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Jerry Franklin Oral History Interview, July 27, 2015

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SAMUEL SCHMIEDING: Hi there. This is Sam Schmieding, Oregon State University. I am here with Dr. Jerry Franklin, University of Washington, formerly of Oregon State University, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research, and we are here at the 2015 Mount St. Helens Science Pulse. We're sitting in the staging area campground. We're going to do an interview based on Jerry's work at Mount St. Helens and his experience here, not only since 1980, since the major eruption happened and all the science that followed, but we're going to talk about what happened before, as Jerry had some experiences and knowledge of being around St. Helens and doing work before the big eruption. So, Jerry what are your earliest memories-either from in-person experience, readings, photographs, or art-about volcanoes and eruptions that formed your original concepts or visualizations of volcanoes?

JERRY FRANKLIN: Well, I grew up looking at a volcano, which was Mount Hood, and 00:01:00it was visible from our house where I grew up in Camas. But the whole notion of volcanoes as an active part of my life was not something that I was really expecting.

SS: You kind of saw Hood and also St. Helens on the other side there would have been part of your geographical set piece, if you will.

JF: Very much a part of the geography that I lived in and I grew up expecting to be able to see a snow-capped volcano from essentially wherever I was. It is a fundamental element in the northwestern landscape and so you're very familiar with it, but you really don't expect to encounter it in eruptive form.

SS: Do you ever remember reading about when the last eruptions of either Hood or 00:02:00St. Helens or Adams or Rainier or any of the other major stratovolcanoes were?

JF: I don't really remember spending a lot of time reading about that. But, my first experience with volcanoes as a force of nature was actually in a visit to Mount Rainier National Park and there had been a lahar debris flow from Mount Rainier, I think in 1947, and so one of my early visits to Mount Rainier I encountered that for the first time and begin to be aware of the fact that these are potentially hazardous structures.

SS: Was this caused by a venting or a fuming-type dynamic on a glacier type situation?

JF: No. The Kautz Creek Mudflow basically was some kind of a dam that had 00:03:00developed somewhere in the upper Kautz Creek drainage and I don't know if it was a rock dam or an ice dam, but, basically, it had collapsed and there had been a catastrophic release of this water that had been ponded. Classic gutted out the head and deposited it all in the lower gradient section of Kautz Creek. You had to drive across this mudflow and so you were very aware of it and they interpreted it.

SS: I'm going back to my first question just briefly-when you had visualizations of volcanism, and it might even have been as a child. My first was of a Tarzan movie, for instance, of Hollywood's version of it. Do you remember what did you think volcanoes were supposed to look like when they erupted?


JF: Well, I think you know I certainly must have been exposed to images of Vesuvius and some of the other and the columnar eruptive structure was the one that was one that I think I saw visualized both in pictures and in movies and, then, I probably, there was a series of books. I'm trying to remember who-it wasn't Halliburton's-but there was a series of books about the marvels of the world and I think I encountered images of eruptions in that.

SS: I think my first visualization was Paricutin in Mexico.

JF: That's right. It grew up in the field.

SS: Right. I remember having a geology book when I was a kid my grandparents gave me when I was 7 and it was actually a picture of it-Paricutin was on the 00:05:00cover of the book, or a Paricutin-like cone. That was my visual.

JF: I remember that too and the whole notion the mountain could grow right out of a field.

SS: A corn field.

JF: That was, wow, this is-I couldn't image that. Obviously, it wasn't anything that could happen in my country.

SS: Going back to those early ideals, and I think what most of us would have thought a catastrophic version of geology and earth history, how do you think that view might have affected how you came into St. Helens as a person studying ecosystem processes in 1980?

JF: I candidly never expected to encounter in my lifetime an actual eruption. I knew it was possible, but I didn't view it as probable and I never came into 00:06:00these landscapes thinking that this was something that I'm going to encounter in my neighborhood. Lassen Peak had been active. I think Lassen Peak was the most recent active [SS interrupts].

SS: 100 years this year.

JF: Yeah. I was aware but really that wasn't that big an eruption. I always have viewed my life as one of probabilities and I just didn't figure this was something that was probably going to happen.

SS: In other words, human timeframes versus geologic timeframes.

JF: Exactly. The odds of this aren't really good.

SS: Right. Did you have a favorite mountain? You talked about Hood being on the-but did you have a, as you camped and grew up to learn nature and you lived 00:07:00around it, did you have a favorite mountain or a region by a mountain that you developed an affinity for?

JF: No. I don't know that I had a favorite among the mountains. The ones that you're nearest to and you see all the time are the ones you develop the most familiarity with, but Mount Hood is a beautiful mountain but it's not nearly as massive, for example, as Mount Adams or Mount Rainier is.

SS: Or Shasta.

JF: Yeah. Although I wasn't exposed to Shasta until I was an adult. I think in the early camping that we did we ended up camping at Mount Rainier when I was about 10 or 11 years old and I think in many ways I was most impressed with 00:08:00Mount Rainier as a mountain, perhaps because I got up close to it.

SS: And it's so massive.

JF: And it's such a big mountain. St. Helens was really notable by its beauty. It was very symmetrical. But it was a small mountain.

SS: Fujiyama-esque, I guess they called it.

JF: It was definitely Fujiyama-esque. There was no question about it. But our family never really got around and into the Spirit Lake country and so I probably visited it once as a child, maybe, but no more than that.

SS: Now, you did do some work around St. Helens as a young professional, correct, before the eruption?

JF: I did.

SS: Tell me about that, Jerry.

JF: Well, my doctoral dissertation was on the vegetation and soils of the Southern Washington Cascades and actually I got into Northern Oregon as well. 00:09:00Basically, it was focused largely on the area from Mount Rainier to Mount Hood. I was doing a study of the forest communities and their relationship to soils. For five years I was basically working much of the summer in that region and so I certainly got all around Mount St. Helens and got onto the slopes of Mount St. Helens and as part of that I had a good friend who was on the Spirit Lake Ranger District, which was a ranger district that was in the Kelso-Longview area in the winter and then in the summer moved out to Spirit Lake. We went and visited them 00:10:00quite a bit. It must have been in the summers of '63, '64. I climbed Mount St. Helens at that time. I had plots on Mount St. Helens. I was sampling the vegetation in the Toutle drainage and on the mountain, on the south side of the mountain as well. I also actually had other, I was doing a study of cone production and had a plot on the Timberline Road up [SS talks over JF].

SS: This is some of the cone stuff that related to what you started down at the Andrews, correct? The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, for the record.

JF: Yeah. Anyway, I worked around it a lot and in the process of doing my dissertation I became familiar with the recent history. There was a fella by the 00:11:00name of Don Mullineaux, and he worked with another fella, I think [Dwight "Rocky"] Crandall, and they worked on the recent history of Mount St. Helens. I began to learn for the first time seriously about lahars, because I was driving up, Kalama River lahar many times to do my sampling work and in the process became aware that the current mountain was of very recent origin. I couldn't believe it at that point they were talking about it being less than 1,000 years old.

SS: That conical symmetry was also reflective of a young, potentially dangerous volcano?

JF: It certainly was young. You could tell that simply because it hadn't been dissected a lot by glaciation. Anyway, in the '60s I spent a lot of time in and 00:12:00around it.

SS: Some of your plots, are the ones that were followed up after the eruption? Did they survive?

JF: For the most part, no.

SS: Like Roger del Moral, for instance, has got plots up fairly high. Are these close to some of the ones that you did?

JF: No. Mine were down in the forest.

SS: Oh, okay.

JF: They were fundamentally obliterated.

SS: Like so many things.

JF: Yeah, and also by the time of the eruption I had been a pioneer in doing vegetation work. But by the time of the eruption the Forest Service Area Ecology Program had developed and the folks working out there had put in a much greater amount of time and intensity, so their plots were the ones that people really 00:13:00attempted to reconstruct.

SS: Would you say that it's safe to say because of how the canon of things in human society-and that would include volcanoes and mountains and how people prioritize-that the bigger volcanoes would have been more studied?

JF: Well [SS interrupts].

SS: Ecologically and geologically.

JF: True, you might think that. In fact, Mount St. Helens had attracted a lot of attention by Mullineaux.

SS: And Crandall, right?

JF: And Crandall. So, they published a paper which I reference in my thesis on this Kalama River lahar and interestingly they wrote a paper in 1978, if I recollect correctly, that they submitted to Science on the eruptive history of Mount St. Helens and Science sent it to me for a peer review. Of course, I was 00:14:00delighted and fascinated by it and wrote back and told them, yeah this is really good stuff. You got to publish this.

SS: Was that the one that kind of-

JF: They predicted-

SS: It was kind of an alarmist prediction, correct?

JF: Yes. They said that they expected that it would erupt before the millennium.

SS: They were correct, weren't they?

JF: They were more correct than they could've imagined. It was 2 years later.

SS: Right. They were also 2 people that were very involved after the earthquakes.

JF: Mullineaux was actually the head of the USGS work and he was also a kid from Camas. We were both from Camas.

SS: Did you know him?

JF: No, I didn't know him.

SS: Oh, okay.

