forest uses. So, spacing has changed based on better understanding of tree growth, differences in merchantability. But the actual tree planting hasn't changed using the same tools because that's the best there is.

SS: Well, the firefighters are still using Pulaski tools.

NM: Yeah.

SS: The same thing, yeah. So, tell me a little about the Lowell District, same question, continuing forward about the economy, the "local" cultures?

NM: The economy of Lowell, when I was there, timber was still big. We did have 01:35:00in the early '80s, there was a little bit of depression. I got to Lowell about '85, and it was starting to ramp up again. So there, a lot of folks were making their living either in the forest or from the forest industry.

SS: Now, where were the mills that those logs went to?

NM: Eugene.

SS: Did they go to Eugene?

NM: Eugene, basically.

SS: It was only up in the Oakridge and Rigdon Districts that went to Westfir and those ones up there, right?

NM: We would send some trees to Westfir or Oakridge. But let me think about that. For us, it was probably split between Eugene and them.

SS: Now, when you mean Eugene, you mean Springfield, also?

NM: Yeah, the Eugene-Springfield area.

SS: I mean, Rosboro and Weyerhaeuser and Seneca and other players. Right?

NM: Yes. Yeah, the Eugene-Springfield area.

SS: So --

NM: Occasionally, some would go to Independence [near Salem], there was a mill 01:36:00there. But not often from Lowell.

SS: So, a lot of the folks out there were involved in the logging industry, or agriculture?

NM: Logging industry or agriculture.

SS: Because you were lower down. We were closer to the valley interfaces, correct?

NM: Yeah. The populace south, in the Lowell-Dexter area, pretty much supported us. But you know, they were resource-oriented. The Eugene continuum didn't for the most part. There wasn't that much activism. I held an open house at Lowell for our herbicide product, and KEZI and I showed up.

SS: But no activists?

NM: No activists. I mean, I was there, you know?

SS: Were you on television?

NM: I was. (Laughs)

SS: Speaking to an empty room?

NM: Yeah, KEZI. I was impressed with the reporter. They came up expecting to 01:37:00cover a controversy, and when there wasn't a controversy, they changed it around and said, "Here's the Forest Service asking you for your opinion, and you're not even giving it to them." So, for us, it was a positive.

SS: Right.

NM: Yeah, but it's like I say, really impressed me.

SS: You had your couple minutes of fame on the nightly news. Exactly.

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: How about the North Umpqua?

NM: Okay, actually, it was Diamond Lake District.

SS: Diamond, I mean.

NM: Yeah, it's on the North Umpqua River. At the Diamond Lake District, we're so far out that the SO [supervisor's office] didn't come visit us very often. You know, we're 60 miles out of town, which isn't much but --

SS: What about the local folks way out there in the economy? Were you on the fringe of --?

NM: We weren't even on the fringe. We were in the middle of the forest. The Toketee Falls [community] is the Forest Service and Pacific Power, because they 01:38:00have a power project up there. The nearest anything is Glide, which at that point had two mills, I think.

SS: So that's where your logs went through, to Glide?

NM: Glide was the primary.

SS: Was there also one over on the other side, too, on the other side, over by La Pine or any of those?

NM: No, none of our logs went that way.

SS: Okay.

NM: The mills tend to focus on species. So, the east side focused on ponderosa pine, which we had a little bit.

SS: Because you were on that interface with the high forest.

NM: Yeah, yeah. The Roseburg mills focused on Douglas-fir. But there was enough ponderosa pine in their area that there were mills that also bought ponderosa pine. So, all our stuff went west. They paid more money.

SS: So now, going forward to this, the eras are different. You're in, you're 01:39:00down there in the '80s to the '90s when all the Forest Wars and everything happened, and the politics completely changed.

NM: Yes.

SS: How did that change for that particular area?

NM: What changed was the funding. And the effects of the Northwest Forest Plan. But the Northwest Forest Plan was, I'd say less impactful to the Umpqua than to other forests. Particularly less impactful to the Diamond Lake District because it was high elevation, so it wasn't owl habitat.

SS: So, you weren't even affected by the Dwyer injunction then?

NM: We were, because it had shut down everything.

SS: Oh, okay.

NM: It shut down everything. Yeah, the Dwyer injunction shut down everything. We 01:40:00were impacted by it to a much lesser extent.

SS: Now, how did the local communities and the local people react to it?

NM: Oh, well, local being Roseburg, really, Glide and Roseburg.

SS: Well, that's what, when I'm saying that, I'm extending the valley continuum, exactly [Umpqua River Valley - Roseburg, Glide, etc.]

NM: Right, yes. Negatively. I mean, it was their livelihood and a good share of the mills only bought Forest Service timber, you know, so it impacted.

SS: It shut them down?

NM: It shut them down, yeah. Not completely, because at that point folks always had lots of logs in their mill yard. So, it wasn't an immediate shutdown. And they were able to adapt it. It reduced ships at the log mills. I don't think any of the log mills actually shut down at that point.

SS: You mean, they went from three shifts to two shifts or --?


NM: Sort of; three shifts to one shift.

SS: Or one shift, okay.

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: Right. And you as a silviculturist, you saw all these changes. Old growth, all the different sizes of trees, how did that change what you did, as for whatever reasons, less old growth was being logged, and they started going into different sizes of trees, and even as the wood products industry itself evolved, meaning not just boards of wood, but whatever we use the forest products for; pressed boards, paper, etc., etc.?

NM: What it meant for us for the most part was more stuff was merchantable. It increased our merchantable offering because that lower diameter stuff could be 01:42:00sold, merchantable, you know, they would actually buy it. And for the most part, the industry didn't get into the oriented-strand board and that sort of thing. Probably, the Roseburg and Eugene area, pulp was the much bigger thing, so chips for pulp. Some particle board, but it wasn't a big part.

SS: How many of the mills were actually fitted so they could adapt versus -- ?

NM: The larger mills adapted as it became apparent that they needed to --

SS: And the smaller ones didn't have the ability to adapt?

NM: I think more, they didn't have the foresight to adapt.

SS: Okay.


NM: The worst example I saw was Lakeview Lumber.

SS: And this was out beyond Bly, I mean, way out there.

NM: Lakeview Lumber, until about five years ago, did not have a small log processing facility. They ran everything through an ancient head rig that was designed for 70-inch diameter material. They couldn't make, they could not make money on 12-inch stuff. Some of the mills in Roseburg and Eugene area won't take anything over about 14 inches.

SS: Because they've reacted and changed and adapted?

NM: They've reacted, changed and adapted.

SS: Right.

NM: There's Freres Lumber up in Mill City, has two different peeler mills. Their 01:44:00large one takes stuff up to 12-inch diameter. Their small one, they want to average 8-inch diameter. Average 8-inch diameter.

SS: So, small stuff?

NM: Small stuff. You know, they reacted. They saw a niche, took it, ran with it and they're, near as I can tell, they're profitable. Their stuff isn't old.

SS: Some of the ironies about this is, some of the laminated products that are coming out based in smaller wood adaptations, are actually stronger, infinitely stronger.

NM: Yeah, the LVL, laminated-veneer lumber, those sorts of things.

SS: Right, correct.

NM: Yeah.


SS: Interesting.

NM: I have a brother who's a builder down in California. Years ago, he went to using LVL for their beams, you know, for large stuff, because it was cheaper. Because of the lack of availability of large trees to get larger, you know, 4 x 12's or that sort of thing from trees.

SS: Now, originally, it was economically better to cut the old growth, right?

NM: Oh, well.

SS: Or was it really? Or was that because it was just the practice?

