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Ted Dyrness Oral History Interview - Part 1, September 11, 1996

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[Audio starts mid-idea without introduction or context]

Ted Dyrness: I wish I could remember the name of the temporary technician I had working with me. Maybe Al would remember that first year in '62, when we were laying out the plots. But, I remember telling him: "You know, doggone it! It's a real privilege to be able to work in areas like this!" When we went into some of the thickets, because we had to keep a straight transect, it was arduous, and I remember him getting just ticked off. We wore hard hats just as a safety 00:01:00precaution for falling limbs from the old growth, and so he'd whip off his hat, throw it down, and he'd say: "It's a goddamn privilege to work here!" (Laughter). I don't think he blamed me. It was hot, and we were sweating.

Max Geier: Yeah, you get a real sense of that out there. Just from talking to people, no one has really been able to articulate what attracted them to the Andrews in that sense.

Dyrness: Yeah, in reflecting back, we all had much wider research 00:02:00responsibilities! We weren't hired and told: "Go work on the Andrews!" We were attracted to it. I was responsible, when hired by the station (PNW) in '59, and attached to the Alsea Basin soil vegetation survey work, for a year-and-a-half. Then they told me, "Your responsibility will be to research soil stability problems on the west side of Oregon and Washington." In the summer of '61, I went--usually with Jack Rothacher, who was my boss--on a tour through the 00:03:00west-side national forests [west of Cascade crest to Pacific Ocean] to ask them what their soil stability problems were, and what they felt contributed to them. This was in preparation for writing what we called a "Problem Analysis." My responsibilities were supposed to be region-wide. But at the same time, I was thoroughly up on what was going on in the Andrews, because when I first met Jack Rothacher, my boss, he was living there. He was the first really bona fide hydrologist that the PNW Station hired.

Geier: Do you know about when he was hired?

Dyrness: He must have been hired in 1959 or 1960. Well, you know you can get all 00:04:00this from records, probably. He even lived down there!

Geier: And that was about the time you met him.

Dyrness: I met him down there before we started working together, because I went down in the summer of 1955, and actually, most summers, despite the fact I was supposed to be working on the Alsea Soil Vegetation Survey in the Coast Range. I had friends, and I remember one summer, Art Wollum was hired to do soil survey work on the three small watersheds [HJA-EF]. He was a fellow graduate student with me under Chet Youngberg in the Department of Soils on campus here (OSU). I 00:05:00remember going and visiting him. That was way before the Blue River Reservoir was built and there was a famous swimming hole in Blue River. It was after Lookout Creek dumped into Blue River, in the main valley, which is under the water now. There was a big swimming hole called the "Lucky Boy" swimming hole. We went swimming when I visited Art. He was in that "famous" 8 foot by 30 trailer up above the ranger station (Blue River). In fact, he was the first one to live in that. It was brand new then! I said, "You know, Art, at least you have a brand-new place to live." We went swimming, and I jumped off a high log that was there by the swimming hole onto an air mattress and jammed my knee. To this day, I have had one surgery and need another! (Laughter) Gosh!......And to 00:06:00this day I limp because I've put it off. Let's see, that must have been '59 or something like that.

Geier: Had you been up there before when you were in graduate school? You were here in '54 to 60, right?

Dyrness: Right. The first time I went to the Andrews, I remember like it was yesterday, was in connection with a field trip, one of the two-week field trips after the Soils Science Society of America's annual meeting in Davis, California, that summer. I think they now have it in the fall. But then, it was the summer of '55. I had been a grad student here (OSU) a year -- I came in fall 00:07:00'54 -- so I had been a grad student in soils for a year before the Davis meeting. They always encouraged grad students to go to the annual professional meetings to see what they are like. I didn't give a paper or anything, but I attended that meeting, and then, afterwards, somebody had organized this grand, glorious tour through northern California and Oregon. I think it lasted a week, maybe a week-and-a-half, with guys like Bob Tarrant, Chuck Colton, Chet Youngberg and also, people from California. For a young grad student, it was a tremendous opportunity to learn from these people in the field. At that time, there weren't that many in the field of forest soils. Stan Gessel, who recently 00:08:00passed away, was likely there. Chet Youngberg is now feeble and forgetful. (Indicated declining health, desire to visit.) Plus, one or two others.

Geier: Was Keith VanCleve in that group?

Dyrness: No, this was before Keith started his graduate work. We went to places like Clear Lake in northern California, looked at a lot of soils and talked to the people that were doing the real pioneer work in soil vegetation surveys in 00:09:00California [Wieslander?] and Bob Nelson. Most of these guys have passed away by now. Do you have Bob Tarrant on your list of people to talk to?

Geier: Yeah.

Dyrness: So we went to Crater Lake. It was great, and included the "pumi" (pumice) country on the east side, and Pringle Falls [experimental forest]. One of the last stops before we got to Corvallis where the tour ended, was to the H.J. Andrews. That was the first time I had ever seen the Andrews. I remember being really impressed. The system was really new, and I saw one of the first clear-cuts. Remember the main road into the Andrews? You go past the three small watersheds, you wind up the hill, and then there's a Y (in the road). To the left is the concrete bridge, and further up to Carpenter Point. To the right, 00:10:00you go up to Lookout Ridge. Right by that Y, was one of the early clear cuts.

Geier: Uh-Huh.

Dyrness: One principle stop on that field trip was to visit this clear-cut, where we were met by Roy Silen, who was doing research for his Ph.D. thesis. He was investigating the effects of how naturally-germinated Douglas-fir seedlings survive or don't survive; what are the factors. They were really into converting 00:11:00old growth forest into second growth stands, so one thing they were most interested in was regeneration of tree species. Back then, it was before they determined that maybe the best thing to do would be to just routinely plant areas; they were investigating natural regeneration. This was back before they had a lot of forest nurseries, and so he was investigating, especially, the effect of high temperatures on these exposed south slopes. He had black surfaces 00:12:00after slash burning. Really prime for getting high temperatures. What he did was put out these temp pills, which were little pills you could buy, which melt at a range of different temperatures. So, if you go back and say, "Well, the 120 pill is melted," you know it was at least 120 (degrees), but maybe the 130 pill isn't melted. That's what he was doing.

Later on, Roy's interests shifted quite a bit. He was the forest geneticist here at the Forest Research Lab. But his doctorate research was more horticulture-oriented. A lot of the early work was done at the same time by a 00:13:00fellow named Jay Gashwiler, who was investigating natural regeneration. His approach was to follow Douglas-fir seeds and see what their fate was. A large proportion of seeds scattered from the surrounding timber to a clear-cut site are consumed by different animals, especially small mammals and birds. His approach was, "What are the most important factors of limiting sufficient seed for natural regeneration?" He had a bunch of plots where he would have some 00:14:00fenced-in areas which would exclude small mammals, but wouldn't exclude birds, and some that excluded everything except the seeds. It was really elaborate! He was working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That work was reported on finally in Ecology. Subsequently, Jerry Franklin moved in with his clear-cut strips of different widths in lower elevations on the Andrews. [Experimenting with "alternative" patterns of cutting]

Geier: He would have been there in '55, wouldn't he?

Dyrness: No. He did this work in about '59 or '60; it was for his masters, I 00:15:00believe. But, prior to that, Jerry got started on the Andrews, because he worked for what was then called the Corvallis Research Center, the offices of which were in the basement of the old Peavy Hall. He started working for them when he was an undergrad at Oregon State.

Geier: The center was a part of OSU? Or?