JF: But we were both Camas High School kids. Another-I'm trying to remember-anyways, there's another well-known ecologist, environmentalist who's 00:15:00from Camas, but anyway.

SS: Anyway, now what about the ecologist, botanist from Purdue, Lawrence? It was Don, right?

JF: Yes, Don Lawrence.

SS: How and when did you get to know him?

JF: I don't' remember how I happened to get to know him. I'm not sure that I even met Don, but I inherited some of his materials.

SS: So, that's how it ended up in the Forest Sciences Lab.

JF: That's how it ended up in the Forest Sciences Lab.

SS: Okay, I figured maybe you had a personal relationship or a professional one with him.

JF: No, I don't think I did. I might have met him. In any case, you know he had done all of this early work. He had been from Portland, had done all the earlier work on the gorge and on dating the Bridge of the Gods [landslide] and the early work at Mount St. Helens and he had published a bunch of it in Mazamas, the 00:16:00Portland mountain climbing club magazine. I obviously contacted him at some time because I inherited that material.

SS: All of his field notes and a lot of his early photography from the '30s, '40s and then he came back in the '50s and '60s, it's all down there. Did you guys use that when you were doing the studies at the very start after the eruption?

JF: No.

SS: No, really?

JF: No, we didn't.

SS: Interesting. Because it would have been interesting from a repeat photography perspective. Well, there wasn't much left to compare to.

JF: No, it would have been interesting, and I don't think the thought occurred to me at all because we were so pressed into participating in the activities so quickly.

SS: Now, let's go right up to the years before the big eruption. You were 00:17:00involved at the Andrews. You were at Oregon State. You were still Forest Service, kind of?

JF: I was Forest Service, but I was also on the faculty at Oregon State and at that point in time I was beginning to take on graduate students. I had just started that. I had been at the National Science Foundation from '73 to '75. In '75 I came back and I took over the Forest Service Project Leader position that was responsible for the Andrews. I also ended up becoming the leader of the academic group. In that period between '75 and '80 I was able to be principal investigator on NSF grants and that's an unusual situation and the Forest 00:18:00Service stopped letting people do that subsequently. They considered it to be a conflict of interest. In that period from '75 to '80 I became the leader of the ecosystem research group that consisted of both Forest Service and Oregon State scientists.

SS: How did your involvement and actually you I believe started the momentum toward getting involved with the IBP [International Biological Program] in '69, correct?

JF: Yeah, '68.

SS: How did that decade of shall we say evolution of the Andrews, but also of you intellectually and ecosystem science in general, how did that prepare you for what came here when you hit the ground running in May of 1980 or June of 00:19:001980 when you first started coming in here?

JF: Well, it totally prepared me because before I became involved with IBP, I was pretty much a traditional plant ecologist and had a relatively narrow vision of what I wanted to do. IBP did a couple of things, one of them was IBP was about ecosystems, structure and function of ecosystems. I didn't know squat about what they meant by structure and function of ecosystems, but I figured I could find out. Ted Dyrness and I had been really concerned about the future of the Andrews all through the mid '60s. We were really concerned about it because there was always pressure to give it back to the Willamette National Forest. The 00:20:00experiment station didn't need it, they thought. Basically, I saw IBP as an opportunity to do a couple of things. One was to really capture a big program for the Andrews and also an opportunity look at old-growth forests, both of which were great passions of mine. I made a decision to really aggressively pursue this and was encouraged to do so by one of the deputy directors of the station, Bob Harris. He said, "Go for it, go for it!" In alliance with Dick Waring, at Oregon State University we went after it. There was going to be this 00:21:00Western Coniferous Biome Program. We really pitched it. We got into a basically, an intense struggle with the University of Washington, who thought they had it all tied up. In the end, we almost blew it.

SS: Because of the tussle, right?

JF: Because of the tussle. Basically, the folks at NSF were coming out to tell us there wasn't going to be a Western Coniferous Biome because you people can't agree on how to proceed. So, Dale Cole and Dick Waring and I got together and decided how to proceed, and UW got the majority of the money, but we got a 00:22:00pretty good chunk, about a third of it. Then the next big fight was at Oregon State. Okay, we're going to get this sack of money. What are we going to study? There were a lot of people at Oregon State who wanted to study managed forests. That's the future. But there was a group of us, no, we want to study natural forest. We won. Basically, the program was ultimately directed to Watershed 10 on the H.J. Andrews [Experimental Forest], primarily on Watershed 10. Dick was the Oregon State leader and I was the Forest Service leader on it. Then things got going and we got into it, but NSF liked me. They decided I'd be a good Program Officer. They invited me to become Program Officer in '73 for two years. 00:23:00So, from '73 to '75 I went to Washington, D.C. What happened in that period from '69 to '73 was I really began to learn about an ecosystem and I was part of a team of people and we, Dick and I, made the smart decision to go for some post-docs to drive the program and I just grew tremendously in that period and then, when I went back to NSF, it really broadened my perspective in the array of people that I worked with and was influenced by. When I came back in '75, I was really ready to assume a leadership position.


SS: How would you characterize your ecosystem science chops at that early stage? That 6 years-how did you develop things that you would obviously become more sophisticated in your knowledge and understanding over the decades, but how would you characterize your chops of ecosystem science in 1975, for instance?

JF: My focus, I think this is what you're asking, my focus was on structure and to a lesser extent on composition. So, that was something that fit my background as a forester and as a tree person. That was my specialty, that was I was contributing to it in terms of my own scientific expertise. But it turned out I was very good at working with and integrating and visualizing a picture of a 00:25:00complete ecosystem. I really, I think I function largely as a visionary and I function largely as a synthesizer.

SS: So, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinarity was something that really fit with who you were becoming and what you saw as being important to do?

JF: Exactly. And I was good at it. A lot of that was simply listening to people and working with them and what their interests were, but having at the same time a vision of what does this puzzle look like that we're trying to put together.

SS: So, fast forward to 1980. What do you remember when the earthquake started, 00:26:00and the first little crater opened up and St. Helens happened? What were your thoughts? What were the discussions even among the Andrews group about what this was? Did you have any idea that you might go study it in a few months?

JF: No, I really didn't. I discounted it. I didn't really think it was going to be a serious eruption. I lacked vision of what could happen. There was some people that right away were very interested in it and in the early eruptions at the very top of the mountain and things like that. But I was busy elsewhere, and so I was interested, but it certainly wasn't something that I was thinking about 00:27:00oh my gosh here's going to be an opportunity.

SS: As the bulge bulged and you obviously were reading the news or you had colleagues, what was your thinking as the bulge started pushing out to scary proportions?

JF: Well, I was I think typical of me in the sense that, no the probability of something really significant is going to happen is not going to happen. I stayed aware of it, but, again, in no way did I really attempt to pursue it. It was interesting but not [SS interrupts].

SS: Where were you on May 18?

JF: I was at home and I didn't know it had erupted until I turned on the television on that Sunday morning.

SS: You were down in Corvallis, right?

JF: I was in Corvallis.


SS: Did you hear anything?

JF: No, I didn't. I later felt one of the subsequent eruptions. I actually felt it in my lungs.

SS: Really?

JF: I knew it had erupted again but that first one, no. I wasn't aware of it at all.

SS: We heard it down in Eugene.

JF: Yeah, I know.

SS: We heard something. We didn't know what it was. It was like a lateral sonic boom or something. I don't know how to describe it, but yeah, we heard it.

JF: I was not out of doors and I think that's why I didn't hear it. But nope. Then when I turned on the TV and saw what was going on, I thought oh shit! Whoa, this is really something.

SS: It was a big eruption.

JF: Yeah.

SS: And did you know, you know Mullineaux, obviously, and Crandall, did you know other people in the area?

JF: No, I didn't. I'm not sure, I probably had correspondence with Mullineaux, 00:29:00but I hadn't talked to him. I'd had correspondence with both he and Crandall, because Crandall had done a lot of work at Mount Rainier and I was really interested in the tephra layers and the work they were doing with that. I think I had correspondence with both of them in connection with their work at Rainier and their work on the Kalama River lahar.

SS: How did it come to be where you and Fred Swanson and other people from your Andrews team, but also you collaborated with other people, how did that first visit or the first trip into the blast zone to start whatever you were going to do, how did that process happen?

JF: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know what kind of initiative I took. I 00:30:00suspect I was being pulled along by, I expect I was being pulled along by Fred and by probably by Jim Sedell as well. I definitely saw it as an opportunity. The work on the Andrews was going very well at that point and it had become clear that we had developed the first description of an old-growth forest. We had done the initial characterization of an old-growth forest, and this was becoming a very relevant topic. As Fred had indicated, we were also very frustrated at the planning process as we're going on and for the most part 00:31:00nobody gave a damn about what we'd done. The Forest Service wasn't interested. Although the Siuslaw National Forest had been interested enough that they had primarily because one of my friends who was a planner over there had asked, "Tell us what old growth is," and that had led to our first publication. In any case, I think it was going along well and here was this incredible new opportunity. We were in the catbird seat because the three of us were natural leaders of the activity that was going to go on out here. NSF recognized that as well, the National Science Foundation recognized very quickly we've got to get money out there and we've got to provide logistical support for the work, but we 00:32:00can't be funding a whole bunch of individual grants to do this.

