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Roy Silen Group Oral History Interview, December 1992

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Fred Swanson: What was the relationship between research and management like in the early days of the Blue River Experimental Forest? Roy, would you give us a little feedback on some of those questions and then we'll throw it open to other questions.

Roy Silen: When I talked to Fred, I told him, I would prepare a presentation. I am retired and I find that in preparing a presentation I put in about as much as I would on a paper, so I said let's have it just be a question and answer session. What I plan to do is go around the table and every one of you ask a question, if that's okay. We will see how it comes out, and we can go around a second time if time is not used up. And Fred, you said you would ask a specific question, you have about four of them in what you've said so far. (Crowd laughter)

FS: Well, just sort of for the record, I'd like to you to just say a few 00:01:00comments about the very beginning of the Andrew's and what sorts of roles you and the other researchers had in beginning to work on that experimental forest.

RS: Alright. I began working on the Andrews Experimental Forest in 1948. It wasn't called the Andrews, it was called Blue River Experimental Forest. The experimental forest had been carved out of the Willamette National Forest and there was a bit of loose ends that happened and one of the loose ends was that supervisor Bruckart, who was going after the record for cutting more timber than any other national forest, (crowd laughter) said that he wouldn't give it up unless we cut 20 million board feet a year off the HJ Andrews Experimental 00:02:00Forest. Well, sustained annual yield was 7 billion board feet a year, but the station agreed to this reluctantly. So, when they were looking for someone in the experiment station who might be appropriate for this job, they found that I had a minor in logging engineering (laughter), so I was the one they picked to show up at the Andrews Experimental Forest. For the first, actually more than two years, getting on top of a 20 million foot lay out of sales was all I accomplished up there. When you stop and think about a 20 million foot cut right now, it would look pretty good on any national forest. I think that just the case and point - the man who had an office in our genetics project [PNW Research 00:03:00Station] that worked on the Siuslaw [National Forest], we proposed a thinning of one of our plots out near Monmouth and he says if we succeed in doing that thinning, that'll be the biggest sale this year on the Siuslaw.

So, anyway, I showed up at the Andrews Experimental Forest. I was given a trailer to live in at Belknap camp where the ranger district was located. There were no roads or trails into the forest itself. At that time the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] had built trails from McKenzie Bridge to Carpenter Mountain and also up the Blue River along Blue River Ridge along to Carpenter Mountain. That was the entire access, except that the south side of Lookout Ridge at that 00:04:00time had a sale that brought a road nearly to the top of Lookout Ridge, about where the small watersheds are located [Watersheds 1, 2, 3]. So, that was the entire access to it. The first year I was there alone, I had a summer-time helper, but I was there the first two years and the majority of the time alone. Then, Hank Gratkowski was added as a scientist to the staff and I was there altogether from 1948 to 1954, although I had some activity after that time.

The set up was that, I was given no instructions at all except that I was supposed to cut 20 million board feet. I had however, worked from 1946-1948 for a number of people in the experiment station, primarily under [Leo] Isaac and 00:05:00[Thornton] Munger, while I was in Portland. And then under a man named Bob Aufderheide whose background was as an assistant supervisor for the Willamette National Forest. They picked him because he had ideas on how timber sales should be laid out. His basic idea was that there should be one hundred percent lay out of any area before there was any logging done. This was revolutionary at the time and may still be. We would go into a place like Henderson Creek, where I worked before I came up here, and laid out all of the roads, put in p-lines [preliminary alignment] for all of the roads, we located every landing, we either located or mapped out the cutting boundaries for the whole unit. At that 00:06:00time, you chose the settings for it to be logged and made the sale. That was a pattern that I followed for the first year I went into the Andrews Experimental Forest. Mind you, the access road was just over the hill into the area of the Blue River Dam and from there on you walked. My choice was to make a sale that included the three small [experimental] watersheds that are there. I reached the upper elevations on that sale by going in from the Lookout Creek side through a saddle in between the first and second watersheds. The lower elevations, we had to go up from Blue River Lake, and walk up to the confluence of Lookout Creek 00:07:00and began sale lay out there.

