For the better part of July I was contracted by the Forest Service Region 5, in a partnership with the CNPS Vegetation Program, to follow up with our 2013 work mapping and monitoring whitebark pine in the north state. I visited numerous sites where I predicted Pinus albicaulis might occur to conduct surveys and improve our state-wide range map for the species. Overall, the health of the species in northern California is in slow decline due to a variety of factors including mountain pine beetle, white pine blister rust, global climate change, and recent high intensity fires. In an earlier post, I shared some highlights from the Modoc National Forest, this post shares images and highlights from Klamath National Forest whitebark pine work.
Goosenest Ranger District
This region is east of Interstate 5 and north of Mount Shasta. It consists of isolated volcanoes which, if over about 7500′ will hold small stands of whitebark pine. I visted two of the district’s highlights to look for trees–Goosenest and Willow Creek Mountain. In between these two peaks is the spectacular Little Shasta Meadow Botanical Area.
Overall, trees here are doing well though there is evidence of mountain pine beetle kill in some areas–though much smaller in scale that was seen on the Modoc around 2009.
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District
I visited three different regions on four backpacking trips to survey this area. The mountain tops are remote and often only accessible via 4WD and/or long hikes. But, this is the Klamath Mountains, my favorite place on Earth, so every arduous mile traveled was a joy.