SS: It's got to be a group effort of some kind.

JF: it's got to be a group effort because of the constraints on access to the area and things and so very quickly we were recognized as the logical leaders for the work, Fred in geology and me in terrestrial ecology and Jim on the aquatic systems. I don't remember the circumstances of it, and I'd have to, I'd never, I don't even know if I have my calendars anymore, which was the only thing I really did that's any kind of a record of what I was doing.

SS: How long after the big eruption did you go in there?


JF: I think it was about 10 days.

SS: Who was on that original trip and just describe the helicopter, going in, impressions, the whole process.

JF: I don't remember who all was in the helicopter that day. I think Larry Bliss was there. I think Virginia Dale was there. I think probably Fred was there, although I'm not sure that he was. I don't think Jim Sedell was present. I think it was primarily a helicopter full of terrestrial ecologists. We'd overflown the blast zone several days previous to that. We really thought a moonscape. That's what it is. That was our idea going in, but we flew in that morning and we flew 00:34:00to this little lake. I'm going to look at the map. I keep forgetting what the name of the little lake was. Anyway, we're flying into Ryan Lake. That's the first place we're going to sit down. I remember stepping out of the helicopter and looking down and there was the firewood shoot coming up through the ash. There were just the whole landscape was full of these plants that were pushing up through the ash and there was lots of activity of ants and beetles and evidence of gophers, so I knew instantly I was wrong. But I had no idea of the 00:35:00richness of how wrong.

SS: How wrong you were?

JF: Yeah.

SS: This question here, and I'll just kind of throw this in-what were your central assumptions about ecological processes and recovery from major disturbance events, volcanic eruptions in particular, before you studied Mount St. Helens and the surrounding region?

JF: Well, my central assumption was that there was nothing left after a volcanic eruption, that basically it was a very sterile landscape, a moonscape, and that all life was going to have to come in from the edges of that disturbance. Of course, Mount St. Helens is a very unusual situation in that it's not primarily about lava flows. It's primarily about blasts and depositions, most of which 00:36:00were highly root-able kinds of materials. Anyway, that was my assumption when I went into it and what I knew the instant I stepped out of the helicopter was no, you were wrong. There's all kinds of life here. The rest of the summer was spent discovering all the ways in which life survived in that landscape.

SS: Was that true even for the central pyroclastic flow zone?

JF: No, the pyroclastic flow was the exception, but my attitude has always been of Mount St. Helens that primary succession, which is associated with the pyroclastic flow, is the tiniest percentage of that actual area affected by it. I've always thought it was way disproportionate focus on primary succession, 00:37:00because 98% of the area still had life and organic materials and that was by far the most interesting part to me.

SS: Just that one small zone, then, would hold true to your preconceptions, in other words, the center of the pyro-

JF: That's right.

SS: How humbling was that or was it more exciting?

JF: I'm never humbled by these things. I'm delighted by these things. It is my nature for some reason to love it when we get blindsided. I view these as epiphanies. I love them and I love it when I recognize something that I've been looking at for millennia, or for my lifetime, and haven't recognized before and 00:38:00I've had these all through my career, recognizing for example the importance of the big downed log on the forest floor was an epiphany for me. How could you be so stupid, Jerry? I find these surprises to be delights.

SS: Now, a lot of science, or people in various fields, find it threatening sometimes when your paradigms are challenged or totally smashed, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: Now, how would you characterize the succession processes? I know that you used the word metastasize versus your typical fringe kind of waves, would that be a good metaphor for it?

JF: Sure.

SS: How would you describe that traditional, based in the traditional ecological science from back east and the field ecology that you talked about before versus 00:39:00metastasizing and what you saw at St. Helens regarding disturbance, survival, succession, immigration, colonization, all those kinds of things?

JF: Well, the metastasizing is a secondary thing. The primary thing that first summer was simply the fact that life and organic materials persisted in such abundance with such a very intense and large disturbance. This was really, the interesting thing was we knew this, but we had not really appreciated this until we saw it at Mount St. Helens. Anyone goes and looks at a wildfire you know there's an incredible amount of living and dead organic materials left behind, 00:40:00and blowdown events. But somehow it just hadn't registered, and it took Mount St. Helens to say you know this is a really big one and it's really a severe one and just look at all the ways and the abundance. The lesson for all of us that dealt primarily with the blast zone, except for those folks working on the primary succession in pyroclastic flow, that clearly the thing that awed us was that survival of organisms and of organic materials. I can remember after the first year getting together a group of us at my house and I was in bed because I 00:41:00had a severe back problem and they all came to me and we all talked about what do we want to talk about. It was all about survivors. We wrote an article for National Geographic Illustrated or National Geographic, Science or something like that. It was not just me. It was Jim MacMahon and Jim Sedell, a bunch of us that had been working out there that summer that said this is the message, this is the real important lesson that we're taking away.

SS: How did you develop your study science program that first year. Obviously, there was the awestruck factor to begin with. Then you say okay we're here, 00:42:00we're realizing these things. How did you start to develop a science program? Where you wanted to do your sampling? How you wanted to do your science? How did that develop that first year and going forward for I think the first 5 years you had revisitations, like for 5 years, pretty steady, correct?

JF: Yeah. For me, it was very easy to determine what to do. First of all, you had to look at as many situations as possible. That was important because every time we went a new place, we found a new mechanism by which things were surviving. Terrestrially the goal I had, and I don't work generally from hypotheses. That's not the way that I work. It was simply, okay, we need to get some permanent plots in, and we need to distribute them over this various 00:43:00intensities and types of disturbances. I wasn't really going to spend much time myself doing it, but I was going to bring people to do it and facilitate other people doing that. The important thing about the design was to get plots established and the diversity of conditions and in the range of disturbance intensity within the blast zone.

SS: Basically, working in from the scorch area to various gradations of the blast zone, correct?

JF: Exactly.

SS: Then even in relation to watersheds, lakes, and different geographic features, correct?

JF: Jim Sedell was worrying about how to sample the aquatic systems. Obviously, there were a variety of them. Certainly, Spirit Lake was one of the areas of 00:44:00greatest intense interest, but other lakes, and once we discovered the fish, of course, once the helicopter pilot discovered the fish [laughs].

SS: You're talking about in Spirit Lake?

JF: No, in Meta Lake.

SS: Oh, in Meta Lake. Right, because Spirit Lake, whatever the planting or whatever that was like 12 years [JF interrupts].

JF: It was a sewage pond. Jim Sedell called it a mill pond.

SS: This was Spirit Lake?

JF: Yeah. The sort of thing, the kind of pond you'd have out back of a sawmill that you dumped your logs into. He was very interested in seeing a sampling get going in the various stream systems and the various lakes and ponds. A lot of focus on Spirit Lake. It was a sick environment. It was kind of a dangerous 00:45:00environment. We didn't know that initially and he didn't pay any attention to it. Neither did I, as far as that goes, but I wasn't exposing myself the way he was. He would get out of a helicopter, plunge into the water, flight suit and all.

SS: I heard Jim was an interesting character like that.

JF: He was incredible. Anyway, I had two jobs, three jobs really. One was to inform myself of the diversity of conditions. I flew a lot and I stopped in a lot of places so I could see things and see what was happening. That was how I appreciated the diversity of circumstances under which things were surviving. Second job was to organize the establishment of permanent sample plot system for 00:46:00the terrestrial. The third thing was simply to facilitate the logistics. I was the that organized the first three Pulses.

SS: Those were annual back in the beginning, right?

JF: Those first there were three in a row and they were all done out of CISPUS Center. The third one was actually the biggest one and that one I actually ended up having Fred take over the second week of that one because I had to go to the far east with a chief. You're helping me incidentally remember some dates.

SS: That's what's good about doing these, they really invigorate the whole neuron memory process.

JF: Yeah. There were a whole bunch of things going on in my life at that time as well.


SS: What was the biggest challenge about coming into the blast zone that first year, or even the second year, logistics, transportation, what have you?

JF: Getting in and out.

SS: Yeah.

JF: It was getting in and out. We spent a lot of time, I remember waiting for, particularly early in the summer, waiting for conditions to be suitable so the helicopters could fly. I remember there was a lot of low clouds. I could remember sitting out on the Cispus [sports fields] with the helicopters waiting for the conditions to, clouds to lift enough, that we could go fly.

SS: What approval dynamics was there to come in at that time? It was Forest Service land. How did you get permits to go study?

JF: That was one of the reasons that we were handling the logistics, because we 00:48:00were the ones that were doing the coordination. All the coordination was being done with actually the fire control officer of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest who had been put into that role. There were rules and I think we were reporting where we were going and the first year for example the helicopter had to stay with you, couldn't drop you off. If you were in front of the crater, basically this helicopter not only had to stay with you, but it had to continue to run.

SS: So, you had a pretty short time on the ground, because of fuel issues, right?

JF: Well, when you've got a $400/hour machine, well, you want to move the table?


SS: Yeah, just keep going.