Dyrness: No, it was part of the PNW Station.

Geier: Okay. Dyrness: Back then, I worked out of the Bend Research Center, the summer of '58; it was a summer job back then. All these research centers; there 00:16:00was a Roseburg, Corvallis and Bend one, and each of them had a committee of interested people that would advise the centers on their research. Jerry started when he was young.

Geier: He didn't even have his masters by then, did he?

Dyrness: But of course, you're going to talk to him, and he's going to remember this a lot better than I do. He was working for the Corvallis Research Center and was sent out to the H.J. Andrews to make periodic stream measurements. They 00:17:00had these three gauged watersheds with recorders, and nobody locally at Blue River really worried much about it, so they kind of did that [monitoring] from Corvallis. There are old pictures of Jerry measuring stream velocity, but that didn't end up being Jerry's main interest. He was doing this as a job, and he never did go far into stream hydrology as an academic pursuit.

Geier: He was up there doing that already in the late '50s?

Dyrness: Yeah, we started working together, really hand-in-glove, on the 00:18:00vegetation on the Andrews, in '63, and that was after he had done these strip clear-cuts. Up until '62, my interaction with the Andrews was on a periodic basis. It wasn't until the summer of '62 that I spent most of a field season at the Andrews. The reason for it; we knew that starting in the winter of '62/'63, the treatments were to be applied on the small watersheds [WS 1-3 at HJA]. My concern was that nobody knew much about upstream [areas] from the gauging 00:19:00stations on these watersheds. They were kind of being viewed as "black boxes," although Art Wollum did some soils work. Art was never a soil mapper before that, and his efforts, although useful, didn't really produce a definitive soil map for the watershed. But outside of his work, there was nothing done upstream, really.

I thought we needed to really get set for the revegetation following the logging of those watersheds, so I had gotten hot on establishing these transects and putting plots along the transects on the areas to be logged in Watershed 3, which has three clear-cut patches. On Watershed 3, the idea was to first put in 00:20:00roads -- two roads -- and then follow the effects on water quality. Then, after that, clear-cut harvest, about 25% of Watershed 3. Then, Watershed 1 would be totally clear-cut, and Watershed 2 would be left as the control [not cut]. The treatment was slated to start, but what happened was that the that the clearing method in Watershed 1 was this Wyssen Skyline crane, which had not been used very much in the U.S. up until then. It was a Swiss system, and they had used it with small logs. Generally speaking, you don't have much timber the size of old-growth Douglas-fir in Switzerland! So, the system was always breaking down. 00:21:00They'd break cables. It's a system that has the donkey, the power source, at the top, and then stretched a raised cable to the landing at the bottom of Watershed 1. What would happen is the brakes would fail and they, I think, broke more than one. Hell, more than one a day, runaway trains of logs, going into the landing, and everybody is running for their life. (Laughing). So the logging on Watershed 1 took '63, '64, '65. It was really frustrating for us, because we had expected 00:22:00to be able to go back the next year after the logging was done, but it was so dangerous, we couldn't even go close to the watershed. They started on the north slope, and the routes of these skylines slowly worked their way south. Finally, the logging was done and the slash burned -- I believe by the Fall of '66 or '67. That is all in the records.

Geier: Who was the administrator -- the official -- who would have made the decision to do the logging in the three watersheds, then to actually do the logging?

Dyrness: I was sitting here this morning trying to think, because there wasn't a full-time hydrologist in the Station and until they hired Jack Rothacher. These watersheds were gauged way back in the early '50s, and they must of gotten 00:23:00people to visit from, maybe Coweeta, other Forest Service watershed study areas, to help set them up. There must have been somebody in the Station, but my memory is not good enough to say who.

Geier: I'm trying to figure. I was talking to Roy Silen yesterday, and I think he was talking about the Oregon Fish and Wildlife about who was working up there in '54. I wonder if they were -- ?

Dyrness: No. Fisheries work would have been different from this. This was a 00:24:00classic, paired-watershed approach. With a paired-watershed approach, you have a control watershed and a treated watershed, side-by-side, then measure stream flow for a period of several years to calibrate the control and the to-be-treated watershed. Then you treat the watershed and assess the treatment's effects. This was the approach used at Coweeta [Georgia] and subsequent to that, at Hubbard Brook [New Hampshire]. I think the earliest was at Wagon Wheel Canyon 00:25:00and Frasier Experimental Forest in Colorado.

Geier: So, do you know who was involved in doing that at Coweeta?

Dyrness: A fellow by the name of Wayne Swank worked in Coweeta. He has been there forever. I bet you, Jerry will be more knowledgeable than me on the origins; who installed the flumes and the measurement capability of each watershed. Maybe Wayne would be the guy to talk to; the name Hoover sticks in the back of my mind, but I can't remember his first name. When Jack [Rothacher] 00:26:00came aboard in '59 or 60, whenever he came aboard at the Station, he was the one that said, "O.K. We have enough calibration as of '62, we can treat the watersheds, and we'll be able to tell what the treatment effects are." It was probably Jack who said what the treatments will be.

Geier: That's Jack Rothacher?

Dyrness: Yeah, Yeah.

Geier: Actually, that's one of the things I'm trying to get at here. Maybe we could back up here and have you talk about how you found yourself doing summer work out here?

Dyrness: Yeah, that goes back to the summer of '51.


Geier: You mentioned that you were in a chicken coop up in the shadow of Mt. Rainer?

Dyrness: Yeah. Packwood, Washington. Summer of '51.

Geier: How did you wind up there?

Dyrness: My best buddy through junior high and high school was this guy by the name of Ed Snider. Ed had an uncle that was an early settler in Packwood [Wash.]. His name was also Snider. There's a Snider Mountain named for them in Packwood. He had a little ranch right outside of Packwood, and he'd left his land to several of the Sniders, one of whom was Ed's dad. Well, Ed's dad kind of 00:28:00bought out the others. So, we'd finished our freshmen year of college and thought it would be a neat lark to go out to this ranch and live on the ranch for the summer. What we did was, we knew the guy in charge of transportation for U.S. Gypsum Company, and they routinely bought cars in Chicago and shipped them to salesmen in other areas in the U.S., but mainly to the West. They would let you deliver these new cars, and they would even give you some gas money.


So, we got a new Chevy and started out, and of course, we wanted to hit all the national parks on our way. We went to Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, and so on. When we were near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, we were on this gravel road because of construction or something, and a guy came out of this bend in the road, and whacked into us! We were over as far as we could go without going over a thousand foot drop below us. It's very mountainous, and he side-swiped us! This kind of ruined the aesthetics of the car. (Chuckles) It drove all right, and I think we called the police, but to make a long story short, we cut our trip a little short, because we were thinking of going to Glacier (National 00:30:00Park) on the way through, and we didn't go. We stopped at Coeur d'Alene [Idaho] because his dad had left a car there for repair, an old black Buick from the 40's. Ed picked up the Buick and I drove the other car, and we went to Packwood.