NM: No, it was in the '50s, old growth was going for $3 a thousand. If it had many knots, there wasn't any value in it. Even though it was solid, you almost couldn't sell anything that wasn't clear. So, they were responding to market. 01:46:00The markets wouldn't take things with knots. They had to cut old growth to get knot-free stuff. You know, if it has knots in it, it was the junk that the mill workers took home to build their own houses.

SS: Or to make cool tables or whatever?

NM: Yeah.

SS: I see, got you.

(Break in audio)

SS: Okay, we are coming back from a break at lunch, and we will try to pick things up where we left off. I believe we were talking about the North Umpqua last time. And you had discussed about the local community and the land-use dynamics that changed over the course of your time there?

NM: Yeah.

SS: You might want to segue from that, and even if you rehash some of the material before.

NM: So, in the Umpqua there wasn't a big change because it wasn't affected as 01:47:00much as other forests with the Northwest Forest Plan that had more matrix [classification of lands in plan]. And it also had the support of the local populace, Roseburg, Douglas County, for continued harvest. And that's it. Yeah, you probably ought to go on from there.

SS: No, that's okay, we've pretty much finished that track. I just wanted to be complete. Now, after the North Umpqua, where did you go?

NM: I went to Lowell from...

SS: So, you went back to Lowell?

NM: No, wait a minute.

SS: You're reversed.

NM: Let me think of what I did there. So, from the Umpqua National Forest Diamond Lake District, I went to the McKenzie District on the Willamette, as district silviculturist and also in charge of sale planning and something else 01:48:00in there, but silviculture and sale planning primarily.

SS: What was the nature of the beast when you got here for that particular job? You'd been to all these different places, doing more or less silviculture?

NM: So, the Northwest Forest Plan was in full tilt. The district had gone to primarily commercial thinnings for their harvest. Any clear-cuts that were being done had been old sales that were still active. So, the new sales were commercial thinnings. Had some exposure with the H.J. Andrews on that because it was on the district.

SS: But there wasn't a lot of activity going on in terms of timber sales by this time?

NM: It had dropped significantly, yes. By that time, it was probably 10 percent or so of former harvest.


SS: Now, we haven't talked about the Northwest Forest Plan yet, but I'll use that as a segue. You were at North Umpqua during the whole Forest Wars, the Dwyer injunction, and then planning for and implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan. That four or five-year period of time, that happened when you were at North Umpqua?

NM: Yes.

SS: What do you remember about that dialogue when you were down there, the involvement or the effect that you saw in the local communities with the Forest Service, your impact, and how you saw that going forward?

NM: Okay, because of the situation in the Roseburg, Douglas County area, for whatever reason, the Northwest Forest Plan didn't hit the Umpqua National Forest as hard as other national forests, or at least the North Umpqua Drainage, the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Districts. So, the drop in harvest wasn't as 01:50:00drastic. So, it was a big impact to the communities, but it wasn't as devastating as some other areas.

SS: Right, because a lot of it wasn't northern spotted owl territory, correct?

NM: Right, right, yeah.

SS: It only mainly affected the more downstream portions?

NM: Yeah, the lower elevations.

SS: Lower than where you were stationed at, correct?

NM: Yeah, most of the Diamond Lake District was above 3,500-foot elevation.

SS: What do you remember about the stresses upon, the dialogues within the Forest Service, during that period of time?

NM: There was definitely a dichotomy of what we ought to be doing. So, particularly, the "old timber beasts," as I'd say, thought that it was ridiculous to be managing for anything other than timber. Many other folks, particularly, wildlife biologists, were saying, "It's the law, we got to....." So, there was some tension there.


SS: Do you think that the traditional forest people, especially the supervisors, maybe even the older guard, who were even older, were resentful?

NM: They were resentful, yeah. They didn't see a need for managing for anything other than timber production.

SS: And so you might even say that they resented the new, as one of my previous interviewees called them, the "ologists?"

NM: Yes, yes.

SS: Because they represented science, introspection and slowing down, and making much more difficult the traditional methods of managing lands?

NM: Yeah, they resented it because it was changing what they felt, how they felt, we ought to manage the forest lands.

SS: How did you feel about it personally? And you were a silviculturist, you weren't a senior manager, but you were caught up in all this and -- ?

NM: I had always had a broader view of forest management in terms of managing 01:52:00the forest, rather than managing a tree farm. So, they just pieced it out, it's the law of the land, we need to comply. We could have done different things than we did, but we didn't. We need to comply and manage for that suite of species, those old-growth-dependent species besides the northern spotted owl.

SS: Now, the marbled murrelet, that's a less-known species, but isn't that more on the West Slope, and even in the Coast Range more?

NM: It's Coast Range.

SS: Almost all Coast Range.

NM: Yeah, it's Coast Range. I believe it's no more than 50 miles from the Coast that they'll nest. So, for us, it's all Coast Range. They don't get into the Cascades. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if some bird got off-course and ended 01:53:00up in the Cascades, but occasionally, being a duck hunter, we occasionally get water fowl species that are found in Eurasia on the West Coast here, because they went the wrong way, turned left at the Bering Strait instead of right. So, you know, folks, birds get off-track sometimes.

SS: All species do.

NM: Yes.

SS: Even humans.

NM: Yes.

SS: Anyway, so, what do you think are the positives and what do you think are the negatives of the Northwest Forest Plan?

NM: The positives are that we recognized and tried to do something about managing for a suite of species. The negatives are that we didn't adequately address or consider a management option that didn't put set-asides. You know, we 01:54:00now have this piece of set-aside for timber, this piece of set-aside for owls, and never the twain shall intermix. I think that we could do that and be effective at it.

SS: In other words, you would be saying, adaptive management, but in a more flexible way, where one region wasn't all of one thing, versus --

NM: Yeah, yeah. The other factor is that, having talked enough with some of those scientists that were involved in putting together the Northwest Forest Plan, some things got changed between what the scientists proposed and what came out.

SS: For example?

NM: I may not be able to get the specifics, but, oh yes, I can. Streamside 01:55:00buffers. The management, the science team, didn't intend the streamside buffers to be no management, no harvest. When they came out, it was a no harvest.

SS: So, it was a more flexible designation?

NM: Designation. It was a more flexible destination.

SS: And it came out rigid?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Interesting.

NM: There were also little weird things that came out of it, like one of the forest ecologists in the Forest Service managed to get hemlock dwarf mistletoe put on the list of species that needed to be looked at. It is clearly not a 01:56:00species that was endangered or even rare. There were some parts of it that just didn't make sense. I think some scientists saw an opportunity to stick the Forest Service with research responsibilities, and managed to do it.

SS: Okay. So, basically, future funding-cycle opportunities?

NM: Yes, yes.

SS: But, so it's a mixed bag?

NM: It's a mixed bag.

SS: And twenty years out, I mean, I think a 20-year report will be coming out this year or next year?

NM: Yeah.

SS: The 15-year's been out for a while. What to you anticipate that report to say?

NM: It will probably say they did a great job. Did not quite meet the timber 01:57:00targets, big surprise.

SS: Are the timber targets anywhere near to being met in some forests?

NM: Not in Northwest Forest Plan forests. The Northwest Forest Plan assumes that we would be able to harvest older timber in the matrix, and that has not been the case. I was severely disappointed with the environmental groups and Fish and Wildlife Service that signed off on that plan, and then, as soon as they signed off, forgot that they agreed to it, and fought us on management of matrix land.

SS: So, we're fast-forwarding now to '98, and you're here in the McKenzie District by the Andrews, you're where you live now. Describe your job duties, 01:58:00experiences, as silviculturist in 1998, for the next few years?

NM: Okay. So, I was the silviculturist and was responsible for sale planning, or sale prep, putting up the timber sales. Our focus was on commercial thinning of stands, getting away from the clear-cuts which were the kind of the lightning rods for the environmental communities. We still had to do some survey-and-manage surveys, but while they were expensive, they weren't onerous in terms of stopping us from what we wanted to do. Partly, we selected stands we thought would be less likely to be an issue.