JF: We were coordinating with basically the [National Forest] supervisor's office and they'd tell us what the rules were. Another aspect of it was everybody that went in had to have a radio with them so they could be communicated with and pulled out if [SS interrupts].

SS: The mountain got angry?

JF: If they were concerned there was going to be another eruption and we were the ones who were essentially handling the machines and handling the communications and keeping everybody informed of who was where.

SS: Did you have any close calls with eruption? There were two or three fairly major ones after the big blowup. Was there ever any time when you guys were a little bit spooked or?

JF: Nope. Never really was. Nope. Never any close calls. I don't recollect we 00:50:00ever had any injuries, any people that got lost or anything in that time. If we did, and the other thing we had helicopters. We also had four-wheel drive vehicles. We did things like provided Joe Antos and Don Zobel with vacuum cleaners, which didn't last very long.

SS: Because the silica just chewed those motors up.

JF: Just chewed those up. But you know it was exciting and stimulating. I remember coming back to Vancouver, mostly flying out of the Vancouver, the little airport there by the monument and reporter asking me, you know, how is it 00:51:00out there? You're supposed to get all serious and you know all the death and destruction, but I told her it's like being a kid in a candy store. It's just incredible out there. I didn't give her a sad story at all. I was trying to keep from saying, wow, this is great.

SS: It was kind of the turning point between what is the previous concepts of beauty at Spirit Lake and St. Helens just like Charles Goodrich was talking about in that poem at the end of his thing, versus you guys, you scientists, whether it be geologists or ecosystem science, or whatever, finding beauty in a completely different way. The context was shifted.

JF: Well, and you know I'm not sure beauty was the right word for it, but it was 00:52:00a marvelous world. It was an exciting world. It was bleak.

SS: It was a minimalist beauty.

JF: Yeah, it was bleak. The one thing about working at Mount St. Helens and this is still true to a degree is most of the time it's uncomfortable. You're either hot or cold or the wind's blowing. You're exposed out there. You're not protected. Regular work out there was challenging. You got wet and cold and tired and then you were too damn hot, dry, and dusty.

SS: Yeah, that's what other people, Fred for instance, have told me that it was 00:53:00really hard work, especially early when just everything was difficult. Challenging, wonderful, interesting, but hard.

JF: Yeah, it's very stimulating.

SS: Did they ever have any problem with the volcanic ash ever getting sucked into the helicopter engines or maintenance in that issue.

JF: No, we didn't.

SS: No?

JF: No, we didn't. Whatever problems there were with that we never saw them, and we never had a helicopter with a problem at all.

SS: Now what kind of technical stuff did you put out in the field in your monitoring, your plotting, the matrix of what you put out there? Was it fairly simple technology and then did it become more sophisticated over time?

JF: it was very simple technology. We didn't have a lot of sophisticated sensors 00:54:00and we didn't really have time and particularly in the terrestrial arena you know the plant ecologists, mammologists, are not used to working with highly sophisticated at that point in time. There hadn't been the breakthroughs in technology. There hadn't been the miniaturization go on.

SS: Pre-computer era of the kind that figure of today, the digitization was two decades off still.

JF: Of course, there was no GPS. Basically, it was about traps, live traps.

SS: Old style plots.

JF: Exactly. It wasn't sophisticated.

SS: How were you able to keep track of these things since you didn't know how the geomorphology was going to shift and the erosional dynamics [JF interrupts].

JF: Oh, you just put them in.

SS: It was gray. How did you keep track of that stuff?

JF: Well, you marked it. We used a lot of steel reinforcing rod. We used a lot 00:55:00of plastic pipe in order to mark these things. It wasn't necessarily done in a way that was going to be very durable, which is one of the reasons we've always had a continuing problem with maintaining plot locations. The other thing is that in the debris flow [avalanche] particularly there was a lot of erosion going on and so you put in plots and they'd disappear.

SS: That was my point-yeah, I mean it was just the ephemeral nature of what you were dealing with.

JF: Well, it's like Virginia said. She started with what 103 plots and then she still had 62 or 123. Anyway, she's lost about 40% of her plots over the history of the study, simply because they went down the river. For a while we tried to 00:56:00replace them and then just gave that up.

SS: Just one second. The salvage logging dynamic, you talked about it yesterday at one of the points. I mean, of course they wanted to salvage everything right away.

JF: They really did.

SS: If you could reiterate and go over that, especially with your interest in old-growth forest and forestry and how you saw that happening and how far did it go and why did it not go further?

JF: First of all, the private landowners got on it real quick. They didn't have to do environmental analyses or any of that stuff. They just, and Weyerhaeuser had done this once before following the October 1962 windstorm. They had had an immense amount of wood on the ground and they totally refocused their entire 00:57:00organization on salvaging that.

SS: You're talking about what we often call the Columbus Day storm of 1962.

JF: That was the Columbus Day storm which was the largest single disturbance event in recorded history.

SS: In the northwest.

JF: In the northwest. I remind Fred about that.

SS: I still remember Ms. Fillbrook, our babysitter, running down the street after our garbage can. I was 4. I just remember her running down. She said, "Stay away from the windows." Because it was 120-mile winds in Eugene.

JF: I was in Packwood, Washington, right up here. I was on a class fieldtrip from Washington State University. I was in my doctoral program.

SS: Anyway, go back, yeah.

JF: Basically, you know the private landowners got on it very quickly and in a matter of weeks they were beginning that activity. Forest Service obviously had 00:58:00to go through a lot of analysis and so you know the Forest Service Program really began to get into swing at the time that the others were finishing.

SS: The Weyerhaeuser lands were pretty much salvage logged within, how many months?

JF: They were all done within 3 years. By the third year they were in the tail end of it and the Forest Service was really just starting. The Forest Service Program, they're very systematic about this. Basically, we're going to [SS interrupts].

SS: We're going to look at a map here, by the way, for the record. I think you're going to open up and show this.

JF: Basically, what they did was they started in down here on the Clearwater. 00:59:00Let's see if I can be sure I'm reading this correctly.

SS: Open it up a little more maybe?

JF: Yeah, let's do.

SS: We're looking at an illustrated trails map of Mount St. Helens region.

JF: Here's the Clearwater. They basically started down in this area and worked this way and then they also started up here at the north end up here by Strawberry Mountain and this other lake, Ryan Lake.

SS: The one where you landed at.

JF: Yeah right here.

SS: That's the one that you landed at the first time, right?

JF: Right.

SS: That was still in the blast zone, right?

JF: That's in the blast zone.

SS: That was not a scorch zone. That would be further out, right?

JF: Yeah, the scorch zone was right here at that point. Basically, they started in up this way and in this way working towards the center. You know, I would 01:00:00really have to go back and review the history. We were in constant conflict with the Forest because they were headed for salvage and we were trying to leave some areas un-salvaged and we were arguing that some areas, even if you're going to manage them you shouldn't salvage them.

SS: Was that from a perspective of nutrients and overall structure?

JF: Structure, yeah. It was the beginning of the concept leave some structure behind.

SS: Right, don't just strip it bare and put in a monoculture, right?

JF: Exactly. But we weren't having much luck at all and similarly we were trying to argue that you need to leave some of this undone, but there was a political 01:01:00process going on that I wasn't a part of, and I don't think scientists for the most part were a part of that. Ultimately, it resulted in the establishment of the national monument. That stopped the activity. All I can tell you for sure is I know we were very frustrated and angry at the rapidity with which this was being done without really much regard for potential scientific value that was being lost.

SS: How did this intense, rapid salvage logging, let's go back to the Weyerhaeuser lands, how did that affect the watershed dynamics, the erosion, everything going downstream?

JF: It didn't affect-basically there was so much dynamics that there were no 01:02:00constraints at all on Weyerhaeuser.

SS: But what I'm saying is how did what they do affect the overall watershed hydrology?

JF: No one has any idea.

SS: But they just did it, right?

JF: They just did it.

SS: Whatever happened later that's the way it was.

JF: That's right. They took advantage of the situation to cut some green timber that they wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

SS: They could just take it all away.

JF: They could take it all away.

SS: Because these were trees, 100', 150'-200' high?

JF: That's right.

SS: They were massive old-growth timber.

JF: They had cut most of their old-growth timber already.

SS: On their private land?

JF: They were about done with it. They were dealing primarily with younger timber. Not completely, but largely. A lot of it, they ended up with a lot of scorch down in this area that basically they had no value. They had to just pile 01:03:00it up, burn it, plant it back.

SS: How much of the Forest Service land was salvage timber, approximately if you were going to recall?

JF: I really don't know. I would guess maybe of the area that was affected; I would guess that they managed to get about 40% of it.

SS: The volcanic monument, when was that idea hatched? How do you remember that evolving?

JF: That's what I'm telling you is I don't-I wasn't part of that dynamic. I would have to go to various sources myself. I was supportive of the idea, but I 01:04:00was not a part of any of the politics that was going on.

SS: I believe Virginia Dale was somewhat involved with that.

JF: Was she? Well, that's great. I know some of the scientists were, but I wasn't. Part of it was because I was busy, part of it because I was a Forest Service employee and I had not yet really established any significant contacts with politicians, with the congress.