I might comment one more thing, to finish out the role I had. After the second season and into the third season, I began to do research into natural regeneration following some of the ideas that Isaac had been working on. I ended up, when I left, doing a thesis on lethal surface temperatures, which I completed for my doctoral degree. Incidentally, my degree is not in genetics, although I took all the courses at Oregon State. My degree is in Ecology, so I have that kind of background. Those latter years, we did a lot of different 00:08:00things. We had a group from the Oregon Wildlife Research Unit here on the campus that furnished two people to the Andrews, a fisheries biologist and an animal person. Their names were, Don Wustenberg and Jay Gashwiler. Gashwiler published a lot; Wustenberg wasn't there long. Don did some very interesting work on fisheries and this is the thing I asked people, if you saw a hole in the river that was 70 feet long and as wide as Lookout Creek, how many fish do you think were there when the area was primeval. The way we went at it was that we put a net at upper and lower end of the 70-foot hole and began to go through the hole 00:09:00with a fine net that would let out fish, probably that long and smaller and clip every fin of the fish. Every fish would have a clipped fin by the time we got to the other end. The first time we got about four or five hundred fish. By the time we had gone through for the fifth time, there was very few fish who did not have a clipped fin, so we could quite accurately estimate that there were over 11,000 fish in there. Imagine that.

Audience question: Was that just trout or included all fish?

RS: Everything. Yeah, and I don't know how many people have actually been in primeval conditions, but here's an example of what you can find on the Andrews. The crew that surveyed the access road had worked as far as the mouth of McCrae 00:10:00Creek, so that area had been fished probably - some. Beyond McCrae Creek, I remember going one time to a hole, coming in from the south side, and looking over this bank for five feet into this hole, which had a lot of logs in it, fairly deep and I took a little twig and tossed it out there and it looked just like a fish hatching. Jesus, I said, you don't see that anymore, I don't know where in the world you see that.

Stan Gregory: In Wyatt's thesis and Wustenberg's thesis, they mention the chinook occasionally. Do you remember running into chinook.

RS: No, I didn't. Well, what else can I say in answer to your question.

FS: Well, I do wonder how the relationship between research and management 00:11:00developed over say the first decade. How long did you remain a principle player down there?

RS: I left in 1954 and took over the genetics work [in the Pacific Northwest Research Station], that was the end of it. Imagine, going from working on timber sales to working on genetics. Well, that's how long. Beyond that, I just didn't go back to the Andrews. It's kind of a personal thing. You get to where you love a certain piece of country and you don't want to see it hurt. And I loved that piece of country and I just didn't want to go back and see it. Can you imagine that? Let's go on around the room.

Jack Lattin: Hi, Roy, I'm Jack Lattin, entomologist. I'd be very interested. It 00:12:00looks as though Douglas-fir bark beetles is beginning to come back. It happens that, as you've heard many times before, most of the people that were involved in those original efforts are not around anymore. So, I would be interested in your observations on insects that may have reached pests status in those early days or not, whether there aren't any.

RS: I have one story to tell about it. Think it was 1951, it was a dry year, I was keeping records of surface temperatures at that time, so I was very cognizant of this. April 1st was the last rain we got, and it didn't rain until September 3rd. That was dry. As a result, the next year we had a beetle attack. 00:13:00I heard, just going to Portland in the winter time, that this was a serious problem over the region. But I didn't really notice until I went back to the Andrews there were trees all over that were browning, and [becoming] beetle kill. I thought, well, this is something that might be kind of interesting. So, I took sections where I could see the number and concluded that less than 1% of old-growth trees had died from the epidemic. I thought, well, this is kind of minor and never thought anything more about it. And then, the survey was done over the region, and, of all things, this was one of the heavy areas in the survey. And I thought to myself, the way we're going at it, we'll salvage all 00:14:00that mortality in the next ten years. I don't see where there's a big problem with it.

Jack Lattin: Were there any examples of defoliators?

RS: No. Well actually, I shouldn't say no. The Spruce budworm worked the upper elevations. And the upper elevation of the Andrews was one of the areas they sprayed with DDT. That was in about 1952 or 1953. There was one pilot that was killed who flew into the border of the mountain, spraying. Flew his plane into the mountain. We had to pack him out.