Lo-and-behold, the neighbor had rented out the house to some old rodeo "buck-a-roo". I remember he had a lot of saddles and stuff. We couldn't get into the house, so that was why we ended up in this chicken coop! Well, this coop had gaps this wide between the boards, but we made it livable. We had two cots, we had a camp stove and a little stove to cook on. Then we took the car down to 00:31:00Seattle. [Laughing] I remember walking into this place, "Hey Sam, your new car is here!" Well, we had a little problem, and the whole side was caved in. I think we had to even go in the other door to get into the driver's seat. Yeah, one of the most embarrassing things (Laughs). But then, we had that old Buick and that quit, because the spark plug fell out, and it over heated. Really, it 00:32:00was a terrific place for two young guys. We never had one job; we changed jobs all summer. First, it was haying for this Seattle dentist who had kind of a ranch out there, a summer place. And neither of us had worked on a farm. We were driving this tractor and raking the hay and stuff. And we tried to make square corners. We didn't know what we were doing, but it was great, though. He got a baler to come in and bale it. That was a little bit of income to keep the "wolf from the door," so we could eat. Then we went to the lumber mill, a community kind of a lumber mill that I think, is still going. I remember, I got a job 00:33:00there, and they said, "What's your social security number?" and I said, "I don't have any social security number." So, I had to get it in Olympia, Washington. I never had one, now kids get their social security cards the day they are born. The government has to have that number, but I didn't get a number until then.

So, what we did was pinch-hit for guys that had to be off work. We worked on the green chain, I worked on a trim saw and we were milling cedar, western red cedar. The trim saw happened to be right next to the head rig. I didn't think to put ear plugs in or anything like that, and I suffer from "tinnitus," this ringing. Well, that's probably not the sole cause of it, but it is probably one cause. I didn't know what I was doing on this trim saw. It was just a bare 00:34:00revolving blade that you pulled, and I was always afraid that I was going to cut off my hand or something. This was before OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration], and they wanted to cut out all the knots and make clear cedar lumber. It was my job to cut it to predetermined lengths, and we had these "dogs" that would come (laughing) down. I didn't know what I was doing, so finally, it went past a grader down the flow. I was finally getting boards back, with them saying, "What the hell are you doing up there?" Acknowledging my incompetence, you know. We worked a little in that sawmill, and then, there was a forest fire. We were in Packwood, which is about 10-12 miles from Randall, and 00:35:00we heard that they were hiring people to work on this forest fire at Randall. So, we walked, we tried to hitch a ride, but I don't think we were very successful. I remember walking all night to get to Randall, and they signed us on. I had those "engineer boots" on, those black boots.

Geier: Yeah.

Dyrness: Well, I had a pair of those on. No change of socks. So off we go. I was shipped out to this fire, and we were there for, oh, 10 days, at least. My feet were a mess! I got what was called, "scalding." It feels like you are walking on 00:36:00hot coals, because you sweat, your feet sweat, and overheat. There's nothing to soak them. Oh man, blisters and stuff! I got a break, and remember taking off my boots and hanging up my socks to dry them out, and going to the fire boss. I said, "Gee, you know, I'm not a quitter, but I can barely walk." I can remember him putting an arm around my shoulder and saying, "Son, we all want to go home but (laughter) until this fire is out. We can't!!!" Finally, they called in the National Guard, and I remember these guys from West Virginia and recent arrivals from western Washington, and all the talk of "the last piece of tail." (Laughing). Well, I'm just this naive little guy, and well, it was a really interesting experience.


Later, once my feet had recovered and we got back to camp, we had a friend that was a fire lookout right next to the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area, some of the nicest areas in the Washington Cascades. So, we hiked up to see him, and lived with him in his lookout for a period of days, played cards and swapped tall tales. This was just after the White Pass had been constructed [Hwy. 12]. We looked out his window and that's the only time that I saw this, not one scar on that landscape. It was just terrific, and that's when I thought to myself, when I get done with college, I'm going to head for the Northwest. Although I went to 00:38:00a liberal arts college and majored in botany, and studied as much as I could about forests, I knew I would have to go to graduate school. I was thinking that a program like Yale, at that time, had a graduate program in forestry just designed for people like me. But, I didn't want to go east. I wanted to go someplace in the Pacific Northwest. So, my major professor at Wheaton College in Illinois had been good buddies with Chet Youngberg, because Chet was a graduate of Wheaton and they had been really good buddies. He said, "Chet has just recently gone to Oregon State, and he's looking for graduate students." Chet put in some time with Weyerhaeuser before he went to Oregon State [University]. He did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin under S.A. Wilde, who was 00:39:00called, "The Mad Russian." If you wanted to pick out just one guy in the U.S. who is the "father" of forest soils, it would be S.A. Wilde. A lot of people that went to other places in forest soils, came from his program at the University of Wisconsin.

Chet would always tell these stories, by the thousands, and his graduate students felt, "Well, I'm kind of a second generation Wilde person." (Laughs) You know how that goes in graduate studies. He said this guy at Wheaton, named Doc Leady, said, "I'm going to send you to Oregon State." And I'm going, "Great!" I'd had this summer at Washington, but the furthest we got into Oregon that summer was Portland. This guy we had met in Packwood came down to 00:40:00Vancouver, Washington. There was a relative that lived there, and then, we went over to Jantzen Beach [amusement park]. That was back when Jantzen Beach had the ferris wheel and all that stuff. That's the furthest we ended up getting. And I remember people we'd meet at Mt. Rainer National Park, when we explored the park, saying, "Oh! You think this is great? Oregon is better!" (Laughter)

Geier: So, the connection with Chet Youngberg at O.S.U., was that your professor at Wheaton College, and he was his student?

Dyrness: In fact, Chet was one of his students. Chet had gone through the war, 00:41:00largely as a flight instructor in San Diego. When Chet went to Wheaton, he was an older student, so he kind of budded with Doc, who was at the time a young professor. They got to be really, really close.

Geier: Just one other thing. When you were out here in 1951, was that when you were starting out as an ancient history major, and then, you switched to botany?

Dyrness: (Laughter.)

Geier: Had you already done that switch, or were you thinking about it?

Dyrness: No. I was just in the midst of making that decision in the summer of '51. And then, it all sort of fits together in retrospect. Although what I did 00:42:00when I started at Wheaton was, I thought, "Gee, I'm no scientist." And of course, I'd take the....What do you call these tests you can take in the...?

Geier: "Aptitude tests"?

Dyrness: Yeah, something like that. Myers-Briggs. Have you taken that? I would come out "intuitive." My thought processes are not "typical" for a scientist. When I started Wheaton, I said, one of the requirements for a liberal arts degree is laboratory science. I sat down and said, "What's the most "Mickey-Mouse" laboratory science that I can take, and get it out of the way as a freshman?" You know, thinking very logically. (Laughter) And I thought, "Ah, 00:43:00Botany!" Well, of course, when I got there, this guy Leady was a charismatic teacher, and it's not just botany, but more about ecology. Very often what happens is it's not the subject so much as, it's the guy that teaches it.

Geier: Sure.

Dyrness: And how he turns you on or off. That summer of '51 reinforced that I ought to major in botany, and then maybe go to graduate school. I was thinking more in terms of general forestry. Chet was in forest soils, but in '54 when I 00:44:00came out here, this was the "flowering" of the age of specialization. Everyone is specializing, so I should specialize, a particular field of forestry, and forest soils looked good to me. Although in my graduate work at Oregon State, I always had as my second major, ecology. So, I was always aiming towards plant/soil relationships, rather than just soils with pedagogical interests.

Geier: I was going to ask you about that. Have you ever thought about how or why you evolved as you did in your interests, ecology as a minor?

Dyrness: Well, in high school, when I lived with my folks, my dad was a college administrator, a high pressure job, Vice President, Director of Admissions, Registrar.


Geier: What school was that?

Dyrness: Wheaton. And he said I've got to get away! I've got to get away where I'm out of the reach of the phone.