SS: Not yet.

JF: I hadn't.

SS: That only would happen later when you got involved in the forest wars and the Northwest Forest Plan and all the follow up to that, right?

JF: That's right.

SS: Okay, correct.

JF: I think in many ways Fred's comment the other day that our experience with the media here really did prepare us for what was to come in terms of the Forest Wars.


SS: I'm going to return to that in a minute, because I wanted to talk to you about how what you learned here then reflected back at the Andrews, but the other things that came later. In terms of the volcanic monument and how it is zoned and all that, what would be your take on it now, regardless of what you were involved with or not back in the day in the early '80s when it was beginning.

JF: I was delighted.

SS: Were you surprised that it happened, and it was as big as it was?

JF: Yes, I was.

SS: 110,000 acres that's a pretty good size.

JF: Pretty doggone good size and in the end a lot of good examples of blown down forest persisted. They didn't get to them in time. I was very, very happy with the fact that the monument was established, and I was actually happy that it was 01:06:00meant to be administered by the Forest Service.

SS: You mean versus the Park Service?

JF: Versus the Park Service.

SS: Why would be your differentiation in making that assessment?

JF: The Forest Service was going to be more predictably accommodating to research than the Park Service would be.

SS: At least at that time.

JF: And still.

SS: Still, you think so? Okay.

JF: The Park Service is extraordinarily unpredictable in terms of its attitude towards science, because each of the parks is essentially managed as a fiefdom by the superintendent. If you have a superintendent that's sympathetic, you can really have a good time doing science in the parks, and I did a lot. But if you have a superintendent who's very negative, you know he can be extremely 01:07:00obstructive to science. I was very happy with the Forest Service administering the monument.

SS: Have you continued to be happy with how that's evolved in terms of the infrastructure and the management and even going as far as how it is to work with this in the science context over time?

JF: Yes, I have been. It was not, it was a little bit tense initially as the Forest Service, the supervisor, for example, began to think about, oh my gosh what am I going to do with this place? But you know I was on the Science Advisory Committee for it and, no, I've been quite happy. The people I've been most unhappy with have been the Washington Fish and Game people. They're very 01:08:00aggressive about wanting to put fish everywhere. Yeah, absolutely. They have had no respect for science values at all.

SS: Do you suspect that they were behind or encouraged the surprise trout that showed up in Spirit Lake or you think that was a private effort?

JF: I think it was probably a private effort, but you know then there was the run that was taken at creating a sport fishery at Spirit Lake. That's a relatively recent initiative. Oh, we got great big fish we ought to have a [SS interrupts].

SS: Contest, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: Yesterday I made a joke to the guy who was telling us about the difficulty 01:09:00of monitoring the floating log mat and I was saying along those lines, I said, you got to start a reality television show called Spirit Lake Log Rolling. You could get it funded.

JF: There you go, yeah.

SS: But in terms of the, I know alternative D was the one they chose, which was kind of a middle ground management between all development and no development. Are you pleased with how the roads and interpretive stuff and everything has been designed, let's say even going toward the public appreciation and interpretation of this landscape?

JF: Basically yes. The one thing they've continued to fight off is access across the Pumice Plain and I think that's the Forest Service has been very good about that. What the Forest Service failed to do, wasn't a problem for me at all, but that has been the lack of investment in visitor facilities here. They almost 01:10:00lost the property to the Park Services as a result of that.

SS: How long did it take them to build the Johnston Observatory, for instance?

JF: I don't remember but quite a long time.

SS: Basically, the fact they weren't building enough infrastructure for people to even be interested in going to this place was ultimately a problem, then?

JF: It was a problem and it was a real problem for their relationship with the local communities and counties.

SS: Because they wanted to see economic development out of the disaster, right?

JF: Absolutely. And Skamania County, particularly, because they're so dominated by federal lands and they're so poor.

SS: Reflecting back on how this went back to what you were doing at the Andrews and more importantly the LTER thing, which, coincidentally, was when you were in that transition from IBP and then I think they called it EER [Experimental 01:11:00Ecological Reserve] for a while. Wasn't that the name before it was LTER?

JF: Yeah.

SS: And you transferred into LTER how did this in your opinion affect what you brought to the table and what the Andrews became because so many of you people were involved with this, key people, in taking these lessons back into this new, even more exciting, long-term research program?

JF: I'm not sure that our St. Helens experience had much direct impact right away on what we were doing on the Andrews. The eruption was in 1980 and we had just gotten our first grant, LTER grant. We had basically in the period immediately preceding that put together the grant proposal for the LTER and it defined what that was going to be. What LTER did was actually facilitate some of 01:12:00what we did here because it provided support for people like Mark Harmon, for example, who then could come up here and spend some time as well.

SS: In terms of Mark Harmon, and this is not, it's related, but he started some of his log decomp [decomposition] carbon cycling work, at least the early stuff, in the Olympic Peninsula, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: Then he transferred it over to here? Or to Andrews or back to here or was kind of a triangle?

JF: Well, he did a little bit of work here. He didn't do a lot of work, but he did some initial work on decay processes here. Actually, some of it was done in Clearwater, down in here. I guess what I'm really saying is that LTER provided 01:13:00some intellectual and human resources that we could tap here.

SS: Financial, too, right?

JF: Yeah. Mark's work initially was done at Cascade Head [Experimental Forest] on the Oregon Coast and then on the Olympic peninsula.

SS: So, before that. Then didn't Glenn Hawk do some of the original reference stand work and charting it up on the Olympic, though?

JF: No. He did not do that. As a matter of fact [SS interrupts].

SS: No? Oh, okay, because I saw his name on some of the maps on the Hoh River Valley. That's why I'm asking you that.

JF: He worked there. The Hoh represented the first real Pulse. In the early '70s we'd had what I called a couple of proto-Pulses where we went up into the Mount Adams country for a week and then when I came back from NSF in '75 we did a 01:14:00small Pulse in '77. It was just a weeklong and it was up in the Waldo Lake area. '78 was the first serious Pulse where we really took everybody someplace else for an extended period of time. That was a 2-week Pulse.

SS: How did the concept of a Pulse and even the naming of how you came to call it a Pulse, how did that come to be?

JF: That was totally my creation, I think. I was faced with a problem when I came back from NSF that I had a very large contingent of people who were working for or with me. They were academics. They were students. They were Forest 01:15:00Service employees in my research project. They all knew me, but a lot of them didn't know each other. So, I said well what I need to do is take these people off together for a period of time so that they can get to know each other and coincidentally what we can do is probably do something that will have some lasting value and we could actually test some of our ideas from the Andrews in a different place that nobody had been. We happened to choose; I chose the south fork of the Hoh {River] as a good place to go. The Park Superintendent at that time, that was one that was very sympathetic, and gave us an exception for the size of our group in a wilderness and actually flew the camp in. The idea then 01:16:00was that we would all work in this new environment and we had the aquatic people and the geomorphic people, and we had the terrestrial people. Every night we would sit together around the fire and talk to each other about what we did that day. There was a total of about 45 people that participated in that Pulse and there was a core of us that maybe 20 were there for the full 2 weeks. Fred was part of that. Sedell was part of that. He flew in in a helicopter, typically Sedell.

SS: Big, right?


JF: Yeah, and it was very effective, even though the weather was horrible.

SS: Because in the western part of the Olympics it rains all the time.

JF: It rained. It rained about 8" that first week we were there.

SS: You come to realize why Lewis and Clark had such a miserable winter at Ft. Clatsop.

JF: Oh yeah, we really did. But it really worked well. The people on these have never become antagonistic towards each other. Anyway, that was the idea. I called it a pulse because I was thinking primarily of a pulse of effort. We'll all go here, and we'll put all this energy into a very short effort to understand something about this system.

SS: Then share at night as we're being together camping out, right?


JF: Exactly. The next one incidentally happened to be Sequoia National Park and we went down there twice.

SS: Suwanee and Crescent Creek, right?

JF: Yeah, right on.

SS: I've read your records.

JF: Interesting thing, and I've never gotten Fred to explain why, Fred refused to go on that trip. The aquatic people did.

SS: This was in what year?

JF: This would have been, it might have been in '81. I have to look it up. But sometime in the early '80s. Good point. I don't know what.

SS: Keep going.

JF: Anyway, that was where the Pulse came from and when we had the St. Helens eruption, we just transferred that concept right up here. Since we were 01:19:00providing all the logistics for everybody, I could say for 2 weeks we're going to have this concentrated effort at St. Helens and we're going to have all this facility and we'll pay the food and we'll have the trucks and we'll have the helicopters, but you're going to have to come every evening and sit down and tell other people what you've done that day. And damned if they didn't do it.

SS: Well, it's really counterintuitive to shall we say the individual model of science and even my discipline in history. We still tend to be lone wolfs. Like Fred said, boy, you guys are really lone wolves aren't you. I said, yeah but this thing is teaching me to do different things, just being around the Andrews and you folks who have been doing this just deep interdisciplinary and collaborative thing for a long time, because you have to collaborate to understand an ecosystem.

JF: You do.