SS: And what about salvage logging and other forms of, well, even that can be controversial?


NM: Oh, it's been controversial, continues to be. I came in at the end of a combination drought and spruce budworm infestation that left lots of dead true firs up towards the pass. The district had tried to do something to harvest some of those, but with the delays in, delivery of delays by environmental groups and so on, by the time they got to it, there wasn't any value left, you know, they couldn't sell it.

SS: Because they were too rotten and they'd been out exposed for too long?

NM: Yeah, true firs start rotting about the day after they die. So, they're, they don't have many defense mechanisms against decay bacteria. So, within a 02:00:00couple years they're going to be to a point where there is no value to them.

SS: Now, going back to a different time and era, but the same interest group, if you will. You first got into forestry when the tail end of the French Pete controversy was happening?

NM: Yes.

SS: And that's something that really goes back to the late '50s and early '60s, kind of a pre-environmental age preservation debate?

NM: Yes.

SS: What did you know about that issue when you were younger, and how do you see that going forward as like an early litmus test for environmental activism in this region, and how things are today?

NM: Oh, boy, I think it is a continuum. Gifford Pinchot and John Muir were 02:01:00battling each other, preservation versus use. I was aware of French Pete, it was occurring while I was in college. And that was college, Oregon State, so it was a local issue.

SS: You heard about it?

NM: Yeah. I think it's a broader problem with society that we want what we want, and we don't want to compromise or cooperate with each other. So, nearest I can tell, the environmental community wants to protect everything. They're not really going to be happy until they either get shut down or public opinion turns enough against them, or they actually get to preserve everything.


SS: What do you think of the environmental community, of which you probably agree with a lot of the general precepts?

NM: I probably do agree with a lot of it, yeah.

SS: But why do you feel that the political dynamic has become what it is, and why people like you, who are more old-school conservationists with a preservationist bent, is that probably a fair assessment, are so unhappy with what you have seen happen in that activist community and overall political dynamic?

NM: Yeah. I suspect it has a lot to do with the move from rural to urban. Folks really don't understand where the lumber in their house came from, or don't care. You know, like milk comes from the grocery store. And when you separate 02:03:00those goods you're using from its location, from its source, then you can get some really weird ideas about what you ought to be doing with the source. That, you know, folks complain about what the forest community does to ecosystems, and I bet there isn't one Fender's Blue, whatever it is, Blue Fender Butterfly, in Eugene. You know, Eugene has wiped out an entire ecosystem, really. Replaced it with concrete and exotic species ecosystem. But, you know, it's a lack of 02:04:00understanding about consequences, lack of understanding about where we get the resources we use, and the lack of understanding what we have personally been responsible for in terms of altering ecosystems.

SS: Do you fear the environmental movement is not sustainable because of its intolerance and unwillingness to compromise in important situations?

NM: I'm not sure, because I suspect there's always going to be somebody will listen to the "woe is me, the world is ending tomorrow," and fund it.

SS: So, you're here on the McKenzie River, you're doing this. Let's go back further. When was the first time you came out to McKenzie River Valley?

NM: Oh, probably when I was working at Lowell for meetings, silviculture meetings.


SS: And what was your impression of this place, aesthetically and also as a forester, as a professional?

NM: I'd say, it was similar to the Lowell District, so more of the same. It was nice valley, pretty valley. I love forests, well, what's not to like?

SS: Right. Now, go more into your experiences when you returned, well, not returned, but when you came here in the late '90s, early 2000's?

NM: So, I'd say, pretty much business as usual for that period of time. We were planning sales, working around the Northwest Forest Plan, survey and manage. Doing thinning, so that we didn't hit the clear-cut button. Doing what we could 02:06:00and I thought doing a good job. Didn't have a lot of direct interaction with the Andrews. I mean, because they were here, I had interaction with them, but I didn't have at that point a direct involvement. At that time, Blue River and McKenzie were separate districts. And there was a silviculturist on the Blue River District that had responsibility for Forest Service silviculture input to the Andrews.

SS: Okay, who was that?

NM: Jim Mayo.

SS: Now, the people that really started interacting with the Andrews goes back quite a while, with Steve Eubanks and Lynn Burditt, particularly.

NM: Yeah, well, even --

SS: Steve, very interested in the science and the interchange, Lynn Burditt, 02:07:00kind of the Northwest Forest Plan situation.

NM: Yes. More social interaction.

SS: Right. And so, you still didn't interact with them very much?

NM: No.

SS: Even when you came back here?

NM: No, because the Blue River District had most of that responsibility. So, we interacted, but not on a regular basis.

SS: But what did you know of the science that emanated from the Andrews that had changed how you looked?

NM: Oh, sure.

SS: You already talked about the spotted owl, obviously, and Eric Forsman did his work at the Andrews, but also all over the Northwest.

NM: So, Franklin did his, a lot of his plant association stuff, centered around the Andrews. At that point, there was even some information centered around the Andrews in terms of downed wood, the importance of downed wood, some of those 02:08:00sorts of things. I was very aware of a lot of the work coming out of the Andrews. And being a voracious reader of forest literature, I read a lot of that stuff.

SS: So, you saw some of these of what are now famous studies?

NM: Yes.

SS: And ecosystem science. You saw them coming through the pike, as you were able to read the literature. And I suppose even through the Forest Service pipeline, gets new information, right?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: And what do you remember the reputation of the Andrews was when you first really started hearing what they were doing, and I'm talking about in terms of the "old guard" we were talking about, "the resistance," and the "new-fangled, difficult" ideas?

NM: Well, it's interesting because I think the Andrews has always had a good reputation for doing good science. It's just the conclusions that came out of it 02:09:00weren't always accepted by, even folks like Kerrick [Mike] that really supported the Andrews, didn't necessarily like what came out of it.

SS: Because they knew that it would make their jobs more difficult, or they literally just didn't agree with the conclusions?

NM: I think some of both. I think some of both.

SS: Right. And what were some of those things that you discovered were coming out of the Andrews and when do you remember hearing them? And there's obviously, there's Jerry Franklin, there's Eric Forsman, there's all these different things?

NM: Yeah, I guess, I don't have a timeline of when I started hearing.

SS: Just generalize. It doesn't have to be time-specific.

NM: So, I would say probably in the '80s, I started hearing about some of the old-growth issues, downed wood issues, different requirements for different 02:10:00species. And, you know, as the information became available, then my knowledge base became broader.

SS: Did you hear about Mark Harmon's 200-year log decomp study?

NM: I did. That was probably, I'm trying to think. I bet I didn't hear about that until I moved here to the McKenzie District.

SS: So that was after-the-fact, it had been going for a while, right?

NM: Yeah. Oh, not that long, I don't think, but it had been going for a while.

SS: Now, how would you describe the community in this area, and I guess you could extend the range of not just your district, but your knowledge of how this place was at that time, and what you knew about it, how it had evolved in the last 10 years, 15 years, before you got here?

NM: So, by the time I moved here, it had changed significantly, from a 02:11:00resource-based economy to a recreation-retirement economy, or communities, pretty much up and down the McKenzie Valley. When you get west of Leaburg, then it's less so because you're close enough you can commute easily into town.

SS: Right.

NM: But still it's those folks, while there may be working class, they aren't resource-oriented. So, the community, if you will, in the McKenzie Valley shifted from a resource-based to a non-resource based.


SS: How do you feel that the locals that were still here felt about the Forest Service by this time?

NM: Oh, they hated us because the resource-oriented folks put the blame on the Forest Service. You know, it was our fault that we weren't tagging anymore. And that's just the lack of a broader perspective on their part. They couldn't tie the broader aspects of society's change to what was happening in the Forest Service.

