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Fall 2021 northwest Washington Online Coached Planning courses are sold out

Wednesdays, starting September 8, 2021.

Our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, attract wildlife, and take practical steps to keep your forest on track to provide enjoyment and even income for years to come. In this class you will develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan, which brings state recognition as a Stewardship Forest and eligibility for cost-share assistance, and may also qualify you for significant property tax reductions.

Pre-registration is required.

The fall courses are now sold out. Contact us to get on a waiting list.


Spend lunch with the experts!

A basic understanding of technology can help a forest owner both plan and implement management practices on their property. There are a wide variety of programs available to help in this process, but some can be a little tricky to get the hang of. Join us on your lunch break to watch tutorials on some commonly used programs and have a chance to discuss with experts and other landowners how they can be used for forest management.


  • Monday (5/10) – Creating Simple Maps with Google Earth (Patrick Shults, WSU Extension)
    • Use this free software as a tool to better understand your property and map forest stands, roads, paths, and other features.
  • Tuesday (5/11) – Using the Web Soil Survey (Patrick Shults, WSU Extension)
    • This database has an immense amount of information to offer forest owners.  This tutorial will cover it’s basic features and how to create a soils report for your property.
  • Wednesday (5/12) – Collecting Forest Inventory Data with PlotHound (Brendan Whyte, WSU Extension)
    • Forest inventory is an important part of a forest stewardship plan and understanding the composition of your forest.  This tool can be used online and in the field for detailed or basic inventories.
  • Thursday (5/13) – Using the DNR Forest Practices Activity Map (Chris Baus, WA DNR)
    • This online software was developed to make it easier for landowners to submit Forest Practice Applications for activities like harvesting and it also has a lot of useful information for forest owners.
  • Friday (5/14) – Tracking Forest Health Issues with iNaturalist (Joey Hulbert, WSU)
    • Apps like iNaturalist can help you source information on forest health issues in your area.  They can also be an opportunity for you to submit observations of critical issues like western redcedar dieback for research.

When and Where

May 10-14, 2021 – 12-12:30PM (Online)

This seminar will be offered via a live, interactive webinar. A high-speed internet connection is needed. Dial-up will not work. You can access the webinar with your computer or mobile device.

If you do not have one already, you will need to sign up for a free Zoom account in order to participate in the course. You should also install the Zoom client by going to the Zoom download page. The top item, Zoom Client for Meetings, is what you will want if you are using a computer. Scroll down the page to see app options for phones and tablets. You should set up your Zoom account well before the webinars begin. If you already have Zoom installed, make sure it is updated to the most current version.

If you cannot attend the webinar, a recording will be available afterwards.  You are welcome to register if you cannot attend to receive an email notification when the recording is available or check back at this website the week following the webinar.

Cost and Registration

There is no cost to this webinar.  Pre-registering is required and can be done online.  Registration ends at 6PM on Sunday, May 9th.  


Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Patrick Shults at 360-740-1213 or at least two weeks prior to the event.

FOWS 2021 Q&A – Invasive forest weeds in Western Washington

Invasive forest weeds in Western Washington

Answers by Sasha Shaw, King County Noxious Weed Control Program


Q). How do you control morning glory?

A). Morning glory, also called hedge bindweed, has deep, extensive creeping roots/rhizomes that easily break when pulled. Careful hand-removal repeated whenever you notice new shoots will, over time, reduce the population substantially. Just don’t wait until the stems have grown up and over all your other plants! If there is a large dense patch, you can spread a thick layer of woodchip mulch (perhaps with a layer of cardboard or newspapers underneath) to weaken the plants, and then pull the shoots as they emerge from the mulch layer. The mulch won’t kill the morning glory, it just makes it easier to remove more roots. See our bindweed fact sheet for more details.


Q). Can chickens eat yellow archangel?

A). I’m not sure if chickens can safely eat yellow archangel. It is in the mint family but it isn’t used as an herb. It isn’t listed as a toxic plant but I’m not sure it is common enough for it to be known whether it is safe for chickens. My guess is they would avoid it due to the odor, but probably bet to avoid it if possible.


Q). Would you recommend a mix ratio of glyphosate and triclopyr? We usually do 125gal water to 100 oz roundup pro to 24 oz r-11?

