Every year, more than 100,000 people visit the beautiful Ueland Tree Farm, just outside of Bremerton. Hiking on the trails here can take you to some of the most gorgeous viewpoints on the whole peninsula, along with the magical secret that is Dickerson Falls.
Although this property is timberland, and the trees on this land will be harvested, Ueland Tree Farm is managed in an environmentally and socially conscious way. Achieving this takes a balancing act that ensures that community and environmental benefits match or outweigh any impacts of the timber harvest.
GPC’s first walk and talk of the year was at Ueland Tree Farm. We got to explore these woods with the guidance of Mark Mauren, GPC board member and Ueland Tree Farm manager. GPC members had the opportunity to learn all about the responsible management techniques that keep our forests and ecosystems healthy, while still allowing us to benefit from the valuable timber resources that form one pillar of our region’s economy.
Biodiversity is a key part of keeping a forest healthy, and providing ecosystem services for everything that depends on it. This can come in many different forms – not just diversity of species, but also diversity of tree ages is vitally important. At Ueland Tree Farms, only carefully selected patches are harvested each year, for a total of 22 acres spread all across the 1,720 acres of forestland. This is a sustainable and habitat-improving process that creates a mosaic of different age classes and successional species, providing benefits to a huge range of plants and animals.
Birds especially benefit from the habitat at Ueland. Living trees aren’t the only thing that a forest needs – dead trees, both fallen and standing, are also a critical component of every forest habitat. By girdling select trees on the property, Ueland creates that dead wood which many birds use for shelter and nest-building.
It’s important to protect this land, and promote its biodiversity. Dickerson Creek is a part of the Chico Creek watershed, which supports an important and vigorous run of salmon. Stewardship of this forest will help keep that salmon run strong – along with other restoration projects, such as the ongoing culvert replacement project that you may have driven past on Route 3, between Bremerton and Silverdale.
It takes a whole community to come together and protect our beautiful natural lands, and all the many plants and animals that depend on them. This working forest is open to the public, so anyone can see their community-focused practices. Everyone has their own part to play!
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