Lynn Burditt: I am Lynn Burditt, I'm the district ranger for Blue River. 00:15:00Building on what Fred said, it sounds like you had an interesting relationship with forest managers there. From my perspective, what do you see as positive relationship between the research side and management side?

RS: Do you mean in those days? It was a relationship that started off badly with Bruckart, watching that cut. He was not friendly to our effort there. They 00:16:00watched every move I made. I didn't know it, but I was a political figure, without even knowing it. I was producing information on silvicultural things that would slow down the silviculture and he didn't want that. The other thing that was a problem to them was I inherited from Aufterheide, who was promoting 100 percent sale layout, which would take about three times as long to do lay out; only lay out about a third as much. That was a problem. But then, I added to that, that really what should be done is to go after the methods that would 00:17:00do the minimum damage to the resource. I very carefully kept any activity out of the leave units. Where there was wind fall in the leave units, I'd make very low-gradient roads so there would be no sedimentation from them, and do the logging with [system], which didn't have to get off the road. It wasn't that there was anything wrong or they were objecting to the methods, it's just the slow down. I am trying to think of anything else that would be a good example of problems with that. I was starting in the strip clear cuts and with small clear 00:18:00cuts, which from my view was done just trying to get information on regeneration. But it was interpreted as, this is a way of the future or something. A lot of misunderstandings.

FS: Did management come around to adopting some of those practices you were experimenting with or promoting?

RS: Yes, I think some of them were. We would put them into contract items in the sale. If we wanted to have the culverts handled a certain way, or drainage handled a certain way, or tractors off the ground a certain time of year, we just put it into the contract. Of course, they didn't like that either. We were very successful in certain things and I am sure there was a carry over. For one thing, Don Wustenberg, the first year he was in there, when the sale was going 00:19:00on, informed me that every fish had been wiped out, from every tributary down to Lookout Creek. Of course, they were wiped out, all the pools were filled with sediment. So, we decided we would see how much we could deal with that problem. We started putting items into the contract that would require them to, when they came to a stream, they would fall timber away from the stream, so there would be a minimum to the stream to begin with. When the cats made their first attempt along the right-of-way they would make a road on the first cut that you make on the top of a cut. When they got to the stream, they were required to pull out 00:20:00any material that they left. So, generally we had clear going when the grading began. And when the grading began, the culverts I had them, whenever possible, divert the stream so there would be minimum sedimentation. We cut down the sedimentation to such an extent that by sale two, Wustenberg informed me that we hadn't lost a fish. It was just a matter of detail. I can't think of anything else.

John Cissel: I'm John Cissel, I also work at Blue River [Ranger District]. I was curious as to, I don't know if you've been up to the Forest anytime lately, but if there are any changes from fire suppression that you see from now compared to then or noticing back then compared before fire were being suppressed as to the 00:21:00kinds of forest stands you'd see.

RS: I couldn't answer that question. I haven't been up there enough, I'm in genetics. I'm not in timber anymore. Fire suppression was well developed by the 50s. They had big fires and they could handle most anything. But, strangely, the burning of slash was one of those things that still needed some attention because the only time they would burn slash was after the fall rains. They got in a lot of trouble with that sort of thing. What bothered me was that they would get these big backlogs of slash on units that needed to be burned and then they'd try to burn the four years of burning all in one year and, of course, it would go everywhere. Some of it went over my plots and I did not like that.


Art McKee: I'm Art McKee, director at Andrews. I do a lot of hand holding and nose wiping, of technicians and undergraduates and graduate students at the Andrews who complain about the hardships of working out there. I'd like your observations out there when you had to get in through foot or horseback and had to go in for a week at a time. How do you handle that.