(Interruption: Enter new person [Steve Acker]. Ted Dyrness introduces Max Geier to Steve Acker, explains that Acker is in charge of long-term forest plots in Oregon, Washington and in Southern California, and Acker joins interview.)


Geier: What's the area you cover? All of Oregon and Washington?

Steve Acker: Well, the network of plots is mostly in western Oregon and Washington, and there are some in Sequoia National Park, in California, and a few in the Rockies. I could give you a manuscript, if you're interested.

Geier: Sure.

Dyrness: (Brings Acker up-to-date on the interview Geier is doing and the question about the origins of Dryness interest and entry into ecology.)

Geier: Where were we, now?

Dyrness: It is kind of interesting to think about. My dad said I've got to have 00:47:00a place to get away. We visited northern Wisconsin. Eventually, he got a couple of lots near a lake in Northern Wisconsin. When I was a junior in high school, my grandfather and I went up there and built a cabin. Really very primitive. It was a two-room cabin with an outhouse, stuff like that. I really got involved with the forest. I remember I made a trail out in back, and a place for a log 00:48:00where I could sit. We were interested in identifying species; it was formerly all white pine. But back in the late 1800's, early 1900's, it got all cut off. Back then, they thought they could maybe make it agricultural. They'd hoped it would grow back with birch and aspen, that sort of thing. I think that's really the genesis, although at the same time, I was kind of an unusual kid, for a guy especially, as I was interested in gardening too. I designed flower boarders and that was kind of a part of it. I think lately, this was a kind of a direct heritage from my mom, who was really interested in her surroundings and flowers, 00:49:00but she wasn't the kind that joined the Audubon Society. Just being aware of the birds and everything. My dad was into things more like fishing and going out on the lake and sitting. Not any fancy fishing. He would even hold the line by hand - part of this Norwegian heritage, you know, a "wheat fishermen." Not a real sportsman! (Laughing) He liked to get away and have a chance to unwind.

Geier: Just growing up in Wheaton, Illinois is what kind of led you in that direction?

Dyrness: Early on, I said, "Gee, I don't like it here. I need mountains. I need 00:50:00wide open spaces." I decided it [Midwest] had attractions as far as lakes go, but it's glacial, plain terrain, with ice-locked lakes. I remember later in college, when we would go for Spring Break trips, my buddies and I would not go to the beaches. We'd go to the Smokey Mountains [Great Smokey] National Park, camp, and wake up with snow all around us.

Geier: Do you remember when you started at O.S.U., who else was working with Chet Youngberg, in terms of graduate students?

Dyrness: Well, I was his second graduate student, so there wasn't a great many 00:51:00of them. His first graduate student was a guy by the name of Jerry Lowery. The last I heard about Jerry, he had ended up in the pulp and paper industry in southern Canada. But, Jerry was doing a masters and his research had to do with soils of the Tillamook Burn. I remember once or twice I went with him to his sites, and helped him dig soil pits and that sort of thing. That was back when the Tillamook Burn [research] was still just getting going. They still were felling the snags and kind of watching over the reforestation progress.

Geier: Did you do any studies up there yourself? When you were a graduate student?

Dyrness: No I didn't. When I first started to work with this program, I didn't 00:52:00even have an assistantship. But I remember Chet telling me, he said, "Well, come along anyway, and we'll get you an assistantship as soon as we can, but meanwhile, there is plenty of work that you can do in the lab." I remember that I started to work for 75 cents an hour in the lab, doing soil analysis, just helping out in there.

Geier: Hmm.

Dyrness: But, it wasn't very long after that I got an assistantship. Because, back then, most of the guys had assistantships, and you'd get free tuition, and things like that. I remember my first room was $25 a month! I ate in a boarding house, Mrs. Workman's boarding house on 7th Street. It was a very high-tone 00:53:00boarding house. Linen napkins and everything. Retired professors ate there. And I think that was about $35 a month. Three meals a day and really good food, too! (Laughter.)

Geier: Yeah, a good deal. When you started working for the Forest Service, was that the year before you graduated? In 1959, what led you into that position?

Dyrness: Well, the year I graduated, or when I was getting ready to graduate, I often think that........I filled out the paperwork for a federal job, maybe a GS-7, or something like that. I had quite a few inquiries. One was from 00:54:00Reclamation Service, which, is irrigation dams and investigating irrigation soils. I wasn't much interested in that. But also, I really had a firm offer to go to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and work on wetlands soils. I almost took that. I was kind of interested in that. That would be with the Lakes State Forestry Experiment Station [U.S. Forest Service]. Prior to making my decision, I went to the coast and back, and I remember thinking: "Ah, I just can't leave this area." 00:55:00In the back of my mind was the idea, that staying here makes you a little more provincial. But, you can get a wider experience. I remember saying: "No, I like the Coast Range, I like the Cascades, I like Central Oregon, and I like Washington. I can't leave."

The only other offer was from the PNW Experiment Station. The first assignment was to the Alsea Soil Vegetation Survey. And so, I started that in the summer of '59. I wasn't through with my thesis, but it was just a matter of polishing it. At the outset, I had done my Ph.D. work in Central Oregon, and I thought: "The 00:56:00best position I could get would be somewhere in Bend." I had worked the summer of '58 out of Bend, so I knew the guys over there. There was a meeting in the fall of '59, or somewhere in there, a meeting in Klamath Falls. That's just when they were just setting up the Winema National Forest and settled with a lot of the Klamath Indians. I was invited to this meeting for input on soil vegetation. I took the bus, the Greyhound Bus, to Klamath Falls, stayed overnight and 00:57:00attended the meeting. When I got back, I was in trouble. I was a "west-sider. I shouldn't have gone to that meeting. You know, I wasn't in "Big" trouble, over it.

Geier: Oh, you mean PNW Station was upset.

Dyrness: Yeah. That was the first inkling that I would get a west-side sort of assignment, when the survey was done.

Geier: Okay. Dyrness: And that's sort of the way it worked out, which in retrospect, was good.

Geier: So, you had gone down to that Klamath Falls meeting because of the graduate work you were doing, right?

Dyrness: Yeah, and I was called in as kind of a consultant, because I think they were thinking of doing some station [PNW] survey work or something.

Geier: So somebody at Alsea was concerned that they were trying to recruit you away?


Dyrness: I don't know. It's just one of those jealousies that crop up among the different groups within the station. I don't know.

Geier: So, that's when you had a sensed that there might be a home for you in Oregon?

Dyrness: Yeah. I can't remember exactly when, but before I finished up on the "soil vegetation survey," it was made plain to me that I'd be working out of Corvallis with Jack. They said, "Well, we really are in trouble as far as...................................

[Tape Break]

Dyrness: Looking back, this wasn't my first love, forest soils. Like I say, it's always been more ecology and plant relationships. And as a credit to Jack, he 00:59:00would allow me to put in those permanent plots on Watersheds 1 and 3. Then Jerry and I started this plant community classification work on the Andrews, starting in '63, and that extended for 3 or 4 years. Just grabbed extra days in the field season, where we'd get together out on the Andrews and do this reconnaissance classification work. That was pretty much it.

Geier: Between that summer trip you took in 1955, and this, did you get involved 01:00:00much with the Andrews on any sites at all? Were you there with other people who were working there at that time, at all?

Dyrness: Outside of a few social things, no. I visited Art Wollum at the Andrews, and I think I had my little brother along, as he was with me the summer of '60. I took him around on weekends to show him the state. He was telling me 01:01:00yesterday on the phone from California, after I said, we're doing a history of the Andrews Forest, and he said, "That's interesting. It is a special place!" I said, "You remember that?" Isn't that funny?