A). The spot spray recommendations I’ve seen for ivy or yellow archangel are usually in the range of 2 to 5% glyphosate plus 1 to 2% triclopyr plus 1 to 2% surfactant, but that’s going to depend on the exact product labels you have so  make sure to follow the label recommendations for spot spraying perennial weeds or brush. To get the actual measured amount, remember the percent is by volume, so divide ounces of herbicide by gallons of spray mix to get the percent. Remember you need to be careful not to exceed the label rate which is usually given in amount per acre. That means you need to know both what’s going in your sprayer and how much you are spraying out. Also make sure to follow the mixing directions, the chemicals can react with each other if you don’t mix them correctly.


Q). How do you control poison hemlock?

A). Poison-hemlock is toxic if you ingest it, so make sure to wear gloves when handling it. Also, if you pull or mow large quantities and in areas with low air circulation you may feel ill from breathing in the odor. That said, it is simple to dig up or even hand-pull plants. They have a large, branched tap root so you can effectively remove the bulk of the root and kill the plant that way. Removed plant material should be discarded in the trash. Mowing is not effective because plants can re-grow. For more detail, see our poison-hemlock fact sheet.


Q). What is the best way to dispose of pulled weeds?

A). It depends on what weeds they are. Most weeds can be put in with clean green yard waste to be taken to a commercial composting facility. Almost all seeds will be broken down in the process so you won’t be spreading weeds that way. You can also do home composting of weeds, but generally you won’t want to use that compost because some seeds may survive if the temperatures don’t get hot enough for long enough. However, if the weeds are regulated noxious weeds in your county, it is best to put them in the garbage instead of yard waste or compost to avoid any risk of spreading them by transport or incomplete composting. This would include things like poison-hemlock and tansy ragwort that are also toxic. Here is a useful handout with more information:


Q). Who is the contact to report weeds in eastern WA?

A). It depends on the county. You can look up your county weed board contact info on the State Noxious Weed Board website.


Q). We have butterfly bush/blackberries/holly/ivy/Scotch broom/et al. The terrain is too steep for mechanical equipment and the area too large for hand removal. We would like to use a brush killer, but we live on the water (Puget Sound) and the area is by our domestic water well. Is there a specific product you would recommend?

A). That’s a tough one. If you are able to use a cut stem treatment on the bushes (cut the stem and apply herbicide directly to the fresh cut stem), then you could use either triclopyr or glyphosate, as long as there was no risk of herbicide getting into the water itself. However, it sounds like an area where herbicide use may be restricted to aquatic products only, which would require the applicator to have WSDA pesticide license and a permit from the Dept of Ecology. Another concern with a steep slope is that if you clear a large area all at once, there may be erosion or slope failure. I would recommend removing the weeds from small areas at a time and replacing with native shrubs and trees as you go to make sure there are roots established to help stabilize the slope. And carefully protect any native and non-invasive plants that are being left. This would be true for either chemical or manual control.


Q). Any tips on eradicating Himalayan blackberry on a 40% slope where there is concern about slope stability?

A). This is similar to the last question. My advice is to do this in stages, one strip of blackberry at a time, and make sure to use erosion control measures on any cleared areas until new vegetation is established. If there are trees or other desirable plants mixed in with the blackberry or along the edges, do your best to preserve those to help maintain the slope. Use control methods that are gentle on the slope such as cutting with loppers or a hand-held brush cutter, and then either using a backpack sprayer to treat the regrowth when it is 2-3 feet tall, or just repeat the cutting several times a year. I don’t recommend digging on the steep slope because that is more destabilizing.


Q). Can meadow knapweed or yellow archangel be eradicated by hand?

A). Meadow knapweed can be dug up and controlled that way, although the roots are large and deep so it will require a shovel and possibly repeat digging if some of the roots remains. Yellow archangel has very thin, fragile roots that tend to break off when you hand pull or dig them up and then the plants regrow easily from those fragments. You can control yellow archangel by hand, but it does require fastidious and repeated effort. It works best in looser, forest soils. In heavy clay soils, it may be very difficult. More info on these plants is on our website.