RS: I'll start out by saying that I lived in a trailer out by Belknap camp. I was a bachelor. I didn't like to cook. I found a family that gave me all the meals for a price. That was the situation with starting out. The sale layout 00:23:00always had to be quite a ways ahead of the last road. You walked in at least a mile or more before you started your sale layout. So, we put a pack on our back with a week's supply of everything and start over the wind falls and go in two or three miles, establish a camp, all we had was a 9x12 silcolin fly, to protect us from the weather. Sleeping bags and we would pack our aluminum tags and our staplers and maps and few other things, and we did all our surveying with 10-foot pole. We worked as one man crews all the time because it was so much more efficient. We had organized to be able to do everything alone. Stapler, a 00:24:00stapling gun and aluminum tags allowed us to run a line by tilting the tag up a certain way so you could get the reflection going right, then you'd go as far back so you could see that and get your grade and put another tag up. The section lines were surveyed a little more carefully, but the chain lines were put in with 10 foot poles and they were a little off in places. That is the way we lived right until Fall and it got pretty rainy in the Fall (Crowd laughter). I can remember one time, I was in there and Carl Berntsen was going with me that week, and we established camp and one of these storms came in that you hear the thunder way down the valley. You just count the number of seconds and it gets 00:25:00fewer seconds and fewer seconds and we'd look up and we'd see the old growth start waving around and then it got close enough to where you start hearing them come down, rrrrrrornkk, and (laughter) finally the storm passed. We both got up and urinated. (Crowd laughter). Surprising how much of the time I worked alone up there. Nobody else, I worked alone. People worked alone a lot those days.

A story got around the experiment station. I was a bachelor. I had quite a few 00:26:00friends who liked to come up to the McKenzie to fish on the weekends. So, it was hard for me to get down to Eugene to cash these paychecks that would arrive every two weeks, so I would put these paychecks in a paycheck envelope in one of the drawers in the trailer and I forget how many of them I'd had, maybe 8 or 9 of them for the season. Then McKenzie district felt we were supposed to help the McKenzie district with fire so Hank Gratkowski and I were called to this big Tumble Creek fire in Detroit. They seemed to always put Hank and I on scouting. 00:27:00I asked Al Weiner one time, how come we always got on scouting. Well, your guys' feet wouldn't wear out. That's what we were valuable for! Well, anyways, coming back two weeks from the fire, opened the drawer in the trailer, and the mice had gotten in and made a nest. I hauled out my paycheck envelope and it was nibbled all along all the paychecks that I'd had. I sent the checks up to Portland and nobody could believe that I had 8 paychecks. They had a hard time with the numbers, but I got paid. (Crowd laughter).


Audience question: How much was one of those paychecks?

RS: The paychecks were $120 or something.

Audience Question: Wondering if you could give us a feeling for how much was left behind then versus now...do you have pictures of some of the cuts that were made?

RS: No, I don't. I don't know where I'd find them anymore. I had a camera but there was no official picture taking that I know of. They would leave quite a bit of material because there was the usual rot in the old growth. We would harvest forty to seventy or eighty thousand board feet of scalable volume off 00:29:00those units but I wouldn't be surprised if today they'd be taking a third more of them because there were a lot of logs left but they were pretty juicy. It depended on where you were in the drainage because one of the things that got rather obvious to Hank Gratkowski and me was that the forest was in all stages of preservation. Fire had swept through there four hundred years ago and had covered almost everything. As far as I could see, the four-hundred-year age class was represented virtually everywhere except on the ridge tops, which had burned again, and there were hundred-year-old [stands] all along the ridge top. There were occasionally older and bigger trees that outdated the fire. But the 00:30:00stands had deteriorated at different rates after that fire and the principle agency was rots, butt rots and stem rots. The trees would break or fall over. In some areas the rotting was creating openings, like Poria weirii [current name: Phellinus weirii], where others had quite a few trees in them and we began to ask ourselves, if it's going to take 80-100 years for the rotation, what stands are going to last for 80-100 years. It's not going to be those that are almost deteriorated already, it's going to be the very densest, well preserved ones. I remember, the way that worked out was that we began to put the deteriorated 00:31:00units into our sales. The man from the Willamette that did the cruising had cruised several sales and said, "One thing I've been beginning to notice is how brushy and junky these sales are," and I said, "Well, I got to admit something to you," and went through this. I then thought, boy, I'm going to hear it this time because volumes were less. And instead of that, I saw a couple weeks later there was a memo that went out to the Willamette National Forest that said, "We are changing our policy in picking the units in our sales. We are going to leave those that are more dense for the future and..." how about that! Just telling somebody and getting that kind of a practice just changed. It didn't work that way very often, only once! (Crowd Laughs). We didn't make scale record and 00:32:00beside that, once I got through with the sale layout, I didn't have much to do with the handling and the writing up of sales and the scaling and so on was all done by the district.