SS: So, there were some contentious interactions during these times with you, and maybe, supervisors?

NM: Typically not. The logging community would complain within themselves. We would tend to hear about it from the leaders of that community, which tended to 02:13:00be more moderate in how they dealt with us. You know, typically, the loggers wouldn't come up to us and start screaming at us.

SS: They'd scream at their bosses who would come send their representatives to you guys?

NM: Yeah. I mean, we knew what was going on, but we didn't have a lot of direct interaction. Partly, that's because we didn't frequent the same bars.

SS: So, how did you try to adapt being here to the totally new matrix of what multiple-use and sustainability meant, however you would define that?

NM: So, for me, other than the fact they chose a different model of how to 02:14:00manage than I would have, it was part of the continuum for me of continuing to increase our knowledge of managing a forest for the wide variety of values that a forest can provide, including the plants, non-tree species, plants other than trees and animals, and maintaining them as part of the ecosystem, if you will. So, for me, it was just a continuum change. It wasn't a black-and-white change.

SS: Now, a slightly different topic. How do you see these changing management paradigms and political dynamics and how they have affected fire management?

NM: Surprisingly, fire management has been on its own trajectory. The teaching 02:15:00of the public and ourselves about fire management and what we might do to lessen stand-replacing wildfires where they didn't used to occur, has been an education for us. On the west side, while I think that there's lots of areas where we could reduce stocking and reduce the chance of a stand-replacing fire, it's less clear on the west side than it is on the east side. East side folks are still willing to let us do things and so on, for the most part.

SS: Because they know how hot a fire can burn if it's not thinned. Correct?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Because of the dryness?

NM: Yeah, and when the people in Sisters, two or three times in a five-year 02:16:00period, have to think about leaving home, that kind of gets their attention, and Bend's close enough that they see what's happening in Sisters. So, there's support there for that because it's very evident that if you thin it, you can reduce the change of stand-replacing. If you don't thin it, it's going to go up in smoke if it catches fire. West side, that isn't as clear.

SS: What were you taught in forestry school and during your learning curves that you described, all your self-education, about fire management? I mean, obviously, the Forest Service foundational philosophy following the 1910 "blow-up" [multiple million acre fires in northern Rockies] was to suppress all fires by nightfall [next morning], or whatever the phase was?

NM: Yeah.

SS: And how did your philosophy evolve as a silviculturist, as you also understood these dynamics?

NM: So, even early in my career when I went to Bly, I had some of the knowledge 02:17:00that low-intensity fires were a natural part of the pine system. We didn't go there for a variety of reasons, but at least we were starting to think about that as an issue. West side, much less so. Because it's very unclear. I think the west side has greater ranges of natural fire history.

SS: Because of the moisture?

NM: Because of moisture.

SS: Right.

NM: And you know, the asbestos forest burns when it gets dry. So, it's less clear on the west side whether those actions will actually reduce stand-replacing fires. Very clear on the east side.


SS: Now, it's been quite a while since there's been a catastrophic, huge fire on the west slope of the Cascades. When was the last one?

NM: Well, it depends on how big you call it.

SS: I mean, that's a matter of whether you live in the neighborhood, I guess.

NM: The Diamond Lake District had a 15,000-acre fire that came within three miles of the ranger station. You know, when it gets that close, it gets kind of squeaky. But probably on the west side of the Cascades, I don't remember anything much larger than 15,000-20,000 acres, but we've had several of them.

SS: Now, the B&B up by the pass [Santiam] was --?

NM: That's an east side fire, and it was 90,000 [acres].

SS: That's what I thought.

NM: Yeah, and it had popped over [Cascade crest], but really, it was popping over from an east side fire.

SS: Right, and the really historic, huge burns in Oregon history, the Oxbow and 02:19:00the Tillamook burns, plural, were in the Coast Range?

NM: Yeah.

SS: So, just --?

NM: We had the same sort of thing in the Cascades, but we just don't, we haven't advertised the history of that. Some of the more recent studies have shown that even in the Andrews and surrounding area, there can be return intervals of 70 years and return levels of two-three hundred years, within a relatively short time.

SS: Do you see a fuel load problem in this general vicinity? Let's just say --

NM: Well, yes and no.

SS: The McKenzie River Valley, you know, the greater watershed here?

NM: At 60 years, we can have 40,000-50,000 board-feet to the acre. That's a huge fuel load. Mostly live, but it's a huge fuel load. If it gets dry enough, it 02:20:00will burn. I think what we need to remember is that about 1850, some million or two million acres of the Coast Range burned. Now, there wasn't anybody out there trying to put it out, so who knows if we could have kept it to merely a million acres. But, the Tillamook [1930s], I think, was close to 500,000 with the multiple burns, and we were trying to put that out. So, it really has to do with a combination of fuel loads and weather conditions.

SS: Now, you left the McKenzie River District for a while before returning again, am I correct?

NM: Yes.

SS: Tell me about where you went after that?

NM: From the McKenzie District, I went to the Fremont-Winema. I first went to 02:21:00the Winema at Chiloquin. I was there about a year, and then moved over to the Fremont to be the forest silviculturist for the combined forest. Total of about five years there, a year in Chiloquin, and four years in Lakeview.

SS: And you were dealing with pines again mostly?

NM: Mostly pines, some true firs. We were dealing with a little bit of reducing the extent of juniper because it had really invaded into some of the historic grass shrublands.

SS: Now, is that because of ranching?

NM: Well, both ranching and wildlife. The junipers pretty much take over a site and reduce the available forest to zippo if it's very thick.

SS: Now, the political debates down there when you were there were more 02:22:00connected to the water from the Klamath River and that whole dynamic?

NM: Oh, yes. Yes.

SS: So, politics didn't really enter too much into what you did out in the forest?

NM: It didn't. Lakeview had what was called the "Sustained Yield Unit," which meant that, I think it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 acres of the Fremont, was set aside to provide logs to mills within the unit, which meant Lakeview and Paisley.

SS: Right.

NM: That had expired, but the community including the environmental community, realized that if something like that didn't remain in place, the last mill 02:23:00likely would close, which would be a severe blow to the economy of Lake County. So, they got together and convinced the Forest Service to maintain that in a slightly different form, but basically, the same sort of thing that the logs from there would be dedicated to the Lakeview mill.

SS: How many people work at that mill, approximately?

NM: Oh, less than a hundred.

SS: Oh, but that's for a town the size of Lakeview, that's --?

NM: It's huge. It's huge.

SS: That's a gigantic chunk of the demographic and the economy.

NM: And well-paying jobs, relatively. The issues there had to deal with harvesting thinning stands to make them both fire resilient and provide logs to 02:24:00the mill. One of the issues there, was that up until 2008 or something like that, they ran everything through their head rig that was designed for a 70-inch log. They could not make money on anything less than 12-inch diameter. So, they really didn't want half of the volume that we could actually provide to them.

SS: And this is the place that you described, I think off the record, that was very slow in adapting. Right?

NM: Very slow in adapting, yes. You know, Lakeview Mill is part of Collins Pine, which is a bigger, not huge, but a bigger organization. And they couldn't get it 02:25:00together to put in a small log-processing facility.

SS: And how much would that cost, probably a million dollars?

NM: A million dollars, maybe less. Sawmills are still relatively cheap to get into, for the value, for the return you can get from them. When I was there, there was, still is, a big thought process around biomass, utilization of biomass, because there's lots of sub-merchantable stuff even for a small log mill. One of the things I did when I was there was go through our timber inventory to evaluate how much volume we might have, you know, kind per-acre base, how much tonnage of biomass we might have available to feed a biomass 02:26:00plant. As part of that, I also analyzed what most folks would call merchantable timber from 7 to 12 inches. That's where I pointed out to the Forest Service and the mill, that the mill was foregoing virtually half the total volume that we could supply, because they just wouldn't harvest that stuff. They'd refuse to harvest it.