Geier: So, he still remembered that.

Dyrness: Yeah! In '60. That must have been summer of '60. And that was when the trailer was new, Art was allowed to live in the trailer that whole summer. And the summer of '61, that's when Jack and I spent most of the summer traveling around the region. That's when Jack, between '60 and '61, he moved to Corvallis. Actually, Jack lived out of Philomath on Woods Creek. When we went down that 01:02:00time, the summer of '60, Bill and I not only visited Art, we stayed with Jack, and I remember we did a little fishing in Lookout Creek, which was still open to fishing. Great trout fishing. Then, I think we were at Jack's house for a barbecue, as Jack and Jean have always been really gracious hosts. But I don't think then I really knew I would be working for Jack that next year, because I was still working on the Alsea project, the summer of '59, and extending through winter of '60 to '61. Then, we worked on the "problem analysis." [Stated before]

Geier: Were there major changes down there between 1955 -- the first summer you were there -- and 1962-'63, when you were?


Dyrness: It wasn't major. Back then, there weren't a lot of people working there. I remember, it is one of the clearest memories that I've got. We were looking around down there and saying, "Gee whiz. We've got all kinds of research problems here, staring us in the face, but we don't have enough bodies! We don't have enough guys. How can we stimulate people to come down here and work?" What really took care of that was the advent of the International Biological Program, which got started in '68? Up until then, Jerry [Franklin] and I had not much to do with NSF [National Science Foundation]. Prior to that, we were just starting 01:04:00to get proposals to review from NSF. We were just getting on their radar screen, that there are these guys interested in forest ecology in Oregon, and might be good reviewers. Then we heard about this "gang-busters" program NSF was going to start, the International Biological Program. I remember Jerry said, "You know, we gotta get on-board! If we don't, we'll just miss the boat! We gotta get on-board! Sure, we don't know much about this "Systems Ecology" stuff, but we can learn."

Geier: (Inaudible recording)

Dyrness: Yeah. We started working together. I remember the time it started. I 01:05:00just happened to be down with, with, who's the Dean of Forestry?

Geier: George Brown?

Dyrness: George Brown. George and I were down there digging pits and describing soils on Watersheds 2 and 3. Couldn't get in on Watershed 1, because of the logging under the way. It was '63, summer of '63. And Jerry [Franklin] just happened to be down there. He had cone-counts or something he had to do. He said, "Let's have dinner together tonight." So, we went to one of the cafes down there and had dinner. We started talking, "Gee, you know, a lot of things are staring us in the face. And one of the things is, we really don't know much about the plant groupings down there. We need to get a study classifying the 01:06:00forest community." The previous summer the soil survey was done by Freeman Stevens, Leroy Myers, and Dan Ariktoni. That was the summer of '62. They were living in a trailer close to ours up above the ranger station for a couple/three weeks that summer. I was so busy, as ordinarily I would have gone out with them, but I was so busy putting up the plots, I just couldn't do it. I used to talk to them in the evening. "What are you finding, how's it going, what series are you coming up with?" and so on. Jerry and I, in the summer of '63 said, "We've 01:07:00gotten to know at least something about soils. But we've got to get this vegetation classified." We decided we'd do this reconnaissance study in, kind of our spare time, and we did that for a year or two. Then finally, Jack came to us and said, "You guys got to have a study plan. You can't bootleg it anymore. It's got to be an official study listed." And they [USFS] were bears for detail back then. Before you could set up a study, you had to have these approved problem analyses that said, this is a problem worth researching. And then every study had to have a study plan in the file. I think it has gotten a lot looser since then, but the policy was you had to draw up a study plan back then before you could begin your study.

Geier: Yeah.

Dyrness: So, once again, it was a credit to Jack to recognize that what we were 01:08:00doing was worthwhile, and I should have been working on soil erosion. And Jerry should have been working on just higher elevation, upper-slope silviculture. That was his assignment. But, during that first lot, it was kind of a pioneer effort in vegetation classification. How to do it? What kind of units to come up with? Figuring out seral relationships, successional relationships among the groupings. Subsequent to that, the Forest Service had a lot of area ecologists that had done this same thing for the national forests. But I think that ours 01:09:00was an early effort, and both of us had done that. I had done that for my Ph.D. research in Central Oregon, coming up with forest communities [classification/vegetation]. And Jerry did his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology.

Geier: You are kind of getting at one of my questions there, which was: Who decides was kinds of things are studied? From what you're saying, it sounds like, people out in the field, just looked at the area, realized what was happening, and made a decision. "Well, this is what we should do......" And then Jack Rothacher was willing to back you up on that. That's kind of interesting.

Dyrness: Yes! Here we had the "problem analysis" of soil studies related to forest management [traditional economic-centered silviculture]. Looking back on it, it would have been a mistake to follow that. That's what I mean about being grass-roots oriented. At the same time, I was doing studies about the impact of different logging methods on soil conditions, which was more in line with my 01:10:00research assignment. I just investigated high-lead, tractor, sky-line, and balloon logging. That salved my conscience a little, that I was doing something along the lines of my research assignment. Then, I begin to get interested in road-side soil stability and treatments to forestall erosion on newly constructed roadsides. This was also more in line with my research assignment, so it wasn't a case that we were always off somewhere in left field.

Geier: Sure.

Dyrness: But here again, I was drawn back to the Andrews.


Geier: Okay.

Dyrness: All of my plots were on the Andrews, as far as the roadside erosion studies go. I did have some vegetation plots. One plot was in the Coast Range, one was at Cougar Reservoir. We were working together with the SCS [Soil Conservation Service] Plant and Trails Center to identify species, especially legumes, which would be suitable at rather high elevations and low soil-fertility levels - which would be suitable to put in a grass-legume mix for roadside seeding. And then we had two areas on the Andrews where we tried out 01:12:00different treatments, ranging from no treatment, the control, to just straw mulch, to seeding mixtures, plus straw mulch, and I think we had seeding mixtures without mulch. And we immediately realized we needed mulch. We were monitoring soil erosion with a method where we had 100 posts set in concrete both at the top and the bottom of back slopes, which supposedly, didn't move. And then we pulled on a cable, stretched to a pre-determined tension so the tension would be the same. Because otherwise it could be some increment more 01:13:00[due to the line sagging]. Then we'd measure down [from the reference line to the soil surface] at periodic intervals and see what the change was. It was a slope profile measurement. But, it never really caught on! Nobody ever did it except us. (Laughing) You can imagine you might have difficulties. But see, the old "buggaboo" in measuring surface erosion was how do you do it without changing what you're measuring? People have tried radioactive isotopes to measure it by getting radioactive particles to move, and a guy in Wenatchee did that here a while ago, with some success, and we were thinking about that idea. 01:14:00But, it's a problem. Of course, the flood of '64, really indicated to us what our major problem was, rather than rainfall causing surface erosion, the main problem was mass soil movement-slides and slumps.

Geier: What actually attracted you to the Andrews? Was it the infra-structure, or the accessibility of the place, or was it something else?