Audience Question: If you could think of anybody else that was working out there that might have some photos.

RS: Gosh, I don't know. Hank Gratkowski was more of a photo man than myself and I think he's still around. He might have some.

This one is funny story that doesn't have to do with the Andrews, but it has to do with this period. There was this sale that burned near McKenzie Bridge; that burned during the McKenzie Bridge fire. And, because the logger hadn't cleaned up the whole area, he put in a claim for all the burned logs that were on the 00:33:00ground, as if it had just been felled and he lost all his logs. Well, the ranger decided that he better go out and look at it, although his intention was just to pay him off, it was the Forest Service's fault. So, he went out there with an axe and he went to the log and here was a log that had kind of burned out and he chopped and the at edge of the burn and he found about that much of the rot and sound wood beyond. He went through that whole area and couldn't find any exceptions to that, that every log that had burned had burned out the rots but left a little bit. In other words, the guy had logged out all the good timber and he was going to make a claim for all the logs out there. See, there were plenty of logs out there. That's what I'm saying, a lot of logs out there that he was going to make a claim on, but once the ranger took the gentleman out there and had him whack a few times with the axe, he said "show me some logs 00:34:00that your claiming," and keep whacking away at logs with rot...there was no claim (crowd laughs).

Audience Question: When it was so densely forested, how many deer or elk did you ever run into? Where were they?

RS: Well, there were no elk that I even heard about. The Oregon Corporative Wildlife Research Unit made a survey very early on the animal population and I think they came up with five deer to the square mile, or something like that! They pronounced that area a biological desert. And, in fact, as much as we were out there, we seldom saw game. Seldom saw bear. Once in a great while; once in a 00:35:00great while. If we saw deer, it was enough of an event that we commented about it. It wasn't very much. It sure changed once the logging started opening up. All the populations got hit.

Audience Question: So, even once you started to log you never saw any elk coming in?

RS: No, I don't remember any elk. There were elk in the McKenzie drainage because I remember the ranger shot one, but I didn't' see any or find any.

Stan Gregory: Simple question, the Saddle Creek, the Mack Creek and McCrae and Lookout Creeks are all on USGS maps, do you know where those names came from? Were they named when you were there?


RS: No, I don't know.

Audience Question: They existed when you were there?

RS: Yes. See there was a quadrangle sheet map of that area. It wasn't very good, but it was a map of it.

Don Henshaw: Don Henshaw - I managed a lot of the long-term records at the Andrews, records for the watersheds one, two, and three. Started in 1951 and a lot of the climate stations, too. Started in 1951, 1952. I was wondering if you were involved with any of these.

RS: Oh yes, I installed those three watersheds, those three gages.

Audience Question: And the climatic station...?

RS: We serviced them, yes.

Audience Comment: Because all that data still gets used.

RS: Good. Oh, we sent the data up to Portland, but we serviced them.

Audience Question: Roy, how widely was it perceived in the early days that the 00:37:00Andrews might serve as a benchmark or control for what it might have subsequently. You mentioned the case of counting the fish in the stream; was this widely understood that it might serve other purposes?

RS: Well, you get very little vertical communication in the experiment station and the boss hardly ever told me what to do. He looked and would see what I was doing and then walked off and left me wondering whether I was right or not. But in my view, we were making a long-term-project and this was intended to be long-term data. Uh, trying to think of any way to, the watershed data was 00:38:00certainly considered to be long-term data, because there was a history of it throughout the Forest Service, there was watershed research at experimental forests already, like Coweeta. This was supposed to be an addition to that and that's why the small watersheds were started. We started the same thing would apply to the harvesting large scale harvesting, but I don't think everybody agreed there.

Stan Gregory: Did anybody from Hubbard Brook or Coweeta come out to help establish?

RS: No, they didn't come out to help establish, but they did come by, yes.

Audience Question: There seems to be an early perception in the watershed field and fisheries field that this could get some good baseline data, but I wonder is it true of other biological aspects of the site along wide recognition.

RS: Not in the same system, no. No, if anybody would have set it up I would have 00:39:00had to set it up. I thought I was setting it up, but it turns out I wasn't.