SS: Now, they finally adapted, though? NM: They finally adapted. And I haven't been back to talk to folks enough to see how successful that was.

SS: Would you say that's one of the reasons why many of these smaller mills went under?

NM: Yeah.

SS: They just failed. They refused or failed, or maybe they just didn't have the liquidity to upgrade, shall we say?

NM: Yeah, I think so. I'd say probably most was due to short time spans, a short 02:27:00time horizon. They couldn't see that they needed to put some money away to upgrade their equipment. They couldn't see the Forest Service wasn't going to provide them everything, all the big logs that they wanted forever down the road. And so, they couldn't or wouldn't adapt until it was too late.

SS: I haven't talked about this, but how did international markets affect what you have done in your career in the Forest Service? Asia mainly, is what I'm talking about.

NM: Yeah, it has indirectly at times raised the price, the price that we could sell trees and timber for. We've always had a prohibition against exporting logs 02:28:00from federal land as logs.

SS: So, that never happened then?

NM: No. One exception, the Port Orford cedar. That was one that they could export logs, but that was it was kind of a specialty product that somebody got an exemption for.

SS: Because I just remember hearing from wherever when I was younger, "Part of the problem is they're shipping all the logs overseas."

NM: To some extent that's true.

SS: That would be private stands though, right?

NM: Private stands, yes. But because of the increased demand, and I'd say limited supply, I mean, not limited, but limited. You know, the folks are only going to cut so much a year, no matter what the price.

SS: So, it would have?

NM: So, it raised the price. SS: It would have affected, it would have raised the price. Exactly.

NM: Yeah, and it probably affected the prices. If a company was exporting logs, 02:29:00they could not buy logs from the Forest Service. So, what they call substitution. So, they couldn't export private logs and cut Forest Service logs. So, that did affect probably some mills in terms of how much timber they could get.

SS: Now, there is theoretical science which is often called basic science, and there is applied science. You've alluded to some of these issues earlier. How would you define these categories, and in regards to research sites, the Andrews or other research in general, what responsibilities do you think scientists have in applying their research towards something practical? And inversely, what role do you think you see that basic science has, independent of utilitarian end-goals?

NM: Basic science has its place. And a lot of what we know now as applied, we 02:30:00wouldn't know if somebody hadn't been doing basic science. It's very tough for a practitioner, even myself who does a lot of reading, to take basic science and move it into a practical sense, other than in very rare instances. But I still support some of that basic science because over the years, I've seen how basic science brings us some information that we then use to develop some practical science, if you will, something that we can use in terms of forest management.


SS: Now, kind of putting the shoe on the other foot, what are the responsibilities of the land manager, the technician, as they relate to important scientific findings, even if they could result in difficult management challenges and political problems?

NM: I guess from my standpoint as a land manager, we need to pay attention to what we learn. I mean, science is where we're going to learn it, you know, one way or another. We need to pay attention to it and react appropriately and make the changes we need to make. It's always difficult to make changes, so some folks do it easier than others.

SS: You came back here for the very last stint of your career. Is that correct?

NM: Yes.

SS: You came back from the Winema-Fremont stint down south, in what year?


NM: It must have been, let me think, 2006? Probably 2006.

SS: And then you worked for how many years till you retired?

NM: I retired the end of 2010.

SS: And what were the last Forest Service years like, once again, I assume, as a silviculturist?

NM: The silviculturist for the forest [Willamette], which of course, a lot of it, once you hit forest level --

SS: So you where there for the whole Willamette National Forest?

NM: Yeah, for the whole Willamette National Forest. More administrative stuff. I was lucky on the Fremont-Winema in that I got to do more hands-on stuff.

SS: So, you were still out in the field?

NM: I was still out in the field, more than I had any reason to expect to be. So, the Willamette pretty much had silviculturists on all the districts. 02:33:00Fremont-Winema didn't. And they could handle their district stuff pretty well. So, minor amounts of technical advice, that sorts of thing, but more administrative budget stuff. But also part of my job was being the silviculturist for the H.J. Andrews. The silviculturist for the Forest Service that reviewed H.J. Andrews stuff, interacted with H.J. Andrews on silviculture from the standpoint of the National Forest.

SS: Right. So, before we get into the Andrews because this it was later in your career when you really interacted, but this is important to get to this point. Give me an overview through the different districts from a silviculturist's perspective in the Willamette; the Detroit, the Sweet Home, the Lowell, others, and since they changed names over time. You don't have to give me an exhaustive list.


NM: Right.

SS: But just kind of by zone, if you want to call it that.

NM: The Lowell District and consequently, the Cottage Grove District on the Umpqua, being pretty much in the same drainage, were very much like the Coast Range in terms of productivity. Low elevation, relatively. So Cottage Grove and Lowell were very much like the Coast Range in terms of productivity, relatively low elevation, relatively deep soils, plenty of moisture. Not terrible, you know, pretty mild winters, so trees were growing year-round. Part of the Sweet Home area is like that. You get higher up in elevation, you get colder winters, shorter growing seasons, and consequently lower productivity. The south end of 02:35:00the Willamette is a little bit dryer, so a little bit less productivity, but still nothing to complain about. And obviously, you've got rocky ridges and so on that don't do real well. And the high elevation into the sub-alpine and alpine zones.

SS: And this area here is?

NM: It's intermediate. Very good productivity. It's a pretty-long growing season, but you know, probably below 2,500 feet, you get freezing at night, but not heavy freezing. So, trees are producing carbohydrates year-round.

SS: Now, those last four or five years were when you really interacted with the 02:36:00H.J. Andrews?

NM: Yes.

SS: And by this time, the Andrews had evolved a lot from its early days as an experimental forest without any infrastructure except one road, at the start.

NM: Right.

SS: To the infamous "ghetto in the meadow," where the trailers where the floors fell through sometimes, there were rodents and stuff, to this modern, first-class facility. And so you came here for your real active period when all those things [modern facilities] were in place?

NM: Yeah, yeah. I had seen it early on when it was --

SS: Tell me about some of those first impressions before we fast-forward. Okay?

NM: Very fleeting, because they were just short and I saw the "ghetto in the meadow" as we went out into the woods. But I would characterize it as typical 02:37:00Forest Service trailers, which are trailers that the Forest Service had gotten surplus from the Army or housing or somebody. And we got them because they were in poor shape to begin with.

SS: So, you remember that?

NM: I remember that. And I wasn't around for the development. And so when I came back --

SS: It was what it is now?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: And so, just what do you remember, just describe any of your interactions, however you want to describe it from the facilities that you saw, the people who were in charge, how the forest was run, how the science interacted with what you were doing, your liaison role, all of those things?

NM: So, my liaison role had more to do with specifically looking at proposals to 02:38:00see if we as the Forest Service could support those proposals. And then, some recommendations in terms of health of trees and that, that's sort of an offshoot. But as a result of that, I attended a lot of H.J. Andrews meetings, LTER meetings, to keep abreast of what they were planning. It just made more sense to do that than to allow them to get down to a hard plan, and then for us to say, "Well, maybe we ought to do something different." So, I'd say it was a cooperative venture.

SS: Now, there haven't been any major, what they would call "treatments" in the old days at the Andrews for a long time?

NM: The uneven age management was the most recent extensive one.


SS: And when was that?

NM: So, that first occurred before I got here. Early 2000's, probably.

SS: So, there was a cut fairly recently?

NM: Yeah.

SS: But it was much smaller than the clear-cuts and the different things that had been in the very early days?

