Thursday, July 18, 2013

Friends of the Elk River

One of my priority's with Trout Unlimited is working on issues related to preserving Elk River salmonids and protecting the amazing habitat in the Elk River watershed.  This week I felt very privilaged to spend a couple of days getting a crash course in these issues from the "professor's of Elk River conservation", Jim Rogers (on l. in below image) and Jerry Becker. 

Jim and Jerry have spent the bulk of their adult life in the "trenches" trying to protect precious habitat for salmonids, especially Elk River salmonids.

Both men have had long careers working in the woods and working in the timber industry.  Both have worked as timber cruisers as well as many other timber industry jobs and both have worked as contractors working for the U.S.F.S. on a wide variety of projects.  Both know the Elk River watershed and the issues better than anyone else on the planet.  Great guys to know if your a brand spankin' new T.U. field rep for southern Oregon!
This stump is from a 300-plus year old Douglas Fir tree that the USFS felt needed to be removed from a camp ground on the Elk River this past April.  Jerry, Jim and I are still not sure why this (as well as four other old growth Douglas fir tree's) were  cut down by the folks at the USFS?

This is Panther Creek.  A tributary of the upper Elk River in Curry County, Oregon.  It's in pristine condition as "mother nature" intended.  While Jerry and Jim and I were hiking along its banks during my recent tour, I spotted a coho fry in this pool pictured above.   The Elk River used to receive a strong run of Coho.  Because of man's efforts at taming this amazing wild place, fewer than two hundred coho return each fall.  

Jim Rogers, a man who once worked for the timber industry and realized that what was happening was NOT in the best interest of Oregon, it's citizens and resources has spent the past past forty-plus years trying to correct what has been done to our treasured areas. 

Jerry Becker  has worked tirelessly with amazing patience,  courage and resolve.  He and Jim have literally devoted their lives to protecting the Elk River water shed.  For more info, or if you'd like to get involved or support these amazing mens' efforts, go to their website "Friends of the Elk"