Steve Wondzell: I'm kind of curious, given the time you spent at the Andrews and the subsequent history of forestry in the Cascades, if there are things that strike you that people could have done different or done differently at H.J. Andrews that could have alleviated some of the forestry problems we [see], and if there are any lessons there for us?

RS: Oh boy. Uh, the problem is not my term on the Andrews it's what's going on now. Well, I had a pretty free hand as to what I did on the Andrews, I saw 00:40:00something I wanted to do and I did it. It wasn't really, I'm not sure the problem with doing what I wanted to. It's more of a problem with the obstacles that were rolled in from the Forest, see, every once in a while, when I wanted something done differently by the timber operator that I would get visited by the Willamette National Forest on his behalf. I think that if the National Forest System had adopted some of the same layout they would have been a lot better off because what we were doing was solving a lot of the silvicultural and watershed and other problems in the way we located the landings and the roads 00:41:00and planned for future entry and harvest. Of course, at that time it was all natural regeneration and I thought that would go on forever, you know. It turns out within a few years everybody was planting [seedlings].

Audience Question: At that the time that you were doing your work there, I guess it was the start to using staggered logging as opposed to clearcuts, could you talk a little bit about the discussions and the philosophy of making that switch and how hard it was for the Forest Service to make that switch?

RS: Really wasn't very hard because there wasn't much cutting on the Forest Service before World War II. In fact, the timber sales that were proposed in the 00:42:00region before WWII were often times resisted by the industry. They didn't want the competition for the wood. So, there wasn't really very much cutting and you see the basis for the patch cutting system was Leo Isaac's publication, Reproductive Habits of Douglas-Fir. Where he showed that you get adequate stocking up a quarter mile up from the timber edge and so half-a-mile wide clearcut, if you went beyond that, you were risking not getting good stocking and so the Forest Service was, uh, I think committed already to the staggered setting system when the Andrews started. Gee, I didn't have any, I didn't have any. The Willamette was doing it; everybody was doing it.

Audience Question: So, there was no sort of large scale clearcutting going on?

RS: Not like before. It's odd because at Cascade Head [Experimental Forest] where another version of this practical program of harvest cutting was going on, 00:43:00they came to the conclusion that their best bet in the Spruce-Hemlock, which was less wind firm than the Douglas-fir, was to cut into the wind; to cut a swath each year into the wind which was clear cutting, but it was very logical kind of clearcutting, I mean you could get big clearcuts that way, but not very fast.

Pam Druliner: I was wondering, you said there were a lot of obstacles, managers, supervisors, and district managers of Forest Service saw you as an obstacle in a lot of cases and tried to work around you, who actually established the Blue 00:44:00River Experience Station?

RS: How was it established, in the face of that? Well, uh, there was general agreement at the Portland level, even within the Region that there should be another experimental forest. There wasn't any objection from for example H. J. Andrews, who was in charge of it, was very favorable to this idea, and, well, the background for how it was picked out was that Phillip Briegleb, who had been in forest survey for many years and had surveyed the forest through this area and looked at this as kind of a jewel for an experimental forest. When learned 00:45:00the picking was to be done, he picked the spot. Uh, there was then a negotiation with the Willamette, that was, the Willamette National Forest. We didn't have the same problems with the Siuslaw Forest, Cascade Head was doing virtually the same things without any problems. You got to remember, that Bruckart's goal in life was to have that record of producing the most timber. And when that record was threatened, he did some dumb things. I won't go into that (Audience Laughter).

Audience Question: Where did he end up?

RS: Where did he end up? He retired.

Matt Hunter: My name is Matt Hunter; I work at Blue River. Roy, I'm wondering what your perspective was when you started working there. Was it just a job? Did 00:46:00you have a particular desire or ambition you wanted to do? What was your perspective?

RS: Pretty much it was a job, yeah. You got to remember that I just had a Forestry degree; and in an experiment station that doesn't put you very high up the ladder. I had to get degrees later, so I was somewhat of a flunky, worked for Isaac, but when they looked around for somebody that had some logging training, I was the only one, nobody else in the station. So, I ended up there. It was a great place, you know, my goodness, fish every evening you know, place to entertain your friends. I had the whole Belknap camp, bring as many people as 00:47:00I wanted. They all had place to bunk down, so it was a great place. But I didn't have long, I didn't have a concept of how it was going to be handled. That developed with time, over the six years I was in there. When I left, I had quite a concept as what I'd like to see, but I didn't to begin with.

