By Christi Baron
Forks Forum Editor
Last week, for the I-don’t-know-how-many times, I went on the Forks Chamber of Commerce Logging and Mill Tour. It doesn’t really matter how many times I go; it is always interesting and different, and it’s a chance to see the area through eyes of visitors of the place we call home.
As the fairly-new tour bus left the visitor center last Wednesday, it was a full tour with folks from California, Maryland, Germany and FORKS! Yes, five Forksites were in the mix: myself, Dan and Janet Thompson, and Carol and Ann Lunsford. The Lunsfords brought family members along who were visiting them.
The fairly-new tour bus is thanks to a grant from the Port of Port Angeles. Tour-goers no longer have to ride in the old tour bus which really had the feel of the logger’s crew bus. Now, no need to traumatize the tour-goers.
Our tour guide for the day was Randy Mesenbrink. He described the Forks International Airport and the elk herd that resides there. Much to the disappointment of those on the bus, the elk were scarce that morning.
As we traveled south, Randy described timberland ownership, trust lands, tree planting and thinning. Once on the woods road, Randy stopped and got a sample of salal for everyone to inspect. Somebody in the back of the bus ate the berries.
At a culvert pipe, Randy stopped and explained road and stream inventories, culverts and fish migration. One person on the tour asked about bug infestation, and Randy talked a bit about the Spruce Tip Weevil, a pest that infests and kills the main shoot of young trees.
We couldn’t see a machine that was working at this site, so we got back on the highway and headed for the Clearwater Mainline. Randy gave a quick history of the Olympic Corrections Center and their role in the timber industry and community of Forks.
We made our way to a logging show that Randy Parker was doing, with a few exciting meetings with some loaded log trucks along the way.
At the logging site, we all got out and watched Bob Hoke swing around and around as he picked up logs, limbed and cut them and sorted them. There were all sorts of questions.
Back in the bus and heading home we first stopped at a spur just off the Hoh Rain Forest Road. At this site, Randy explained how the area was thinned and contained older and younger trees as well as huckleberries, salal and other small plants. One of the tour-goers asked how Randy knew so much! Good job, Randy.
The chamber tour is so lucky over the years to have so many knowledgeable volunteers associated with it. The only bad part of the tour was when Dan told a really corny joke about a crow … you will have to ask him to repeat it.
Also, assisting as a tour guide this summer has been Richard “Squat” Halverson. The last tour for the season was Wednesday, Sept. 6. They will resume again in May. Even if you live in Forks, it is a great experience. The tours are free, but donations to cover costs are greatly appreciated.
In other news …
Last Wednesday, West End travelers were getting a little miffed at the traffic lights still at the Sol Duc Bridge while no obvious work was going on. I emailed WSDOT and I think others may have called, and about a half-hour after I emailed I got a response that they would remove them that very evening. They still have work to do there … but for now, no stopping.
About the Horse Gripe
A few weeks ago there was a counter gripe to the people griping about the horse with no shelter near Sappho. The person compared the horse and its need for care to an elk. I am afraid I have to disagree with that … a horse is not an elk. When we as human beings take on the care and well-being of a horse, dog, cat, turtle, etc. whatever it is, we are entering into an unwritten agreement that we will take care of that creature the way it should be taken care of. If you are not willing to do that, you should not have a horse, dog, cat, turtle, etc.