SS: No one person or discipline can understand it.


JF: Yeah.

SS: It's too big.

JF: Yeah.

SS: It's just too big.

JF: The Park Service people decided to reinterpret the term pulse as being taking the pulse of an ecosystem.

SS: Mm, yeah, but that seems, that's too like an instantaneous point in time which kind of goes against the idea of the totally dynamic nature of an ecosystem. Would that be a fair way of saying why it wouldn't work?

JF: For me it was totally a team building exercise.

SS: I agree.

JF: When I first conceived it, so.

SS: I completely agree. I think it's a marvelous idea. It really is. Anyway, but the Pulse has continued even down into northern California for quite some time, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: Or northern California and the Sequoia area, right?

JF: Well, yeah that was the only ones we ever did in California were done in 01:21:00Sequoia National Park.

SS: Okay.

JF: Two of them. One of them-they were in succeeding years. That's the only time we ever went to California with them.

SS: Okay. Looking back at 35 years of post-1980 ecological research at Mount St. Helens how would you rate or compare research and findings in terms of importance to understanding ecosystem processes and their respective impacts on ecosystem science?

JF: Well, to just take the broadest look at it I would say that I don't know of any other event or place that this has had as much impact on our concepts in 01:22:00disturbance ecology. I think you know, and obviously embedded in that is disturbance ecology at the ecosystem level.

SS: How much was disturbance ecology prioritized within ecology before St. Helens and how did that change afterwards?

JF: It wasn't prioritized.

SS: So, this made a big impact on shall we say the importance or the prioritization of that within the broader field of ecology?

JF: Right, although I would say there were a number of things that happened simultaneously that just basically the field the disturbance ecology erupted. I think you know certainly the Mount St. Helens eruption was probably the most 01:23:00profound, but there had been the Yellowstone fires. There subsequently have been the Yellowstone fires. There were the hurricanes, particularly the hurricanes down in Puerto Rico that became part of the LTER program down there.

SS: So, studying the results within the Luquillo [Experimental Forest and LTER site] context, right?

JF: Exactly. There was the Harvard Forest and its experimental hurricanes, where it pulled down forests and looked at it. So, St. Helens introduced essentially a decade or more of important research on disturbances, but probably no place 01:24:00contributed more than Mount St. Helens to our thinking about disturbances, the whole concept of legacies, than this placed has.

SS: Before St. Helens, how did people look at biological legacies, which I know is one of the things that you really point to as one of the great learning lessons about this place.

JF: I don't think they looked at them at all.

SS: Why would you say that was?

JF: Well, it's because of what the focus had been. People had been thinking about, in the east, been thinking about old fields [abandoned farm fields], and out here they'd been thinking about clear-cuts. Those were where they'd studied succession.

SS: The agronomic model, basically.

JF: Yeah, and we knew that there were these incredible legacies of fire and 01:25:00storm, but no one said this is important people, hey wait a minute, until we had experienced this incredible event here, series of events and had said you know, "Hey, the most important thing about a disturbance may be what it leaves behind." It just really had a very profound impact on everybody's thinking about this. It had huge consequences of course for policy, how we manage the forests.

SS: Especially regarding fire, because fire, of course, is a much more common major disturbance than a volcanic eruption. Lassen was 100 years ago this year and what 64 more years to St. Helens.


JF: Yeah, but you see as a consequence first of all of the Andrews work saying you know dead trees are important. That was revolutionary. Then saying you know, "Hey, disturbances have legacies and those legacies include a lot of dead trees." Whoa, that had huge consequences for what it meant to salvage.

SS: In other words, salvaging everything is just not a good idea.

JF: I mean, basically and I say this all the time now, you can't justify salvaging on the basis of contributing to ecological recovery. You can't do it. Wow. That was a huge change. That battle really got fought out most prominently 01:27:00in the battle over salvage of the Biscuit Fire.

SS: In southwestern Oregon.

JF: In southwestern Oregon. Anyway, this different perspective on disturbances and the fact they leave behind a lot of elements, living and dead, really altered our thinking about recovery processes, what happens afterwards.

SS: How would you say this has been reflected or fought in the Forest Service, even up to today. Things have changed a lot since 1980. It was the environmental age was already well in process, but there was a lag effect in terms of the administration and the management in the Forest Service, like there often is in agencies. But how would you see a generation and a half later how it has 01:28:00impacted the Forest Service and the general perspective. You're going to find outliers everywhere, but?

JF: Well, I think basically it's become clear that you really, as a federal agency that has multiple objectives, can't justify clearcutting. You can't justify disturbances where you leave no structures behind. If you're going to present yourself as using natural models for the management of forests, you're now faced with the fact that, oh, if I disrupt the forest, I should have to leave some legacies behind.

SS: of course, that would be both from mechanical as well as chemical processes, correct?


JF: Oh, it would be for a whole bunch of different things, absolutely. Basically, what I think has happened now is that any organization that has to incorporate ecological content into what it's doing has to at least tip its hat at the model of legacies, structural legacies left behind.

SS: Just in this area, which is of course just down the road so to speak from your home turf, how would you say that it's reflected by the locals, the local communities 30 years later. After the go-go days of logging and we're kind of winding down for a lot of reasons: economics, different things. How would you find that's been reflected with local communities in 2015?

JF: Well, the problem is it got tied up in other things. What we see today is 01:30:00there is no harvesting going on other than thinning on public forest lands.

SS: In other words, the enviros will sue for just about anything?

JF: That's exactly right. What I was going to say about this, I'll say it now, so I don't forget, the interesting thing was that the same team that was engaged at the Andrews and then engaged here then went into the process of developing the Northwest Forest Plan in 1993.

SS: There was a direct relationship from here and everything else that was contextualizing that to what happened?

JF: Right. One of the outcomes in the Northwest Forest Plan was you can't clear-cut anymore. You have to leave at least 15% of the forest behind. We 01:31:00inserted that lesson directly into the plan. It's one of several lessons we inserted into the plan.

SS: Now how would you say that the scientific work since those early years has been assisted by the technological revolution that's happened let's say the last 15, 20 years, where you're number crunching ability, your technological abilities have greatly increased. Has that changed much because of that? Are you still relying on old school plots?

JF: No, it's changed. It's huge. But unfortunately, we haven't had a large investment of money that allows us to take full advantage of those technologies. They're making a difference. What are we doing? We're GPSing all of our plot locations. Wow. You don't have to worry anymore about I'll never be able to find my way back to that plot again.


SS: I bet you couldn't find quite a few plots, right?

JF: Oh, geez. Early in my career I spent so much time looking for plots that are missing that it's just incredible.

SS: Did you usually put stakes with bright pink flags and things like that?

JF: Oh, all kinds of things, yeah. But we have not been able to take advantage the way we should because there's been no sack of money.

SS: Have people in other volcanic environments, how have they applied some of these lessons learned at St. Helens? Obviously in countries with different economic contexts, places like Pinatubo in Philippines, different eruptions in the Kumamoto Peninsula in Russia, Alaska, how have some of those lessons been applied in terms of studying ecosystem processes, or has that focused maybe not 01:33:00happened in those places? They still look at the geology pretty much and public safety?

JF: I couldn't answer that.

SS: Okay.

JF: That's Fred's. Fred has a much better sense of that than I do.

SS: Now, in your view what ecological research remains undone at Mount St. Helens in the environs?

JF: Well, I think we're talking about some of that this morning, but certainly what remains to be done is to continue to look at the ecosystem development processes that are going on in the area and the most important thing that needs to be done, I think, has to do with looking at the entire area affected by the 01:34:00blast and looking at essentially how that change is occurring over the entire area. We were talking about the metastasizing, the way in which the recovery here is going on as a result of nodulation and I think that's extremely important to understand that and to communicate that because the world is going to be faced with a lot of large disturbances and they need all the information they can get about how they work.

SS: Would you maybe be implying toward climate change and much more extreme and 01:35:00frequent major fires?

JF: Absolutely, that's part of it. Absolutely. The major way in which we are going to experience climate change is in fact going to be, in my opinion, a consequence of older disturbance regimes. Here we have a big disturbance regime that's been allowed to do a lot of its recovery on its own. How has that happened? I think the notion that it comes largely through a nodulation process and [SS interrupts].

SS: Describe nodulation process.

JF: Well, that there are hot spots of survival and recovery and interestingly there are many different. We were talking about that this morning. They are all of very different natures. Some of them are the result of fundamental 01:36:00geophysical processes. Early recovery around water bodies, streams, ponds, wetlands. These are hot spots of recovery. Another example of some of one of these hot spots are snowbanks, snow patches. That one you know is totally a product of chance. Another example would be the Sitka alder patches that survive. Again, that's just simply an example of vegetational resilience. I really think you know what we're observing here is really important because I 01:37:00asked people this morning has this ever been talked about in the literature? No. There's no place in the literature about a theory of nodulation or metastasizing landscapes.

SS: I think we still think very linearly.

JF: Yeah.

SS: Or, let's say even what we maybe consider a form of chaos theory or randomness is still within a matrix of relative simplicity.

JF: Yeah.

SS: Does that make sense?

JF: Yeah.