Dyrness: Well, partly, it was the infrastructure. From the standpoint that we didn't have any official, fancy labs or anything like that. But, at least we had somebody that could help us down there. Because, starting with Jack, we always 01:15:00had somebody stationed down there. After Jack, it was Dick Fredriksen. After Dick Fredriksen, it was Al Levno. After Al Levno, it was Ross Mersereau. In these kinds of studies, you need somebody to help you. The reason that people needed to be there, of course, was to maintain the streamflow measurements and to be there for storm flow samples. Because, early on we woke up to the fact that we only needed to really sample the streams during flood events. Otherwise it was normal flow, and we could characterize that kind of flow. But for flood 01:16:00events we would want to have somebody out there. Since Jack lived there and knew the area intimately, he was in favor of working there, and also, this was a field laboratory for the effects of the floods, like the '64 flood. And after treating the watersheds, we had questions come up. For example, the first summer after the slash burning in Watershed 1, we were struck by how much dry ravel was occurring on these steep slopes.

Geier: Hmm.


Dyrness: Because, before vegetation was established, you could go out on 80% slopes and just sit there and watch miniature landslides caused by the wind! One particle would start moving, and then another, and pretty soon you've got this cascade effect. So, we would go out there and find logs on the contour, just filled up with soil behind them. We thought, "Boy, this is appreciable! Maybe we should measure how much this is." So, Jack and I and Al and Ross, got our heads together and came up with an idea of plywood boxes held up by steel fence posts with U-bolts, and then, a control area above the box down to the lip of the box, with plastic to facilitate movement [soils] right into the box, instead of 01:18:00getting hung up on something. It worked pretty well. We found out that only a little vegetation would break the chain. You wouldn't have to have more than 5% to 10% cover, and it would break the chain absolutely so that it would not occur. And, 80% slopes were a lot worse than 60%! And, 60% was about the minimal slope you got much of this occurring. We had to study that. That's how things happened. You just would go out and observe, and say, "We ought to look into this and find out what's happening."


Geier: Did the structure of the road system, at all have an impact on your accessibility to the sites and your analysis?

Dyrness: Yes, as far as looking at roadside erosion and so on. One thing that really appeared after the '64 flood was how many events were really connected with roads. Much more so than logging per se. Roads seemed to be the main "bugaboo" in causing the mass-soil movements and stream events where the whole channel would let go. That was a real eye-opener. That was the Christmas week flood of 1964. That was the first time that we lost the Watershed 3 gauging 01:20:00station. This time was like déjà vu, when we lost it again [in February 1996].

Geier: And those are the only two times that happened?

Dyrness: Yeah. Those were the only two times it happened. It's been interesting to compare the two events. Both were rain-on-snow at low-elevation type things. And, it could have been easily much worse. We were looking at the records of this past one, and if the rainfall would have continued only one more day, what would have happened? It would have been catastrophic. We got off easy. It was bad enough, but we got off easy.

Geier: Are you speaking about the watershed, or?

Dyrness: Oh, for the whole area.

Geier: Yeah.

Dyrness: Because by then, the soils are saturated, the streams are full already, and a cascade effect! Man, oh man! It just would have wiped out highways and everything.


Geier: It was impressive up there.

Dyrness: Yeah.

Geier: How would you describe your level of interaction with forest managers at Blue River [Ranger District] at that time?

Dyrness: At that time? It was interesting! Our interactions with them were mainly for basic accommodations, housing, and to try to keep them at bay as far as logging in the Andrews. I wasn't so much involved in this, because I was not the project leader. Jack was fighting those battles. He would have to go to Blue River and be present for their 10-year planning sessions. I think 5-year, 10-year plans; any good organization would have these plans. He would have to sit down there, and they would say, "Jack, don't you realize, we've got to get 01:22:00"X"-million board feet off this district every year, and we can't find that many logs, if the Andrews doesn't do their fair share." [Tapping on papers]

In this write-up [document provided interviewees by Geier], you are entirely correct in saying we had the attitude, right from year "one, that I was involved down there. You know, '63 and '62, that if it wasn't for a research purpose, a purely research purpose, we weren't going to allow any logging. Jack would have to fight these battles and come back really worn out, saying, "Jiminy. I don't know if we can hold 'em off." Undoubtedly, Jerry is going to be more up on this, but that was the interaction. It was interaction for space. To begin with, do you know where our lab was? It was in a trailer! We got a lab trailer kind of 01:23:00custom built, because we had a certain amount of things that we had to do with the water samples, like preliminary analysis we needed lab space for. Subsequent to that, I don't know what year, but early on, they added on to the ranger station down there, built more in back--a daylight basement-type thing, and the ranger station is on that slope. When they designed that addition, we got our "oar in" and said, "We'd like a little lab down there, as well as office space." And that is what eventually occurred.

Geier: That's at the Blue River Ranger Station?

Dyrness: Yeah. The district ranger station.

Geier: When was that?


Dyrness: I can't remember. Around '64 or something like that. It was fairly early on because we didn't have to use that lab. I don't know what happened to that lab trailer, eventually. Al would probably know, or some of the other guys. You were wise to have the interaction, because we didn't have any interaction! Those guys would show mild courtesy and interest in what we were doing. But I remember, this was in '68 or '69, something like that, maybe '70. One of our roadside plots was on that road going up to the Watershed 1 landing. Now it's all reforested. But we had roadside plots up there below the road to Watershed 1 01:25:00landing. We were working out there one time and the district ranger showed up. Boy, the district ranger! He was just up there driving around doing an inspection. He was by himself. I can't even remember now who it was. But, he wasn't that interested. I remember feeling very disappointed! You know, this is a good "show-me" thing, these different treatments. We had the Blue River mix that they were using, and we had found some that were better than that. But he wasn't much interested.

Geier: He wasn't "involved" in it then?

Dyrness: Yeah, they thought, "These guys are in their ivory tower. We got [to 01:26:00get the cut out]." They were just out there to "get the cut out." They had their hands full, just to do that. We did get cooperation, such as burning the slash on Watershed 1. When I go to the LTER meetings -- like last Friday -- and I look around, there are at least three people from the district. There's the district ranger -- I forget her name [Lynn Burditt] -- and John Cissel, and the other guy-[the] silviculturist - and there they are at our meeting. Well, that would have been so far out in left field that it was just mind-boggling, about the 01:27:00progress made. It had to be a special kind of a guy, and [Steve] Eubanks was the first one. I was up in Alaska during this time, but that was one shock to my system when I came down from Alaska, and started to sit in on these meetings. [LTER meetings]

Geier: When did you come back from up there? That was what year?

Dyrness: In Fall of '90.

Geier: Fall of 1990.

Dyrness: Yeah. But, early on, I didn't get really involved, not until later, in '91, 92, because I had heart surgery, stuff like that first. But, after that [I did more]. So, that was a shock. Another shock was to go to the administrative site [HJA EF], which was when I left for Alaska [in 1970s], only a shed for a 01:28:00snowmobile, that, and the climate station. That was all that was there. None of this! [Modern campus of today - mostly built]

Geier: Yeah. That's quite a phenomenal place up there right now.

Dyrness: Yeah, I could imagine people stumbling on this place, the general public, saying, "What is going on?" You'd have to stumble on it. If you don't know where it is located, you'd probably never find it.

Geier: I heard so much talking about the trailers. When I went up there, I was actually kind of shocked, how extensively developed it was, with all the research going on.

Dyrness: Yeah.

Geier: But you left to go to Alaska about the time that change took place [IBP program and start of facilities planning], but as long as you were there, up until, was it '74?

Dyrness: I left spring of '74.

Geier: Up until that time, the involvement with the district and national forest [Blue River RD and Willamette NF] was minimal?

Dyrness: We had, oh, what's his name?

Geier: [Willamette National Forest Supervisor Mike] Kerrick?

