To honor and help restore the Douglas-fir forest ecosystem it is time to establish
Douglas-fir National Monument

To see the proposal for Douglas-fir National Monument
please view or download the Case Statement
It is a pdf file, 24 pages long including more photos and a map.

To see a one page flyer about the monument, with a map on the reverse side, click on Flyer.


At a few times in our nation's history, a species of tree was so magnificent that the President of the United States proclaimed a national monument to honor and protect that tree in a significant portion of its range. The Joshua tree in the Mojave Desert, the tree-like saguaro and organ pipe cacti in the Sonoran Desert, the bald cypress in Florida, the giant sequoia in the Sierra Nevada and the coast redwood in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon all have namesake national monuments or national parks. Each of these tree species is magnificent in its own ways, and so is the Douglas-fir.

After a century of logging there is very little ancient forest left in the Pacific Northwest, and old-growth remains only in scattered, isolated stands. But much of the federal timberland that was cut decades ago and and then replanted has the potential to become healthy forest again. A national monument that is managed for ecological restoration could bring this about, as well as preserving the best old forest that still remains.

We propose to establish the monument in the Santiam River watershed of the western Cascades from the Opal Creek Wilderness south to the divide between the Santiam and McKenzie drainages, and from just above Green Peter Reservoir to the Cascade Crest. It would cover over 750 square miles, mostly parts of Willamette National Forest but including some BLM land to the west that has some exceptional old-growth near Crabtree Lake. The proposal specifically excludes the towns of Detroit and Idanha, as well as Detroit Reservoir. It includes the Middle Santiam, Menagerie and parts of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness areas, as well as the Quartzville Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor, and also Moose Creek which has a salmon run.

Photos copyright Stephen Sharnoff except as noted.

trail in forest 1 graphic

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Map of the proposed monument boundary
inset map graphic

Case Statement for the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument

The Case for and the Cases Against a Douglas-fir National Monument
-a paper by Andy Kerr

Friends for Douglas-fir National Monument invites you to join us!
We support the establishment of a national monument to the Douglas-fir forest,
to be located in the upper Santiam River watershed of the western Cascades of Oregon.

To see a list of current supporters, both groups and individuals, go to Supporters List

To add your name, please send an email to Stephen Sharnoff at lichen@idiom.com

opal creek forest view 1 graphic

Throughout most of its range, Douglas-fir is found in stands mixed with other species. Coast Douglas-fir north of the Umpqua River is often naturally found in nearly pure stands. But after more than a century of intensive logging on both private and public lands, which has converted most original virgin Douglas-fir forest to tree plantations, the Douglas-fir landscape is highly fragmented and relatively few parts remain undisturbed. The proposed national monument contains some of the finest remaining stands of ancient temperate conifer forest in the world, as well as substantial areas of older mature forest that, in time, will acquire the character of old-growth forest.

The previously logged stands within the proposed national monument would be allowed to recover their full natural community of plants and animals.
The national monument can become a significant natural, cultural and economic resource for the region and the world, and it will appropriately honor the State of Oregon's official tree.


 

Climate change is no longer a distant threat but is upon us. The conservation and restoration of the magnificent Douglas-fir forest will signifcantly help ameliorate global warming. Because of their massive amounts of biomass, unlogged Douglas-fir forests store huge amounts of carbon that, if logged, would be released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Even though young forests are fast-growing, they do not approach the carbon storage capacity of old-growth for at least 200 years.

 

 

Ancient forests provide the best water quality and quantity on the planet. All of the towns and cities downstream from the proposed national monument would see an enhancement of their water quality, including the communities of Salem, Lebanon, Mill City, Stayton and Sweet Home. Costs for filtration will drop as the quantity of sediment in the water decreases, and this enhanced water quality will be provided at no cost to the ratepayer.

 

 

 

 

This is a very old Douglas-fir forest on Bureau of Land Management land above Crabtree Lake. It would become more protected if the Monument is established.

crabtree oldgrowth 1 graphic

Santiam oldgrowth 1 graphic


Conditions for wildlife will improve enormously after the establishment of the national monument. Many animals need older forest to thrive, not only northern spotted owls but also pileated woodpeckers, northern goshawks, many amphibians and mollusks, and mammals such as the wolverine, fisher and marten. An exciting mid-term possibility is that wolves may return to this area and—in the longer term—grizzly bears. Recent research has demonstrated that ecosystems lacking their traditional top predators are out of balance, leading to overpopulations of ungulates such as deer and elk, and impoverished vegetation. Animals that prefer more open forest stages will benefit from the restoration of natural young forests, a landscape consisting of diverse habitats rather than tree farms.

 

Establishment of the national monument will provide increased recreational benefits, first and foremost by creating an icon of the Douglas-fir forest, giving it official recognition as a place of value, a unique treasure of the Pacific Northwest. As the younger portions of the area grow back into mature forest, and the now-mature forest approaches the conditions of old-growth, the attractiveness of the Monument will steadily increase, drawing more and more visitors to the region.

 

 

This area of ancient forest is just outside the Middle Santiam Wilderness. It would become more protected if the Monument is established.

The Monument would be managed by either the National Park Service or the USDA Forest Service. Logging would be limited to variable density thinning for the purpose of restoring diversity. In addition to conserving and restoring vast stands of coast Douglas-fir and other coniferous forests, the proposed monument would also encompass and protect numerous objects of historic, geologic, hydrologic and/or ecologic interest, including numerous wildflower-strewn meadows, small lakes that dot the forest and striking volcanic features.

Magnificent views would be preserved, and forms of recreation compatible with the conservation of the values for which the national monument was established would be protected and encouraged. Pleasure driving, hiking, birding, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping and related activities are some of the ways the national monument could be enjoyed and appreciated.

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Gordon Meadows

Friends for Douglas-fir National Monument invites you to join us!
We support the establishment of a national monument to the Douglas-fir forest,
to be located in the upper Santiam River watershed of the western Cascades of Oregon.
To see a list of current supporters, both groups and individuals, go to Supporters List

For more information, or to help our effort, please contact:
Stephen Sharnoff at lichen@idiom.com
or
David Stone at dns@efn.org
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