Q). Is horsetail a noxious weed and, if so, how can it be eradicated?

A). Horsetail is not a noxious weed and there’s no need to remove it unless you wish to. It’s a native plant in the PNW and beneficial in our forests and wetlands. However, in a home garden, yard, or pasture, people do try to get rid of it. It is very difficult to eradicate but you can suppress it with regular cutting. There is some information on horsetail control here.


Q). Can bark mulch be used for weed control? How deep would it need to be applied?

A). Bark mulch can be used, although a better product is chipped up woody material, such as from an arborist or your own wood chipper. It has a mix of wood and green material so it improves soil as well as suppressing the weeds. In general woodchip or coarse bark mulch should be 3-4 inches deep to suppress weeds. Make sure not to pile it up next to tree trunks or shrubs, and don’t use deep mulch over shallow rooted bushes like rhododendrons. Some weeds require deeper mulch, or a layer of cardboard underneath, to suppress regrowth.


Q). Are herbicides really safe for people and the environment?

A). All herbicides come with risks, and each person should research those risks for themselves so they understand how to use an herbicide to minimize risks, or they can decide to avoid herbicide use altogether. Herbicides are heavily regulated by the EPA and our state agencies, and they have detailed instructions for the user to follow to make sure to minimize any risks. Herbicides should never be used in a way not described on the label of the product you are using. Misuse of herbicides greatly increases risks and can cause harm to people and the environment. A good, non-biased source of information on pesticides is the NPIC website. NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

FOWS 2021 Q&A – Landowner Roundtable — The best tools I’ve ever owned

Landowner Roundtable — The best tools I’ve ever owned


This was a roundtable discussion between landowners.  The questions and answers from the discussion are summarized below (anonymously).

The products, companies, or individuals listed here were recommended by landowners in an open forum. Mention in this list does not constitute an endorsement by Washington State University.  Washington State University is not responsible for nor guarantees the quality, accuracy, or cost of the products or services provided, nor do companies or individuals mentioned represent or speak for Washington State University

Q: What tools do you use to drag logs out of your forest?

A: Farmi Winch for tractor.  Logrite arch for ATV.


Q: Suggestions for mechanized trail building tools?

A: Appropriate-sized chain sawBrush cutter.  Small trackhoe or mini skid steer.


Q: Good gloves?


  1. 1) Gloves, I like leather, but they stretch if they get wet, so I go with the ones that have the fingers dipped to be more tight fitting.
  2. 2) I love the cheap leather gloves from Costco for leather and wells Lamont hydra hide for light duty gloves.


Q: Any tools that will cut back our overgrown ivy?

A: Ivy is tough mechanically and I have not found an easy way.  I use two tools, hand pruners and    loppers.  I have used my brush cutter a lot, but I don’t like to use it around trees.


Q: Best tool to get rid of brambles?

A: For blackberries, I use a 52cc brush cutter with a 10″ 80 tooth carbide tooth blade. Cuts just about anything.  I have used my brush cutter a lot, but I don’t like to use it around trees.


Q: Recommendations for walk behind style trimmer to clear blackberry along roadside and fence line?

A: We us a DR walk behind brush cutter/ mower that someone got at a yard sale for a few hundred $$ to clear our field day stations and trails.


Q: Does anyone have any comments on the best weed wrench available on the market?

A: Check with your weed board to find out what the survey says.  There are a lot of good buys, but also nice tries.


Q:  Where’s a good place to get tools such as log jacks and can’t hooks?

A: Any Forestry Supplier like Forestry Suppliers, Bailey’s, PacForest Suppliers, Madsens, Woods Logging. Cowlitz Rigging in Longview.  Don’t be afraid to buy used from a pawn shop.


Q: HT 132 pole trimmer the four-stroke version?

A: The point made at the roundtable was this power pole saw is powerful, but with a 36cc engine    it is also fuel efficient. And, the user can get up to at least a 12ft pruning lift which is generally what the cost-share programs require, therefore, not needing a ladder to reach the high branches and you have the safety of your feet on the ground.


Q: What was the name of the chain saw all-in-one sharpening tool?

A: Stihl 2 in 1


Q: Any recommended auctions for NE WA or N. Idaho?