SS: So, our models maybe reflect that, and even our activities. I would suppose even just the complicated nature of trying to do that kind of science. It's hard.

JF: I think that's one of the most important things. I think you know the lesson of biological legacies is playing itself out. I think the lesson of the 01:38:00importance of the early successional system is playing itself out. Those are both profound lessons that where clearly, they're obvious in retrospect that somehow were not obvious in prospect.

SS: That's usually true of most paradigm shifts.

JF: Well, it is! Dammit, and you look at it [SS interrupts].

SS: It's a paradigm and then we don't see it, right?

JF: No.

SS: The other side of the paradigm.

JF: I can remember in the Northwest Forest Plan Fred was arguing what about you know generating new stand ages. How are we going to do that if we don't do some harvesting and stuff? I told him I'm not worried about that. Nature will do that 01:39:00with natural disturbances. Well, Fred was wrong in the sense that he was talking about new age classes of forests and not talking about the pre-forest. But he was right that, no, there's a process here that has consequences that we've got to continue to provide for if we don't let nature provide it. I think those lessons are out there now and it's just a question of letting them play out. In many ways it's kind of like old growth. In the early '80s, I said to myself, you know, alright Jerry, the science is out there now. The word is out. You can't do anything more. What's the important thing for you to do next? Anyway.


SS: You talked of course the surprising factor number one was when you got out of the helicopter and saw the fireweed. So, those surprises, the early days. But over the course of 30, 35 years of research what has surprised you the most over the longer haul? Or what are some of the surprises?

JF: Well, I think the other one after the survivors and the legacies was 10 years ago when I was walking around here, thinking when's this going to recover. I think the second big epiphany for me was the recognition that this is incredible! The biodiversity that's present in this non-tree dominated landscape 01:41:00is fantastic. First of all, why would you want to terminate it prematurely? Secondly, my God, you know we're not thinking about that in the management of any of our forest lands. We aren't providing for this period of freedom from tree dominance that's so important not to weeds, but to a lot of really important habitat specialists.

SS: You would say, and I think you said it yesterday, recover might be the wrong word to apply to many of these situations?

JF: Exactly.

SS: Recovering from what?

JF: Yeah.

SS: And recovering to what?

JF: To what.

SS: To what.

JF: That's why I don't like to use recovery anymore because that implies, I want 01:42:00it back in old-growth forests.

SS: Well, that's a very anthropocentric context, right?

JF: It's a very professional context too, because foresters automatically think wow, if the forest had been destroyed the most important thing that you can do is get the forest back.

SS: Right. That's been time immemorial, right?

JF: That's right.

SS: I mean in the Gifford Pinchot playbook is still alive and well, although it's been modified.

JF: I like to think Gifford Pinchot would actually be quite delighted with some of the developments.

SS: Well, that's the one thing people tend to do, is they romanticize, they idealize, and they freeze people and ideas in places and times. They struggle to recontextualize them.

JF: Yeah, they do.

SS: That would be my take, okay. We talked a lot about concepts in science and studies. Tell me some stories that have to do with St. Helens in any context of 01:43:00your experience, since you've been coming here since 1980 that would be interesting as stories.

JF: Well, I think you know I've written one already as an introduction to one of the chapters in the next book I'm writing, and it's really about that early imagining about what it was going to be like when we got in here and flying in and sitting down and discovering it wasn't like that at all. That's a good story to tell. I told it the other day again. It's got some humor in it as well, because it's easy to suggest that we were not very bright. We were not very 01:44:00insightful. Anyway, that's certainly one of the stories that is a good one to tell. Another story to tell that I can't really tell very well has to do with the work with the aquatic systems and the toxicity of those systems. Some of the personal stories about, for example, the things that Jim Sedell went through, suffered as a consequence of his early and highly exuberant participation in the process.


SS: Any particularly humorous or profound memories of all the different Pulses and the people and just stories that you would say oh, do you remember the time that this happened. Sedell that was one story, but any others?

JF: I have to think about it. I imagine Fred is a better source than I am because he's been thinking about this more than I have. For me, well, one of the interesting stories you know was 10 years ago was Nalini Nadkarni's reaction when she came here. She's a person that loves tress so much, but she is a scientist and when she came here, and she saw - I think what tipped her was 01:46:00seeing all the logs in the lake, she became physically ill as a consequence of it, and she basically was unable to participate in that session because she was so traumatized. That is the way that some people react to this kind of event.

SS: Well, a lot of people that lived in this area, like Christine Colasurdo, is she going to be here, do you know?

JF: No, I don't know.

SS: Yeah, but she wrote the book Return to Spirit Lake, and obviously from the sense of very personal loss and those people, most of them don't ever get over this, do they?

JF: No, they don't.

SS: I can see why, though.

JF: Yeah.

SS: I mean, how would you describe this perspective of the local resident or the 01:47:00person that lived here or experienced this place versus the scientist, kind of like what Charles [Goodrich] was talking about yesterday when he read that poem from that Eugene poet. [John Daniel] How would you put it into your words about the context and the different perspective of a scientist studying something fascinated with it, because it's a unique study subject with all kinds of questions and answers versus somebody who has this place and it's tied to their experience and their family and their region and how would you look at that differently or describe it?

JF: Well, I think you know I think that maybe a good example of a scientist who couldn't deal with the change, but it is a question [SS interrupts].

SS: That is interesting, though, that she was a scientist.

JF: Yeah. It is in a sense a question of how you respond to change and if in 01:48:00fact you are very much in love with a particular location, particular tree, a particular waterfall it could be anything like that. Then, you know it may well be that you're not able to view any positive consequences in that outcome.

SS: I remember my mother describing how upset she was when the Bonneville Dam buried Celilo Falls.

JF: It was the Dalles Dam.

SS: The Dalles Dam, excuse me. I'm sorry.

JF: I agree. There are things like that you never get over the pain of.

SS: Like some of my river runner friends who I interviewed who are still alive, 01:49:00no matter if they understand the history or not, they cannot accept Glen Canyon Dam. It's like the ultimate martyred landscape.

JF: Another good story is the one I told yesterday about the helicopter pilot and us going into Meta Lake and working all day and putting in plots, Meta Lake, and putting in plots and coming out to the helicopter that's been waiting for us there all day and asking the helicopter pilot and helitack foreman, what did you do? What have you been doing while we've been gone all day? Well, we went fishing. Oh yeah, right. Did you catch anything? [Sarcasm]. I said it in about that tone of voice. And, yeah. The discovery that there were fish in Meta Lake.

SS: That's the lake we visited yesterday?


JF: That's the lake we visited yesterday.

SS: What was in there, trout?

JF: Brook trout.

SS: Brook trout. Where did they come from?

JF: They survived.

SS: They survived because that was on the edge of the blast zone, or the scorch zone, right? [and under ice cover]

JF: Yeah.

SS: Now the Pumice Plain, how is long is it going to take for that to enter a different level of succession processes? I mean, it's trying. There're some colonizers in there right?

JF: In some places there's a lot of them, but I think you're looking at a place that's still going to be relatively open 100 years from now.

SS: Because geology is much slower than we like to see, right?

JF: I think it's going to be slow, although there are places on that pyroclastic flow that already have enough trees that you're going to be seeing cluster of trees close and form close patches. The recovery processes are not necessarily 01:51:00linear places, although they tend to have a logarithmic kind of response to them. Things are very, very, very slow initially in that kind of a situation, but will accelerate over time.

SS: In terms of the conifer forests that are coming back in patches here and there what's the species composition more or less?

JF: It's going to be very different except where trees were planted and there's going to be a whole lot more dominance by the shade-tolerant species that were advanced regeneration buried in the snowpack, for example. The composition is going to be much more heavily weighted towards higher elevation species [SS interrupts].

SS: Noble firs. Hemlocks.

JF: Hemlocks and silver firs, not noble fir, rather than the traditional 01:52:00pioneers, which are Douglas fir and noble fir.

SS: There are some Doug firs coming in, but not too many?

JF: Oh, they are, and what it is is a founding population that will eventually provide seed source for filling in.

SS: How would you describe the cultural place of Mount St. Helens within the Northwest? In terms of in the northwestern history, how would you describe the cultural place?

JF: I don't know. I hadn't thought about that. I think in some ways you know the old culture of Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens country is gone. It's history. It's place now is completely different. It's a world-scale attraction and it's a 01:53:00fundamentally altered landscape and I think the culture of the place is essentially fundamentally altered. It's interesting because probably that's very consistent with where we're at in the broader cultural in a sense. It almost is representative of the loss of the rural, the small communities, the timber-based economies.


SS: Which just happened to be in full decline when this happened, really?

JF: Which happened to be in full decline when it happened.

SS: Blame the volcano, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: Instead of the feds and the enviros, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: No, but I was saying specifically you answered one way of answering cultural place. How would you describe the cultural place of the event of Mount St. Helens within the broader fabric, not necessarily locally? Just in your own words, however you'd want to be able to represent that.

JF: Well, I don't know. What do you think it is?

SS: I think it's a profound moment in the history of the region and the U.S. that made a lot of people who are noticing realize that geology is alive and well.


