Cleaner logging to be celebrated |

Cleaner logging to be celebrated

Andy Bourelle

Six years ago 240 acres of forest on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe were tractor logged. The land was scheduled for tractor logging again this summer.

From that, Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day was born.

Event Coordinator Rich Kentz said it could take up to 50 years for forest soil to recover from tractor logging, and the League was uncomfortable with the idea of doing it again in such a short period of time.

“We proposed a low-impact method be used to thin out the forest,” Kentz said. “And one of the ways to do that, of course, is to get volunteers.”

Kentz said he hopes 300 people show up for the Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day. The League to Save Lake Tahoe, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, is organizing the day, which is considered a new approach to help forest health and to reduce the risk of fire.

In addition to working to help clear the forest, volunteers also will have the opportunity to learn about the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“We believe it will be an educational day and a rewarding day, because people will feel good about the work they do,” Kentz said. “But we also feel it will be a fun day.”

When trees are too close together, they compete against each other for the same nutrients and water, decreasing the forest’s health. Additionally, latter fuels – or small trees – increase the danger of wildfires.

Although thinning trees is important, Kentz said, tractor logging poses potential dangers to the forest health. The machinery compacts and damages the upper layer of the soil.

Kentz said the upper layer – an “organic buffer layer” – is the most important part of the soil, because it absorbs water, retains moisture and prevents erosion.

At the Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day, Kentz said volunteers would do more than help thin the forest without using machinery. The removed wood will be put into a chipper and spread over skid trails to help restore the health of the upper soil layers damaged by earlier tractor logging.

Kentz said participants will help the forest, but the day won’t be all work and no play. Educational tents will be set up by resident experts, forest ecology specialists and the Washoe Tribe. Also, raffle prizes will be available as well as Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day T-shirts.

Anyone older than 10 years of age is invited and will have a good time, Kentz said.

“This is one way to give back. If people enjoy the forest, they will feel good about helping out,” Kentz said. “This is a way we can get some work done and also open the eyes of the public at the same time.”

Kentz said people who are interested in helping should contact him at (530) 546-5410.

Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day

When: Aug. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Tahoe City Public Utility District, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City

What to bring: Sturdy shoes, work gloves, sack lunch and water. Protective eye wear and hard hat if people have them.

Information: Rich Kentz at 530-546-5410

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