Dyrness: Yeah! Kerrick. He was one of the good ones. We had good ones that would 01:29:00be more helpful. Even when the district ranger lived right next to our person. Their houses are right next door to each other. So, it wasn't that it was un-neighborly. Mostly it was that we were ignored.

Geier: Did you put any plots in on National Forest land that was logged, in other words, off-the-Andrews sites? In that period, did you work at all with the district to do that? Did anybody ask you to do that?

Dyrness: No. I must have worked with the district when I put in this vegetation 01:30:00plot I was telling you about, when we were trying out different species with the SCS cooperation. Then, we'd work with them a little on the shoreline of Blue River Reservoir when that was first built and filled. The problem being, on a reservoir like that where the water is drawn up and down, there's a lot of siltation and bank-cutting that goes on. It would be really nice to have vegetation you could plant that could withstand periodic inundation and yet remain viable. That was the "Holy Grail" that we were looking for with the SCS cooperation. To this day I don't think we've found it. I don't know if anyone is 01:31:00even (laughs) working on that idea anymore, but we worried about it. My involvement would be to charge down from Corvallis and leave the contact with the district, more to the people that were living down there, like Al or Ross or Dick. I'd never get much involved with it. Although, once we did start the IBP, I think that that's when the breakthrough was made. We increased the level of involvement many-fold! We would have meetings down there in their conference room, and invite their participation.


Geier: Well that sounds like a productive decade.

Dyrness: Yeah, Jerry's right. If we hadn't gotten "on-board" with the IBP, I shudder. I think that he deserves all the credit in the world! To realize that, "Yes, we gotta get out of our comfort zone and get on-board." And that very year we made this decision and started our involvement, the Forest Service put on a national training session at Madison, Wisconsin, on "systems ecology." Jerry 01:33:00said, "We've gotta go to that and find out what this is all about!" (Laughs) Yeah, we were completely naïve, but I went to the whole thing. Jerry just came for the second week, and was astounded. It was kind of boring, with just lectures, and he said, "You guys have been putting up with this stuff?" (Laughs) "You've been putting up with this for a whole week and not had a mutiny or anything?" But the Forest Service got employees and people from universities, and a lot of it was centered on computer-modeling systems. We were naïve back then, I'll tell you. But early on, we were going to grow an entire ecosystem, 01:34:00and that was what we were always striving for. We'd go, "You know, we don't know much at all about these systems. How limiting is soil moisture to our communities in the Andrews? Or, how are nutrients cycled through this system? Or how long do leaves stay on the trees? We don't even know that." These kind of things. When I look back at it, that's what modeling accomplishes. You don't get 01:35:00all these sophisticated models up and running with a lot of predictive capacity. What you do is you find out your stupidity. That's when we started saying, "We've gotta get these long-term Forest Service plots that they'd established just to track tree growth, when's the volume put on, and how fast is it put on, and spacing." What we were thinking was [an ecological approach] what we called, early on, "reference stands," based on the classification Jerry and I had made of the forest communities. We said, let's get really good representatives of the different communities, representing the whole spectrum of productivities, 01:36:00moisture variability, etc., and then measure these on a long-term basis. That started the Long Term Ecological Reserve [LTER] concept.

Geier: In the work that you were doing at that point, did you get a sense in 1968 that this was going to take off? You left for Alaska about that time, and as I recall, [PNW Station Director] Bob Buckman had to push you to go to Alaska?

Dyrness: I wondered what had happened. (Laughs) Go to Alaska.

Geier: Did you get a sense that you were leaving something behind that was just getting ready to take off?

Dyrness: Yes. I did. But, I left with a little missionary zeal that we could do similar things there, too. Which, I didn't have to, because a lot of guys up 01:37:00there were already converted, like Keith [Van Cleve]. Keith was coming down and sitting in on a lot of our coniferous biome meetings. He was on board. As I told you before, the coniferous biome threw a bone or two Alaska's way - little studies they could do up there. But in the main, we were getting shut out, so that's when we decided to do our own program.

Geier: You'd invested at least 12 years of more than 14 years of your professional life in the Forest Service, in the Andrews program and research plots you put in in the early '60s. Did you maintain active contact with people 01:38:00you'd worked with down here, while you were in Alaska?

Dyrness: Well, it was very hard. Very hard. Jerry and I talked a lot, back-and-forth. He kept me apprised of what was happening on the plots that Charlie Halpern, his grad student, was going to take on, and I said, "Great." That's hard to leave your babies behind. When Charlie did the analyses, he used my plots and used my experimental design, and you want to get at least a junior authorship on it.

Geier: Probably shouldn't take too much longer here, but I wanted to get back to 01:39:00this, because you raised it last year when I was talking to you [for Alaska Forest Service history/science project], and you raised it this year, or earlier today. You mentioned last time, that in making the move to Alaska, you were afraid of becoming a bit too provincial here, and in discussing why you decided 01:40:00to take the position here, instead of the one in Minnesota, you were concerned about this, perhaps, being provincial, also. That is an interesting theme you're working with there. What is your sense of this group here being, kind of outside the mainstream of what was going on? And I'm not sure if that's really what's going on, but why don't you explain what you're talking about there?

Dyrness: I'm not sure what?

Geier: Is there something about living in Oregon that -- [interrupted by loud laughter]?

Dyrness: Yeah, you know.

Geier: I've wondered that myself.

Dyrness: Yeah. Oregon in the '50s, I think it was provincial and conservative. I think it was more a feeling of rising to a new challenge, a new adventure, and as I told you before, I had always been interested in Alaska. What kid isn't, really? I remember distinctly, because during the time I was making my decision whether to go to Alaska or not, Jerry of course, was in Washington, D.C.

Geier: NSF?

Dyrness: NSF. He was their program leader for ecosystem analysis. And incidentally, that's when he was worried about getting enough proposals to make 01:41:00the program viable. Proposals were just not coming in. And so, he was thumping the country.

Geier: Had he just gone there then?

Dyrness: Yeah. He'd been there for a few months. I'd been back there to visit him. I remember calling him up, and I said, "Jerry, they want me to go to Fairbanks." I knew what he was going to say. He knew already, as Jerry always has his ear to the ground. I remember he said, "Well, sometimes, you just have to go and rise to the challenge." And I said, "Well, Jerry, if I went there, I wouldn't view it as a real long-term thing, because, I'd like to come back." And he really encouraged me to take it. What happened really, I didn't have that 01:42:00option. That's when things started to get tight [fiscal in USFS], and so, Jerry, I think remembers that I didn't want to come back. I don't think that's the way it was. Although, I've got to admit, that once you get there, and start having fun.....

Geier: He came back here about '76, didn't he?

Dyrness: Yeah. When he came back, he said, "Well, I'm going to try to make room for you in this project here." And I said, "Great." But the station didn't work it out, as far as positions, and we getting pretty involved up there. But, it wasn't so much opportunity for professional development that I went there for, 01:43:00so much as I just wanted to see Alaska.

Geier: Yeah, you mentioned you'd wanted to go there ever since you were a little boy.

Dyrness: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Once again, I'm not too much of a scientist, really. I'm too impetuous. [Laughs]

Geier: I'm not so sure that isn't what makes a good scientist, but - (Laughs).