Peter Homann: Was there any consideration of soils and forest nutrition in the experiment station?

RS: Yes, we had Bob Tarrant, who was a soil man who did some soils work on Andrews, several times. And I think most of it's published. Anything particular that you were...?

Peter Homann: No, that was about the time that I'm aware that some of the work 00:48:00in Washington state got started with regard to forest soils, before that there wasn't too much.

RS: Well, Tarrant came on to the staff about the 1947, 47, about that. And he was a soils man, and that's when that started. I wouldn't be surprised if it outdated some of the work you're talking about.

Audience Question: He was contemporaneous with Stan Gessel [U. of Washington professor of soil science].

Linda Ashkenas: I was going to ask you what Bruckart did when his records were threatened (crowd laughs), but I was sort of curious to know. Nowadays, when we have heavy rain storms and streams start flooding, we see increase in sediment loads and sometimes debris torrents and all those good sorts of things and I was wondering if similar things happened then?

RS: Well, most of the time, Lookout Creek, in the winter time, when it was high, 00:49:00was colored, but it was a kind of a gray, not many colored. But, once in awhile you'd see it brown and there'd be a slide somewhere, but not for long, a little while. Uh, we could say almost categorically that if we saw any mud in the river that it was man-caused, someone was putting it in the river, doing something wrong. And well, we eliminated, we virtually eliminated that during the years that, uh, the years I was in sales, there wasn't much mud. As far as, commenting on Bruckart, I think he was responsible in starting the environmental movement (crowd laughs).

Audience Question: Roy, two real good theories that you sounded on that I've 00:50:00really been interested in. One of them was kind of a management style for the Forest where you would propose to divide the forest up into good size parcels and then put maybe one man in charge of each parcel. Can you expand on that?

RS: If I was managing the Forest that is exactly what I'd do. You just about covered it (crowd laughs). Yeah, Uh.

Audience Quesiton: What would be the advantage of that?

RS: Well, as far as I'm concerned, it would completely change the uh, the spirit of the Forest Service. When the Forest Service used to just have a district ranger, he had big area but he was king. He was really king. That was the best job in the Forest Service, people that went beyond that and became higher [positions] they always wished they were back being a ranger. That was because they were able to make all of the decisions on a piece of land. They didn't always know, they didn't always have the background, but they would bring in the 00:51:00background and make the decision. And, that to me, and I was, having that kind of, situation on the Andrews and I could see where we were so much more flexible and could do things with so much more detail than could be done in any of the districts, and I wondered why this pattern wasn't even proposed. I think the Forest Service would the, rest of the organization would be serving as sort of staff, that, if you needed any expert in soils or silviculture or any other thing that the district, this person didn't have information on, then it should be available within the Forest Service or for hire. And that he should have to pay for it so that he wouldn't be just able to use anything he wanted, it would 00:52:00be economic. And I think you would find that he would be able to make all the decisions on a piece of land. I don't, people in the regional office, when I posed this, [they] said, "Oh, we couldn't train our people to do this." Ha-ha-ha, I laughed at them. I said you know I didn't have any training at all and I'm doing it...alright. Now, you said there was another one or?

Audience Question: You said, you talked about if the Forest Service had been able to recognize that we were destroying our 300-year-old, old-growth ecosystem, if we had been able to recognize that and established a cutting cycle on a 300-year-old rotation rather than a 100-year-old rotation.

RS: Yeah, as far as I'm concerned, a lot of the problems that are associated with the controversy today would be lessened or even disappeared, if you had the 00:53:00forest organized everywhere as an array of age classes, not necessarily even amounts of every age class, but some array of proportion going out in time at least over 300 years. Alright.

Audience Question: I'm interested in getting a little more information about the early days of the three small watersheds. When were the flumes put in, and who helped you, and who laid out the watersheds to begin with?

