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Friday, April 23, 2010

They weren't the Kalapooyas

Risa's volunteer work at the nearby greenway serendipitously coincided with the needs of a group of young people looking for something to do for Earth Day. They would cut and strip English ivy from desirable mature trees, pull Scotch broom out by the roots with weed wrenches, and plant Ponderosa pines and white oaks, under the benevolent eye of the park wrangler... umm, ranger.

There are three contiguous parcels along the river here -- adding up to a two mile strip of park, including all of the mountain in the distance. Except for the west side of the mountain, which includes an arboretum and miles of carefully tended trails, there is almost no development.

A bush-hog had mown through the blackberry and Scotch broom thickets that blanketed the area for decades. These will come back, unfortunately, but at least the Scotch broom can be weed-wrenched prior to tree planting.

The trees will be flagged so that repeat mowings will hopefully get the blackberries but not the trees. According to the park system's data, this was all oak openings, with some Ponderosa pine, as maintained by the Kalapooya Indians with an occasional application of fire. The aim is to return the site to something like that condition.

Some of the park, nearest the parking lot area, won't get this treatment, as it has a different kind of "Historic Site" potential. There were clearly a house and barn, possibly as early as the nineteenth century. There are walnuts, black walnuts, filberts, apples, cascara, flowering quince, lilacs, and periwinkles all around the holes and mounds where the house and barn must have been.

The ranger's not sure who was here at the time; Risa may be able to go look it up, having once been a Government Documents clerk. Whoever they were, she's pretty sure they weren't the Kalapooyas.

Have you done any volunteer work this spring? How did it go?

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