The Oregon Society of Soil Scientists is pleased to offer an exciting summer field tour, hosted in cooperation with our friends at the Northwest Forest Soils Council!  Spend two days with fellow soils professionals and enthusiasts as we explore diverse landscapes on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that were impacted by the 2017 Chetco Bar Fire.  We’ll hear from members of the Forest’s Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team to learn about how soils are affected by fire and drive watershed response. We’ll also learn how local land managers are responding to a diverse array of resource concerns in the wake of the fire.  Potential field topics include soil burn severity mapping, salvage logging, protection of critical infrastructure, management of noxious weeds and rare plant communities, and forest management for insects and disease.  And, of course there will be soil profiles!  We’ll see unique serpentine-derived soils and associated endemic flora (among others).  

Base camp will be at Alfred A. Loeb State Park, along the beautiful Chetco River, just outside of Brookings, Oregon.  Camping will be available for the nights of September 11th, 12th, and 13th, with the field tour taking place on the 12th and 13th.  

(the “Chetco Effect” is a term used by locals to describe high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds that sometimes result from air masses that surge out of the Great Basin and descend the west slopes of the Cascades, converging in the Brookings area.  The Chetco Effect contributed greatly to the rapid growth of the Chetco Bar Fire.)


OSSS and NWFSC Summer Field Tour 2019

Field trips organized and led by Lizeth Ochoa, West Zone (Gold Beach and Powers RD) Soil Scientist, and Joni Brazier, Forest Soil Scientist, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

1800-2000       Alfred A. Loeb State Park – Check-in.  Look for an OSSS person or directional signage at the campground entrance.  OSSS has reserved twelve campsites with plenty of room for all.  Dinner tonight will be on your own—bring food to prepare or stop for dinner in town on your way in.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

0600-0730        Check-in for late arrivals and breakfast (provided). Pack sack lunches (supplies provided).   

0730-0800       Welcoming remarks; safety message; overview of Chetco Bar Fire to set the stage.  Load into vans.

0800-0810       Quick drive to Site 1

0810-0900       Site 1- Redwood Nature Trailhead: Short hike up trail.  Discuss Sudden Oak Death.  Observe unburned forest reference area with very old fire scars.  Trail cuts allow observation and discussion of the soil map units within the area.

0900-0915       Travel to Site 2 on FSR1376

0915-1015       Site 2Second Creek AOP Culvert Replacement:  Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) overview; discussion of BAER treatments.

1015-1035       Travel to Site 3 on FSR1376, to FSR 1909-050.  Observe areas of low, moderate, and high soil burn severity; private timberland salvage; roadside danger tree salvage.

1035-1200       Site 3 – High Soil Burn Severity (SBS) with Roadside Salvage:  Timber salvage project design criteria for soils, discussion of operations with Timber Staff, potential discussion of private timber lands salvage.  Observe soil conditions in High SBS within completed operations for roadside danger tree abatement treatments and an undisturbed area. Discuss differences observed in soils within the treated and untreated, plant regrowth.  Road cut available to discuss soil map unit/underlying geology, slope stability.

1200-1230       Travel to Site 4 on FSR 1909; eat lunch along the wayObserve BAER replacement culverts en route

1230-1300       Site 4 – Low Soil Burn Severity on FSR 1909.  Opportunity to observe soil and organic matter conditions and vegetation condition in a low soil burn severity area to compare with observations in moderate and high.

1300-1315       Travel to Site 5 on FSR 1917.

1315-1400       Site 5 – FSR 1917 ridgeline.  Biscuit Fire area reburned by Chetco Bar Fire 15 years later.  Discussion of Biscuit Fire; observations of soils and vegetation response post-Biscuit and post-Chetco.  Scenic view looking into Kalmiopsis Wilderness, if weather permits.

1400-1500       Travel to Site 6 via FSR 1917 to FSR 1376 to FSR 1107.  Observe Packer’s Cabin (historic site) along the way; see more salvage and fire effects in the watershed.

1500-1630       Site 6 – Snaketooth Redwood Botanical Area (FSR 1107).  Site 6a/6b within walking distance.  Observe pre-fire timber thinning units on drive to site (Backbone TS) and how they responded to the Chetco Bar fire.

                        Site 6a:  Ground-based roadside salvage in moderate soil burn severity and undisturbed burned area comparison – possible discussion of Forest Soil Disturbance Monitoring Protocol 

                        Site 6b:  Redwoods fire resiliency, observation of bole resprouting, revegetation.  Observations of soils and vegetation response in undisturbed post-fire condition.

1630-1700       Travel back to Loeb State Park.  Upon return, may discuss and look at point bar geology on the Chetco River for those interested.  Cool off in the water!

1830                Dinner (provided)


Friday, September 13, 2019

0600-0730        Breakfast (provided)

0730-0800        Gather,briefing on day’s agenda.  Load into vans.

0800-0900       Travel to Site 1 via FSR 1407 (Hazelcamp Road), to FSR 1376.  Observe private timberland fire salvage, roadside salvage along the way.

0900-1000       Site 1 – Peridotite/Serpentine Biscuit and Chetco burn effects.  Roadcuts to observe geology and soil development; roadcut seep to observe groundwater effects to serpentine rock; Darlingtonia; burned area to look at effects of fire to serpentine soils and upland vegetation community.

1000-1030       Travel to Site 2, FSR 1376. If weather allows clear views, can stop along the way to discuss different geologies of neighboring peaks, how geology affects landforms, etc.  Stop at or point out different outcrops along the way.

1030-1100       Site 2 – Old growth Douglas-fir forest patch on Colebrook Schist.  Contrast soil productivity with the peridotite/serpentine veg community.  Look at different soil in road cut.  Discuss contact point between schist and peridotite and potential landform instability to set up for next stop.

1100-1115       Travel to Site 3, via FSR 1376 to FSR 3680-360.

1115-1300       Site 3 – Snowcamp Meadow in Snowcamp Botanical Area.  Pack lunch into Meadow.  Short hike on decommissioned road with road cuts of serpentine.  Meadow appears to be formed by a large earth slump – potential contact point between Colebrook Schist and Peridotite?  Springs supporting large Darlingtonia population.  Opportunity to explore the evolutionary development of serpentine soils in a productive wetland meadow complex.

1300-1500       Travel on FSR 3680 to Gold Beach.  Follows Hunter Creek.  Restroom stop if needed at the Gold Beach Visitor Center.

1500 – ?           Travel down coastline, recommend stop at Meyer’s Creek Beach.  “Blue Goo” in cutbank on Hwy 101 (Serpentine); lots of sea stacks; Meyer’s Creek flows into ocean.

                        Other potential beach stops along the way.  Flexibility in schedule heading back to camp.  Return to Alfred A. Loeb State Park by 1730.

1830                Dinner (provided)