NM: Yeah, it was an attempt to look at how you might turn even-age management and uneven-age management of the Andrews stands that had already been harvested once, that had already been clear-cut.

SS: Right. And how do you remember that project turning out?

NM: Well, it's still ongoing.

SS: Or how it is turning out?

NM: I think it's turning out okay. I think we've learned since then that maybe that wasn't the brightest thing to do.

SS: How so?

NM: I mean, it's fine. SS: How so?

NM: We quickly went away from looking at uneven-age management on the west side, 02:40:00and probably rightfully so. I think, uneven-age management on the west side is fighting against the course of nature. West-side forests tend to come in, pretty much within, even naturally, in a 10-year period.

SS: We're trying to out-guess nature, in other words?

NM: You're trying to work against nature.

SS: Work against, yeah.

NM: You're trying to work against nature's inclination on these species and conditions.

SS: Okay.

NM: But I think we learned some stuff from it and could learn some more stuff from it. One of the things that I think is important and we still haven't figured out, is growth rate, particularly of Douglas-fir when you have various size classes. You know, what kind of growth reduction you would have with a 02:41:00Douglas-fir seedling under partial over-storing.

SS: Because of solar radiation and nutrient issues both?

NM: Probably more with solar radiation, because we seem to have nutrient and water sufficient to not be a big deal. I think it's mostly solar for Douglas-fir and even hemlock and cedars.

SS: In seeing the sophisticated and multi-varied research program and very developed infrastructure, what programs, what studies, impressed you or made an impression on you, even to this day, because you're still in contact with the Andrews?

NM: I think the stream-flow stuff, partly because that's a thing that I don't 02:42:00know a whole lot about. The air-flow stuff that, oh, darn, what's her name --

SS: Barbara Bond?

NM: Barbara Bond has been doing. Very interesting. We've always known that climate, weather in mountains, is very different than on flat land. And I think we're learning just how much different it is, in a quantitative fashion. You know, as foresters, we always knew that south slopes are drier and tougher to grow trees than on north slopes and that sort of thing.

SS: Right.

NM: But we didn't have a base understanding of why, in terms of moisture and 02:43:00heat load and those sorts of things. But I think some of the stuff that she and others have been doing with climate and mountains, has really been highlighting what those differences are and how much different they are than on flat ground.

SS: And micro-climatic variations?

NM: Yes.

SS: In airflows, temperatures, precipitation?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Much more complex than you would even intuitively think at first?

NM: Yeah, much more complex over much shorter distance than we'd intuitively think about.

SS: Interesting, yeah. What did you know about watershed dynamics when you started? And of course, that's a big part of the whole history of the Andrews going back to the clear-cuts and what happens to the watershed, but you mentioned about stream-flow and things like that?

NM: I think for foresters, stream flow and stream temperature, have always been 02:44:00an issue, probably not one that we understood really well as foresters.

SS: Right.

NM: You know, hydrologists understood it better. But it's been an issue for us, so I paid attention to it, but by no means, have become an expert in it.

SS: So, how has that changed from the beginning to now? I mean, you're retired but I assume you're still paying attention?

NM: I am still paying attention, yes.

SS: Reading this and that, yes?

NM: It was slow enough progression, I'm not sure that I could daylight it enough. I've just changed an understanding of those processes.

SS: But in what way? How, what's your understanding like today, and what was it like at the start? NM: I think when I was a young forester, it was kind of black and white. You open it up, it heats up, that's bad. Close it, don't take the 02:45:00canopy off, and it stays cool, and that's good. I think it's much more nuanced than that, and much more site-dependent on the effects. And partly because of bedrock type, partly because of inflow from springs, partly temperature that the water is, that, you know, as it gets into the stream. Those sorts of things.

SS: Now, in a related subject, the issue of debris, or dead wood, or however people describe it.

NM: Yeah.

SS: In the old days, they would often either burn it off, slash piles, or they'd scrape it off, or now that's --

NM: The fisheries folks had us pull it out of the streams.

SS: Right.

NM: Even early in my career.

SS: And so that has completely changed?

NM: That has completely changed, yes.

SS: And the Andrews has been a central player in that?


NM: Yes, they have.

SS: Not just in the Northwest?

NM: Right.

SS: But how the world understands, decaying wood, carbon cycles, nutrients, etc.?

NM: The importance of wood in streams.

SS: Right.

NM: Yeah, that's one place where the Andrews has been at the forefront.

SS: And that, when did you realize that what they were doing before, and what you were taught, was maybe not the best thing to do?

NM: Probably pretty early in my career. SS: Really?

NM: Yeah, I was one of those that wondered about the intelligence of running a Cat [bulldozer] down a stream to clear the wood out. (Laughs)

SS: Yeah?

NM: Yeah, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do to me.

SS: Even after a clear-cutted swath, the whole area?

NM: Yeah, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do to me.

SS: And what was the rationale?

NM: The rationale? Because I learned from George Brown himself [former OSU-COF 02:47:00Dean], the rationale at that point was that you put too much biological oxygen demand on the river, we were depleting oxygen in the streams. So, you had to get all that organic matter out of it. And you were impeding migratory species, migratory salmon.

SS: Ah, yes.

NM: As it turns, neither of those were true, but --

SS: That was the thinking, yes.

NM: But that was the rationale at that point.

SS: Now, you've already, any other important scientific discoveries at the Andrews or in science in general, but especially the Andrews, that have directly affected land management policies and practices? Just beyond what we've already talked about.

NM: I think the Andrews was the first to use three-drum yarders on their 02:48:00high-lead, their high-lead system, at that point. [1960s] So, they were even at the forefront of logging systems.

SS: You're talking about the Wyssen high --

NM: Yeah. And at that point, it was basically a three-drum, three drums and an engine on a skid, and they were using spark trees for the tower.

SS: Yeah.

NM: So I don't forget, there's an interesting anecdote on the H.J. Andrews. You probably know that the Andrews was created through a memorandum of understanding between the research station [PNW] and the region.

SS: Yes.

NM: I think maybe the only one, only experimental forest that got produced that 02:49:00way. Early, they had Watersheds 1, 2, 3, etc. Watersheds, I think, 9, 10, and 11, were actually outside of that agreement area. And therefore, until I came along, they were part of the general forest. And not --

SS: Was it because of a surveying mistake or -- ?

NM: No.

SS: Or just an oversight or --?

NM: They just decided to stick these watersheds outside of the boundary.

SS: Okay.

NM: I mean, it was early, it was relatively early, I think the early '60s, when, Watersheds 1, 2, 3 and so on, were being harvested, that they did some work on 9, 10 and 11. So, I looked it up and realized that, we've already dedicated it 02:50:00to the Andrews, for all practical purposes, but we hadn't recognized it administratively. I started talking with folks and said, "Hey, folks, we really ought to do something about this." Because as it stands now, as a district ranger, you'd say, "We're going to do something in there."

SS: Let's cut, right?

NM: Let's cut, yeah. Let's thin it, whatever.

SS: Regardless of the science that's been going on?

NM: Yeah.

SS: Sayonara, right?

NM: Sayonara. So, after much discussion and talk, and as I recall, Fred wasn't real keen on opening that can of worms.

SS: Okay.

NM: Because he was afraid that it might not -- SS: Fred, you mean, Fred Swanson?

NM: Fred Swanson, yes. I think he was afraid it wasn't going to go the right way. I knew my folks on the forest and knew it was going to go the right way. But, we finally ended up through a nonsignificant amendment to the forest plan 02:51:00[Willamette National Forest] of putting those three watersheds into a research designation. We didn't add it to the Andrews as such.

SS: So, it's still not technically?

NM: It's not part of the Andrews, but it does have a research designation.

SS: It is designated as essentially a research natural area, a contiguous area, right?

NM: Well, no. It's not a research natural area, but it's in a planned designation that holds it for research.