RS: The first sale that I laid out covered the three watersheds, and it would 00:54:00have been an awful sale because I had planned a road up the first watershed that went up to about where it started up steeply and then curved back [and] came around the point went into the second watershed and finally got up to the landings on the third watershed. Imagine that! Anyway, I, we put it up for sale, and the buyers came out and looked at it and all turned it down, fortunately. Because when the access road got a little further into the drainage I was able to come back into the same area with a very easy road at mid-level and it eliminated most of those problems. Well, you wouldn't have the watershed you had now. As far as installations, the Portland office did the planning for those 00:55:00wiers. They sent the materials to put in. I had a contractor who did the concrete work. By that time, the access road had passed all three watersheds. Even though it wasn't graveled, you could drive in there.

Audience Question: What year was that?

RS: I would say about 1950.

Audience Question: Were the first cuts chain saws?

RS: Yeah, chain saws.

FS: Well, I think we could go around a few more times, but maybe to just close up...


RS: Yeah, I'll come back, this is easy (crowd laughs).

FS: To just close up, can you make some comments on what you knew about H. J. Andrews as a person?

RS: Fine person. You know, at my level I didn't have much contact with him. He visited the area twice. And uh, he was scheduled to become the chief of the Forest Service. Went back to Washington, had an auto accident and was killed. I remember some of the conversations with him about how interested he was in good research. You know, if he had, I'm sure if he had, he had been there longer, that some of this problem with the Willamette would have disappeared, because I 00:57:00think he would have said this is foolish.

Audience Question: He regional forester at the time?

RS: He was regional forester up to about the time that Blue River was set aside, about '48. Then he went back to Washington and was killed and they dedicated the forest a few years later.

Audience Question: How much sign of trails were there other than uh, trails you see H.J.A crews or Forest Service had built, was there signs of native trails.

RS: No, no signs. Just game trails. There were no roads or trails in that area.

Audience Question: So, there was never a trail that went up Lookout Creek? Just when the road was built?

RS: No, no.

Audience Question: Would people go up there fishing at all?

RS: Well, they would walk up the right away for the public, you know, access road, and then they would go up the river, go up the stream. Often times, when 00:58:00we were going into the area we would prefer to go up the rocky falls stream instead of the woods because of the wind fall.

Audience Question: Did you run into people while you were camping?

RS: No! Well, no there was, soon as you'd get half a mile beyond the road, you don't find anybody.

Art McKee: There was active boys camp in Blue River that was operated in the 20s and early 50s...Phil Ramhaf [?] was a neighbor of mine for awhile and he professed that he used to take his troops up, they would walk up Blue River two stages and ending up camping somewhere near Lookout Creek and heading back out and making sort of a four or five-day trip out of it, and he said they never saw anybody up in there.

RS: No, I'd be surprised if they did. Uh, but the trail was always there and if you had horses you could go around that whole loop in two days, easy.


Audience Question: Roy, did you ever use horses?

RS: No, we had, we had things packed in with pack animals, but we never used horses. No, it wasn't practical.

Audience Question: Were there may beavers in the streams?

RS: Not many, no, no. Uh-uh.

Audience Question: Was there a lot of alder?

RS: Not much, no, the fires had burned right down to the streams and it was old-growth fir right down to the streams. In fact, when you look at the old photos, it's just a line there of, you can see the river through.

Audience Question: They just recently picked up some 1940's aerial photographs that Luna [?] and I were just looking at and it's incredible the stream, the riveting huge trees along the stream.

RS: Oh yeah, the biggest trees were down there.

Audience Question: So, when was it that they finally got a road up there?


RS: Uh, the access road was built between '48 and '49, it was built up past the three watersheds. And then it was a little easier.

Audience Question: Well, how big were the fish that you caught? (Crowd laughs).

RS: I never caught very big fish out of. We would fish, we would fish every evening to get some trout, but they were, by the time you got up to the upper part, 8-inch fish would be a pretty good fish, 9 inch, maybe.

FS: Roy, thank you very much for coming by. It has been very interested to me and, I can tell by the level of attentiveness, we all appreciate it a great deal and would like to hear some more.

RS: Well this is a great format.

Audience: Yeah this was a great idea, yeah. Yeah (Crowd cheers).