Dyrness: Well, Jerry's that way too. What we always say about Jerry, "He's an idea man." Boy, spark these ideas, but somebody needs to come and pick up after him. He's not a detail man. You generally envision scientists paying attention to details in a laboratory, and Jerry's never done that. I think on any kind of a test like Myers-Briggs, he'd come out like me, that kind of a person - almost 01:44:00artistic. I remember when I first took an aptitude test, I might have told you this before, I used to score on "outdoors" high, which you could imagine, and artistic. The only job I could think of was "landscape architect." (Laughs)

Geier: Well, in a sense, that's what you got involved in, I guess.

Dyrness: My daughter took one of these tests last summer when she was home working as an intern on the [Albany, Oregon] Democrat Herald. She will be finishing up her master's in journalism at [U.C.] Berkeley this year. She took 01:45:00one of these tests, and when you finish the test, in the back of the book it tells you what career you're heading for, and the heading was journalist. Geez, she's the kind of person that needs to be at the center of things, to know what's going on. She enters the room and says, "What's going on?" You know, that type of thing. I thought that was pretty scary. (Laughs)

Geier: That's an interesting theme you raised - these attributes of an artist. Do you get a sense that the attributes of a scientist changed between 1950 and the 1980s? Also, what people are attracted into the field? Also, the group dynamic that you've got going here.

Dyrness: Yeah.


Geier: If you can get away from the lone-scientist theme, what happened at the Andrews sounds like room was made for people with that kind of leaning [artistic/collaborative].

Dyrness: But see, if you sat around and said, "We need people to work on soil hydrology. We need more input on tree growth, stem-sectioning, that sort of thing, and we need more information on nutrient cycling and soil chemistry." We all listed these, so we were all primed for the IBP to come to pass, and suddenly, we had money. We had people.

Geier: Once you got that, access to that kind of funding, did you consciously go 01:47:00out and try to attract people into the group there?

Dyrness: No, the way it works is that once a nucleus is established, and they know that there's at least a small amount of funding, people are attracted in. I remember a time that Jerry and I presented a seminar one evening at the University of Oregon with mostly geologists. Alan Kayes was there. Fred [Swanson] was there. And that's the first time Fred had ever heard of what we were doing. Fred, from the start was very enthused, "Oh, gee, this is neat! You get to work in biology and silviculture, geography, whatever!" People are either cut out for that or they're not. We had another guy, he just retired, and he was on Jerry's project. He was kind of an ecologist interested in the way plants 01:48:00respond to their environment. Jerry never could get him to cooperate with us. He just wasn't cut out for it. Some people, it sparks them, and some people just really just prefer to work alone. It's not that they're introverts or extroverts, or anything like that.

Geier: Who was that?

Dyrness: Minore was his name. Don Minore. Good guy. But Don never did much work on the Andrews. He worked southwestern Oregon, and he worked on huckleberries. Good ecologist. I have all the respect in the world for him. And a nice guy. 01:49:00But, you know, as Jerry said, "Well, there's some people that aren't cut out for it."

Geier: It sounds like there's this core group of people that get together, and that sort of leads to a self-selecting group of people who pick up their work, and you invite them to get involved with this group? [Andrews and ecosystem science/interdisciplinary work.].

Dyrness: Yeah, that's what we did in Alaska, too. There's been all kinds of criticism against Keith, maybe Les, and maybe me, saying that we "cut-out" people [excluded]. No! We didn't! We said, "We always let you know. If you want to cooperate in LTER, come to our planning meetings. We're going to start work on our proposal next week. If you're interested, come. You're more than welcome. We expect you to have ideas of how you can cooperate and contribute." It's 01:50:00tough, maybe my head's in the clouds, and maybe some people were intimidated or think they would not be welcome. But, for example, we had people come forward that wanted to study mosses. Great. We don't know anything about mosses. Study mosses. I can think of other examples where we went out and recruited. We needed somebody to do soils work on the reference stands. We went to Chet [Youngberg - OSU] and said, "Who do you got?" Randy [Brown] did it, and did a good job. 01:51:00Except for the fact, doggone it, he never even acknowledged there was a soil survey already done on the Andrews. I think, because the soils were never officially coordinated into the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program. That was a puzzlement to me. He wrote a thesis, a master's thesis on the soils, and that's a case where we went out and recruited a guy, and he fit in well with the crew. There are long-term cooperators in this, and there's guys that weave in-and-out.

Geier: Yeah, that's one thing I was interested in for this study.

Dyrness: I think this group is good because it really always held to a schedule, "We're gonna get together once a month!" Come hell or high water, we're gonna get together. And that's good. Not everybody attends, but the core group's 01:52:00there, and people ask what's going on. There's certain structure we have, but boy, over the years, the structure has been minimal. You know Fred's the leader here, but outside of one or two guys, he doesn't supervise them. He has to do it by just getting cooperation. Voluntary. He's not got any official pie to head over them. Sometimes, it's too bad he doesn't.

Geier: I'm not sure how much time we've got here, but we should probably get out of Steve's [Acker, who shares Dryness' office] hair in a little bit.


Dyrness: Yeah, we've got to go.

Steve Acker: No problem. [Laughs]

Geier: I just want to ask you a couple of things here. You mentioned last year about how a group of you were working down there on the Andrews, and just started talking to each other. Who else besides you? You mentioned several other people already, but was there a kind of a jelling point that you can recall, where you all kind of came together? I've got records of Jerry trying to organize, in the mid-70s, a group of researchers, and they all got together at the Hoh River, someplace like that. [Franklin organized 1-2 week group research events called "scientific pulses," including those on the Hoh River in Olympic NP, in late 1970s, an idea exercised elsewhere in Oregon and Washington.]

Dyrness: Yeah.

Geier: I was just wondering if there was some kind of a jelling point on the Andrews, where people who were actually there on site, sat down and started talking a little more?

Dyrness: I think that would have been, up until IBP, you can almost count the number of people that worked there on a regular basis, on your fingers of one hand. We'd bring in people, like Jerry brought in Will Moir, a graduate 01:54:00student/friend to help us. But it was pretty much Dick Fredriksen, Al Levno, Ross Mersereau, Jack Rothacher, Jerry [Franklin], and I [Ted Dyrness]. On a regular basis, that was about it.

Geier: And you were all pretty much aware of each other's work on an ongoing basis?

Dyrness: Yeah. What it boiled down to was Jack's project [watersheds] and Jerry's [Various, regeneration, vegetation, forest ecology.] Really.

Geier: Hmm.

Dyrness: And Jerry, as I say, would bring in some of his friends. We got Francis 01:55:00Herman to do stem sectioning work in the area. I remember him being down there. See, we're pretty limited in that expertise. Our expertise was hydrology, soils, but as far as other areas, we needed guys like Fred. See, Fred's interests more or less coincided with the beginning of IBP. It wasn't until we got the IBP, that we really had that much of a real interdisciplinary team. That was when Dennis Harr started working there [hydrology, precipitation dynamics, rain/snow, etc.], and George Carroll from University of Oregon, for tree lichens, as we 01:56:00started climbing trees, and expert help in biometrics with guys like Scott Overton. You could look at some of those early IBP proposals, and they'll give you a flavor, but that's when we started. And of course, anything like that kind of starts and builds. I don't recall, maybe Jerry can recall a real turning point to it. Also, intermixed with early stages of IBP, was this feud with the University of Washington.


Geier: Hmm.

Dyrness: They wanted to capture the major share of the funding for Cedar River, Finley Lake, their sites up there [Washington state], and we wanted the major share to be for the Andrews. That would be the intensive study type. The concept of IBP was that you had an intensive study site and then you have satellite sites. Those satellite sites would maybe be in Alaska or someplace like Cedar River. But there was a big kind of power struggle.