SS: Okay.

NM: So that the district rangers decide that who, he doesn't like whoever's running the Andrews at the time, and decides to go in, it would be a little bit more difficult for a ranger to come in and do something that would be contrary to the interests of the research community.

SS: Now, here's a related question. I ask everybody this one. OSU and U.S. 02:52:00Forest Service co-administration of the Andrews can today be held up as a model for effective inter-institutional management and science. However, that hasn't always been the case. There have been rougher patches. Earlier generations of Forest Service managers, often didn't see the wisdom of long-term science. How would you characterize these dynamics during your late tenure and your exposure to the Andrews' relations with the Forest [Willamette] and what do you know about the past history in that area?

NM: I don't know much about the past history. I know, vaguely, that there were some periods when it was less cooperative than others. I think that during my tenure, the forest [Willamette] recognized and supported the Andrews' mission, 02:53:00if you will. I think the research community somewhat got that. I think they still view it as their chunk of land that they ought to be able to do whatever they want with. But since it is still officially part of the Willamette National Forest, the Willamette National Forest has to make sure that it's managed under the broad concepts of the forest.

SS: So, major plans at the Andrews still have to go through the Forest Service?

NM: Yeah. And within reason, they're going to be, in my tenure and probably still currently, they'll be approved. There might be some tweaks.

SS: What do you think the partnership of land managers, the Forest Service, has 02:54:00given the H.J.A. research community, turning it the other way?

NM: Hopefully, it has given them a better appreciation of what land managers go through and what types of information are helpful to us.

SS: All right.

NM: And I know that that's a mixed bag. You know, people are just people. Some aren't going to care what the land manager needs or wants. Some are going to be more understanding.

SS: They're just glad they are funded for their project and have a job. Right?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: Or they're just immersed in their science?

NM: They're immersed in their science and they have a narrower view of the world.

SS: Right.

NM: As if none of us -

SS: Now, regarding the OSU and the Forest Service researcher and the Andrews, 02:55:00how many people really know they're up there or understand who they are and what they do?

NM: Outside of the research community, very few people.

SS: I mean, does anybody? I mean, you live here now. Does anybody ever talk about those guys down there, or when you were actively working?

NM: The only folks that I know that talk about it have some tie with them, and that they know somebody that works there, or are, part of the Forest Service, or something. But just the general public, for the most part, have no clue that they're there.

SS: You don't think there's a continuum of people saying, "Well, the spotted owl started up there, the "old-growth New Forestry" stuff started in part up there, 02:56:00therefore, Northwest Forest Plan, our economy, is bad." Do you believe there's very few people -- ? NM: Very few people put that together.

SS: Okay.

NM: Very few people put that together.

SS: And why would that be?

NM: People don't pay attention to a lot of stuff that isn't very important to them. People in general, tend not to pay a whole lot of attention to a whole lot of things. They have things that are important to them; they pay attention to them. I doubt that there's more than three dozen people in the McKenzie Valley total that aren't involved in with the Forest Service or Andrews, that actually can put all that together. They have no clue that the Andrews is the basis of a 02:57:00lot of this watershed, large wood, old-growth research.

SS: To me, it's a natural connection to make, but I study this stuff. And it's just a question. I am truly curious about it because we mentioned the urban-rural dynamics changing in this country. And you mentioning that it was a big part, in your opinion, of why the environmental community is often out-of-touch with natural resource use in the old way, use of the land, you know, the working forest, so to speak.

NM: Yeah.

SS: But it also can be extended, I think, to the kind of cultural differences and resentments toward whomever?

NM: Right.

SS: Toward the lost, the proverbial "them," the lost way of life. And I've seen 02:58:00it in other places in the country where it's actually, it's a very aggressive and angry form, like the Colorado Plateau over all the wilderness area issues. And, you know --

NM: Nevada.

SS: They know where the BLM office is and they know where the Park Service offices are, and they directly blame them, along with the environmental folks.

NM: Oh, yeah. I think some of those folks directly blame the Forest Service.

SS: But they don't blame the pointy-head university types or researchers?

NM: They don't even know, I think for the most part, they don't even know that's the foundation of the Forest Service decisions.

SS: Interesting.

NM: Yeah.

SS: I guess, I'm surprised that people wouldn't do that, but at the same time --

NM: Do you see it in the newspaper?

SS: So, regarding the Forest Service now, do they still resent the Forest 02:59:00Service up here? I mean, you're retired, but you know all the people.

NM: I think there's very few that resent the Forest Service.

SS: Do you think it's just because people have moved on, people have died, they've moved away, they've accepted with a resigned fatalism, or --?

NM: Yeah. Those who are in the timber industry that are still here are still employed. Mostly, by private harvesting. They've moved on and it's no big deal. Those who lost their jobs have moved out, so they're no longer here to have that antipathy towards the Forest Service. The folks that are here are mostly displaced suburbanites.

SS: So, they would rather see all the trees stay where they are?

NM: Yes, yes.

SS: So, where is active cutting going on anywhere in this general area, from 03:00:00where we are at McKenzie Bridge right now?

NM: So, private cutting just about three miles up North Bank Road. You'd see private cutting down between here and Blue River, you know, the slope, particularly south of the river.

SS: I saw quite a few log trucks coming down the mountain when I was coming up here, so?

NM: Right now, I'm not sure where the Forest Service is harvesting, probably up east of here up, probably up Foley Ridge Road, which is just beyond the Forest Service office. And then probably, some coming off further up what we call the 03:01:00flat country, the country south and east from Highway 126, between there and the wilderness boundary.

SS: Okay, I know where that is. What do you see as the value of the official science liaisons? John Cissell was one in the past, but Cheryl Friesen is that person now. What do you see is the value of that person in interfacing with the Andrews, but also interfacing with the community about science?

NM: I think there's real value to that. It doesn't necessarily have to be a National Forest system person. When I was young, the science community did that, you know, deliberately reached out and gave one-day or two or three-day seminars 03:02:00on the latest science. That isn't happening anymore. So, to some extent, I'm really glad that Cheryl is doing that. And she has taken it pretty seriously. You know, she actually tries to put on several sessions a year transferring the latest science out to practitioners. More of that could be done, but, she can only do so much. And really, she's the only one in this region doing that.

SS: But she does it in a very approachable, friendly way.

NM: She does, yeah.

SS: Her personality is part of the reason, but I think that's just how she decided to do the job.

NM: She's got a passion for it.

SS: Yes. Right, she really loves that.

NM: Yeah.

SS: What do you think could be improved within the U.S. Forest Service?


NM: So, I think one of the things that could be improved, it might be impossible, but less reaction to political changes, changes in administration, that create changes in how we do business. I also recognize that that's where we get our money, that's going to continue to how we do business to some extent.

SS: How do you think that the change in administrations, especially in the increasingly hyper-partisan environment of Washington, is affecting the mission of the Forest Service, which used to be more of a constant? And I take it, 03:04:00that's what you were trying to address. But how do you do that?

NM: Partly, yeah. Actually, I think that to some extent, both parties have lost interest in management of our national forests. And that may actually be a benefit to us, because the changes we see from, you know, between Democrat and Republican administrations, is much less than it was early in my career, which is to some extent a good thing considering we don't have the level, the funding that would allow us to do as much as we did in the past. You know, if the Forest Service was tied as much to party affiliation as it used to be, we'd see wider swings.


SS: Because if you assumed, and this is obviously a simplistic bifurcation of partisan politics, but you would say, oh, we have a Republican president, it's a "get-out-the-cut" U.S. Forest Service director, and that will be the directives down the line. And the other way, you would assume there would be a much more preservation bent to the Democratic appointees, and the directors down the line, correct?

NM: Right, yeah.