JF: It's current.

SS: And earth processes are not a static thing and even though big volcanic events are in the timeline of history relatively spread apart they can happen in our lifetime.

JF: Yeah, they can. There have been other events that are contributing to that as well.

SS: I think it made a lot of people look at the friendly stratovolcanoes of the northwest [JF interrupts].

JF: A little less friendlier.

SS: A little differently. I mean look at all the disaster planning that's happened at Rainier and what Nisqually Valley, isn't that the main one, right?

JF: Yeah, the White River Valley.

SS: The White River Valley, right. All that stuff. It's affected a lot of different things. I mean I think even where our disaster planning even in terms of the Cascadia Zone and the tsunamis on the coast, I think it's all led into a different awareness.

JF: I think you're right. These things happen.


SS: I think the one numbing thing about the U.S. is in our continental affluence and our separation from enemies by oceans, even though you can say that's changed a little bit, we tend to be very complacent. We look at our life like a picture more than a lot of cultures where the dynamism, the competition, the danger is much more omnipresent and it's constant. This is not Syria or wherever else you happen to live. That's my little take on that. Regarding your personal experience, how would you characterize your sense of place in regards to this place as well as the community that's part of that place that's developed since the eruption, the Pulses, all the different things that you've had interactions with people, epiphanies, etc. How would you characterize it as a place? 01:57:00Philosophically, culturally, personally, what have you?

JF: Well, it's a very interesting place and it's a much more valuable place than it was previously. It's very valuable for education. It's very valuable for learning in terms of original knowledge. From my point of view, it's a much more meaningful place than it was previously. It's extraordinary whereas previously in some ways it was ordinary.

SS: Beautiful, but ordinary.


JF: Yeah.

SS: Because there's a lot of other beautiful places in the Cascades.

JF: Exactly.

SS: Right. Do you get excited before these Pulses with anticipation? Is this something that you just really look forward to on your calendar?

JF: Yes. I always look forward to getting collections of these people that I've worked with and I respect, and I love, so yes. It's very much like old home week. But I also really love it for, I'm excited about it for the continuity, the generation of younger people that are becoming involved and engaged with it. 01:59:00It's fun but it's also very, I'm looking for the word-basically it makes me feel comfortable that this work's going to continue.

SS: That you're among friends but you're among old friends but also new friends.

JF: That's right.

SS: The multi-generational thing. One question I didn't ask you because it wasn't on my list because I hadn't met him before this week: what is the importance of somebody like Charlie Crisafulli who has been here from the start and has committed his whole career to this? Describe Charlie and just somebody like that in a situation like this.

JF: He's just extraordinary. I mean, most fundamentally if he had not devoted 02:00:00himself to this, we would have had no continuity. He has been the individual that's provided the continuity and kept it from essentially disappearing, stopping, ending. He has so much energy and so much knowledge and is so generous. He's a very unselfish individual. He's just a very special person and there's no way I can do enough for him.

SS: What was his original training?


JF: He has a bachelor's degree?

SS: Really? I figured he might have had a master's at least.

JF: I just found this out.

SS: I figured he was a masters or maybe a Ph.D., but I thought a master's myself.

JF: I thought a Ph.D., but he has a bachelor's degree and he came here as the ramrod, you know the sergeant in charge of Jim McMahon's program out here and has stayed. Never left. It's just amazing. He's gotten a lot of rewards from it, but he's sacrificed so much for his love of this place.

SS: Well, because I mean he could have taken this experience from the first 5 or 10 years and then gone into graduate school and been a professor somewhere.

JF: That's right.


SS: Right. But it also tells you a lot about the model of education and how it's changed. Jerry, remember in the 19th century when there were relatively few Ph.D.s and some of the great natural historians and science people, they only had bachelor's or maybe master's, but they had Ph.D.s in whatever they were doing, right?

JF: Yeah.

SS: They had the Ph.D. in their subjects and their travels, etc., all that kind of things.

JF: We have very few people like that today.

SS: Yeah, we're structured into, oh you got to get the doctorate. It's mandatory.

JF: That's right.

SS: What's it going to do for you? I don't know. It's a piece of paper and I get tenure and blah, blah, blah and all that stuff. Anyway, what is the relationship for you between geology and ecology at this place? I know there was some kidding around yesterday between people at the tour, but how do you look at geology and 02:03:00ecology and how they are compatible and natural reciprocators in terms of studying not just this place but anywhere?

JF: I don't really distinguish them. I don't separate them. I think I quit doing that a long time ago, and Fred's one of the reasons for that. I just consider the ecosystem to be an integration of all of these things and consequently you really need to know and understand the geologic elements of it just as well as the biological elements. I view the geological as providing the template and you better understand the template that you're working on. I can understand so much 02:04:00more about this landscape today than I used to when I was doing my doctoral work here. Why wasn't there beargrass in this area? Well, now I've got a pretty good damn idea why not.

SS: Why?

JF: It was because beargrass doesn't survive tephra fall.

SS: Gotcha.

JF: It has no capacity to grow itself out from under.

SS: Is that primarily mechanical?

JF: It's totally mechanical because it has no focused growing point. Instead, it's growing out of a base of leaves and what's growing is actually what they call tertiary meristem. You burn off the top of a beargrass and the leaves just keep growing out from that meristem that's at their base. Here are the leaves 02:05:00growing out and they've got burned ends on them, but if you bury that plant it has no capacity. It has no strength to push its way up through it, any significant depth of material. When I was doing my doctoral dissertation, here was this extensive area, literally thousands of acres, where beargrass should have been present as a dominant in the community, should have been a beargrass huckleberry community, there's no beargrass. Where the hell's the beargrass? It's never gotten back here after all those incredible tephra falls that have occurred over the last thousand years.

SS: You talked about the reforestation yesterday, how did it affect the 02:06:00replanting process?

JF: It was easy.

SS: Really?

JF: What they did was they just used augers, power augers, to basically excavate a little round hole down to mineral soil, the old soil, and put in a plug, because most of the trees they plant these days are plugs.

SS: So, was the tephra fall maybe because of rain was it almost like concrete?

JF: No, not really.

SS: It was pretty soft still?

JF: It was pretty soft most places.

SS: The reason I ask was I did one season as a hoedad.

JF: Oh, it was easy.

SS: I remember carrying those seedlings and that was the hardest work I've ever done in my life.

JF: It was easy to plant.

SS: Okay.

JF: It was easy, but they were doing mostly auger planting and it really looked 02:07:00odd at times because in the auger planting they bring up a lot of fresh, white tephra pumice and spread it out on the surface so you had these little white dots marching over the landscape and you know it hadn't vegetated much at all at that point. They were very successful with their tree planting.

SS: How would you best synopsize your history and role at St. Helens? Final question.

JF: Well, I think I've covered that pretty well, but certainly I was a facilitator, but I was also by facilitating was able to control a lot of what happened. Obviously for me you know I took away a couple of very profound lessons.


SS: In terms of original science that you were a part of, maybe something you published or not, what would have been something that you would have been the proudest of?

JF: Well, I'm not sure anything that I published on Mount St. Helens was that profound, actually, but the concept of biological legacies that I took away was. I have to be really honest with you, I never really have published. I have a manuscript, but I've never submitted it, was that I did with some other people that really laid out the concept. In a sense, I have never finished the most 02:09:00important publication from this place.

SS: What was that on?

JF: It was on biological legacies.

SS: What would you have to do to complete that?

JF: Not much. I have every intention of doing that.

SS: Sounds like 35 years is a good timeframe to be able to analyze that and represent that with some authority.

JF: Yeah, although I could as well have done it 10 years ago or 20 years ago. Now, in fact, I think the manuscript is 15 years old. That represents a failure on my part, but I've certainly widely, I've communicated the lesson widely and 02:10:00I've ensured that it will be incorporated into management.

SS: One more question-what are the most important management lessons that were learned from St. Helens?

JF: Well, that's the notion of providing for continuity between generations. That's really what legacies are about. Legacies are about providing continuity and structure function and composition between forest generations or any generations of ecosystems. That's what we need to emulate in forest management and management based on natural models. Nature basically will almost always 02:11:00provide for continuity between generations. She almost never erases a system completely.

SS: I lied. I have one more question, and Fred's going to answer this probably in more greater detail, but what is the importance of actively pursuing the arts and artistic and literary input to this whole endeavor?

JF: You know, I don't know.

SS: But off the top of your head, what would be your first reaction to that?

JF: My first reaction to it would be a pragmatic one, which is any way of getting the message out, of communicating ecology to a broader audience is worthwhile. I've never been the enthusiast for that that Fred is. You know I 02:12:00retain some skepticism about the value of investing a lot of resources in it. But, you know, I would absolutely participate in it and I really accept it and participate in on the faith that Fred is right, not because I fundamentally believe it.

SS: Because you're going to let him have his thing and see where that goes, right?

JF: That's right. I've been wrong many times before.

SS: Maybe you will be again. Jerry, I think we've had a really great session here. I want to thank you very much.

JF: Yeah, thank you.

SS: And we will talk again.

JF: Alright.

SS: Alright, thanks.