White Pine Chapter of INPS is sponsoring a field trip July 6, 2023 at 5:30 pm to the Stage Family Forest on Moscow Mountain. This property has two important and rare habitats for our area, a restored Palouse Prairie grassland and an open pine savannah forest that was recently burned in a wildfire. Helen Stroebel will share how these two habitats are doing and how they are being managed.
On August 30, 2021, a fire that started east of Moscow burned cross country and up onto the lower flanks of West Twin Peak, which is part of the Moscow Mountain Complex. It burned across various properties and would likely have continued, but its progress was slowed when it reached a thinned stand of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir owned by the Stage Family Forest LLC. Firefighters were able to contain it there and to extinguish it. The Stage Family Forest LLC has been under a Conservation Easement since 2003; the easement allows for active forest management to foster open stands of large ponderosa pine. Approximately 25 acres of their land under the Conservation Easement burned, but most of the larger trees survived the fire. During this field trip, we will visit the forest postburn. We will also visit an old field restored to Palouse prairie, which was partially impacted by the fire or by fire control efforts. This is a rare opportunity to see how these two habitats are doing almost two years after wildfire.
We will carpool for this field trip. Please meet at Mountain View Park’s parking lot at 5:00 p.m. Remember to bring drinking water and hiking poles if you use them. This field trip, which will require a fair amount of walking, some on trails, but some on uneven ground, is expected to end by 7:30 p.m.