SS: But you're seeing less of that?

NM: Less of that. Bush didn't fund us any better than Obama's been funding us.

SS: And I think you're probably thinking back to the swing from the Carter years to the Reagan years.

NM: Yes.

SS: That's when it was, James Watt was the Interior Secretary, for example, not the Forest Service's boss, but a very polarizing figure?

NM: A very polarizing figure. Well, actually, we had a chief at that time who 03:06:00was getting the same thing from the undersecretary of ag. And it was really interesting, because that guy must have had more backbone than anybody would ever give him credit for. The undersecretary in the newspaper was often quoted that we were going to increase the cut significantly. We did not see that in official correspondence.

SS: So, that meant?

NM: The chief was saying, "I don't think so." (Laughs)

SS: I understand.

NM: Yeah, and at that point, the chief was a career employee who was not an appointee.

SS: Which chief was this?

NM: Peterson [Max] was the chief. It surprised me because the guy was an 03:07:00engineer, he wasn't a forester. And was still willing to stonewall the administration. At least, that's what it looked like. Who knows what was happening in D.C., but the Undersecretary was saying we're going to increase the cut significantly, the chief ain't telling us that.

SS: Well, you can just call it passive resistance, I guess?

NM: Yeah, yeah.

SS: He'd just ignore it.

NM: And since he was a career employee, he could get away with it.

SS: He had tenure on a deep level.

NM: Yeah.

SS: Same question applied to the Willamette National Forest, what you believe could be improved here?

NM: There's lots of little things that could be improved, I expect. I don't 03:08:00think anything big, because with the Northwest Forest Plan, we wouldn't be able to propose changing that paradigm of setting aside for one thing and then setting something aside for another thing. We couldn't even propose putting it all together and managing it for a variety of resources. And that's what I think the Forest Service could be successful. Politically, it would never fly.

SS: Right.

NM: And the Willamette couldn't change it on its own because of the "Declaration of Critical Habitat" by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

SS: Would you say the Willamette is the most political of the forests in Oregon?


NM: Oh, no. I wouldn't say so.

SS: No? I mean in terms of activist focus, contentious dynamics?

NM: Yes, I would say.

SS: I didn't mean internally, in the Forest Service.

NM: Yeah, I would say the Willamette because of its close relationship with the Environmental Law Center [University of Oregon in Eugene]. Close relationship and close proximity to Environmental Law Center makes it get more than most other forests do. SS: Right.

NM: You know, we're the home of Oregon Wild, we're the home of OFSLE and home of the AFSEEE [Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics], but anyway.

SS: Is there anything that you think that the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest could do better, or another thing they could study or study differently?

NM: I kind of alluded to it earlier, but our knowledge of trees, of seedlings 03:10:00grown under over-stories in the Douglas-fir region, is very limited. We don't have the data in order to develop models that will tell us how those trees develop. And I think, you know, there's been lots of this messy forest, messy clear-cut New Forestry stuff, the stuff that Franklin and Johnson are working on, where if we truly want to try to estimate what kind of product we'll get out of it, we need that information.

SS: Right. What are some lasting memories and relationships that have developed about your time in the Forest Service, first of all, and then we'll fast-forward to the Andrews. But answer them in two parts.

NM: Okay.

SS: Tell me about your lasting memories, relationships, things that are specific 03:11:00to your career that maybe you haven't mentioned yet? Special things.

NM: Okay, probably one of, the Forest Service in general, is very open to new members coming into a district or office of any kind. Every time I've moved, I felt welcome. You know, folks, "Oh, you're the new guy. Let's show you around. This is how we do things. This is what you need to know. Come on over for dinner tonight." Very open. Family-type of atmosphere. And from what I gather, that isn't necessarily true in even in the rest of the forestry profession.

SS: Why do you think that is?

NM: The esprit de corps, the feeling that we're all in it together.


SS: The shadow of Gifford Pinchot and the culture that evolved is very strong, isn't it?

NM: Yes, yes. I think that's the real strength of the Forest Service and continues to be.

SS: Yeah, it's interesting. Even though Steven Mather, for instance, the founder of the Park Service, and of course, Horace Albright, his lieutenant, and then the next director, in many ways, were equally powerful personalities, but you don't have quite the foundational esprit de corps in the Park Service as you have in the Forest Service.

NM: Okay.

SS: I mean, it's there, but I sense you won't hear people saying, "Steven Mather rocks!"

NM: They don't have a t-shirt like I do that says, "What would Gifford do?"

SS: No, it's just not quite the same, although you're comparing two strong 03:13:00institutions and figures.

NM: Right, yeah.

SS: Which just actually strengthens my point that I'm making that there's a special thing about Gifford Pinchot. Like I told you at lunch, the Forest Service multiple-use paradigm is copied around the world. In Peru, the country of my wife, they are using management paradigms right out of the Gifford Pinchot playbook, in Spanish.

NM: Yeah, sustained-yield, multiple-use.

SS: I mean, it's got different applications down there, different ecosystems, different economies.

NM: Sure, but similar thought-processes.

SS: Very much so, the kind of the variables and the balancing of all these different things. It's exactly there. It's very interesting to see. What other memories, specific memories?

NM: Oh, specific memories.

SS: Things that you have, anecdotal stuff that you haven't brought up? Fun stuff?


NM: When I, why I remember it, I don't know, but when I was at Bly, I got there in the winter, and I had to start planning the timber sale. And this timber sale, I was looking at the photos and saw this piece of a rail trestle. It was from probably the '30s. And so, I told myself, "Gosh, when the snow goes, that's the first thing I'm going to go look at." The snow went, I went and looked at it, and it was on the ground. The photo had been taken the summer before. Oh, it had dropped over the winter.

SS: Wow, what a trip.

NM: Yeah.

SS: That's fascinating. Wow. Now, your experience with the Andrews is actually more recent, and I would even guess, your social connections there, because I've seen you at some of the events, continues today?

NM: Yeah.

SS: What memories do you have regarding the Andrews, interesting interactions or 03:15:00personalities that you haven't mentioned so far?

NM: Nothing specifically sticks in my mind, but interactions with the directors. [H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Site Directors.]

SS: Now, did you know Art McKee?

NM: I did, but not --

SS: Because he was here forever.

NM: Yeah, he was here forever, and I knew who he was and had met him, but hadn't worked with him.

SS: Now, he's gone.

NM: When I came the first time on this district, oh, my name thing again, a woman, was the director, had the job that Mark does now.

SS: Kari O' Connell.

NM: Kari, yeah.

SS: Kari O'Connell, yeah.

NM: Yeah. So, just working with them. As an aside, as the fire chief. They like 03:16:00to get myself or somebody from the department to come up and talk to the new summer folks about just general fire safety.

SS: What's your message to those summer interns, seasonals, what have you?

NM: So, two basics. If there's fire in the woods, if it's really small, you can try to put it out, otherwise, call it in. If it's fire in the building, get out and worry about it later. I talk to them a little bit about how to use the fire extinguisher. But say, unless it's smaller than a garbage can, get out.

SS: Is there anything else that you'd like to say just kind of capping off the interview that we haven't discussed yet?

NM: Not that I can think of, at the moment.


SS: Now, if you were going to reflect on your whole career, you know, before your retirement, how would you look back at your career?

NM: I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenges of trying to manage natural systems in a semi-natural way. Manage natural systems in a way that we could get them to grow back to what they were.

SS: And what would you like to do in the next 10 or 20 years?

NM: Actually, I'm trying to be a forestry consultant and trying to focus on small land owners who might need a little more hand-holding, than help. Help small land owners to manage their lands in a better way.


SS: Very good. Well, I'd like to thank you for spending all this time on the record today. And thank you, Norm. And signing off.

NM: Thanks.

SS: All right.