A: None


Q: How would I find the Portland, OR auctions?

A: Bar none auction in Woodburn, OR.  Richie bros auctions too


Q: For small landowner (20-acre) with hilly property, what one piece of equipment would you recommend?

A: Chainsaw


Q: Can you chip/shread Blackberries?

A: Yes!


Q: Has anyone tried goats?

A: Yes, they work well for clearing all reachable vegetation.


Q: What pruning saws do you like?

A: Fanno 13” Curved Pruning Saw  and my Stihl telescoping Pole saw, and my Silky saw


Q: What’s the best way to get rid of thistle?

A: I just pull it before it flowers. It’s pretty easy to pull. We go on “thistle hunts” as a family. If it has flowered, then we collect the heads and take them back to garbage but leave the rest of the plant.  Other Management for E WA weeds here.


Q: Is there another name for a witch wand? All I’m finding is something for magicians.

A: There are a variety of “wands” that sprinkle the magic kill juice.  This is one I know works.


Q: McLeod is more for fire prevention, isn’t it ?

A: I believe the McCleod was developed by firefighters.  It’s a great trail building tool, or for grubbing out a spot for planting seedlings.


Q: What brand of dump trailer was mentioned?

A: ABI Workman Dump Trailer


Q: There are so many wonderful information here. It’s like drinking from a firehose. Anyway we can have a summary /note of all the tools mentioned after this section?

A: Done!


Q: My favorite tool is this education!  I’ve never had a chance to talk with other weak people like myself.

A: Bypass loppers are good.  Fiskars makes a geared lopper that really improves torque.  +1  for Fiskers.  Rachet loppers and hand pruners really save the hand muscles.



Q: Saw recommendations?

A: Hand pruning saws with 10-14 teeth per inch.  Fanno is my favorite.  $25ea.  I own several Stihl   13” pull saws too (they are called pull saws because they cut on the pull).  If you use an electric pole saw, you can cut 1 inch away from the trunk.


Q: How to treat knapweed with herbicide?

A: From Dick & Paula Hopkins (consulting foresters and licensed pesticide consultants): Spray knapweed when flowering


Q: What is “grubbing out a site?”

A: Grubbing out refers to removal of living material, duff, and any other branches.  Here’s one landowners comment:  “I had good success planting ponderosa by just scalping the grass using a hazelhoe for my ponderosa pine. But I was only planting 10 acres.”


Q: Does mulching help?

A: Yes!  Here are other comments:  I agree, mulching really helps. Also arch older branches over the seedlings. That way deer may not get the them.  One source for chip mulch is has wood chip drops they do. How much depends on the particular drop.  Free. Just sign up and they will call when they have a load.


Q: Are the tongs a hand tool, or does it attach to a machine?

A: I use a hand- tool tong.   .  You can clip log tongs to a tractor, too.  Make sure to get good ones, too.  There is a lot of junk available that cannot stand the work needed by the tongs.


Q: Hardhat? I like pretty much any full-brimmed, wrap-around hard hat.



Q: Best Saw shops?  (Andy’s note – there are a lot of good saw shops.  Ask for a recommendation)

A: Battle Ground WA ACE (main street) has fast stihl repair btw;


Q:  Pic or vid or link to chaps

A: Get full length, clear to your ankle & foot.  Something like this.


FOWS 2021 Q&A – Wildlife and Habitat

Wildlife and Habitat

Answers From Ken Bevis, WA DNR

Q). What would you plant stream side in eastern washington post flood to create habitat and bank protection?

Coyote willow, red osier dogwood, cottonwood. Look at what is nearby. Willows and cottonwood can be easily planted with cuttings. Gather nearby. Red osier can too, but needs some root hormone on cutting tips. Use a metal dibble bar, or rod and put them as deep as you can, with only 3-5 buds above the surface. Bare root stock from Conservation Districts are good too. Consult with local Conservation Districts for local ideas and success stories.

Q). What’s a good alternative to replace reed canary grass with if we are removing it? Red osier dogwood / willow?

A). Yes. Replace the reed canary with woody shrubs and get it shaded out. It is very hard to get rid of tho, so be ready to go after it again. Look up various tactics for successful removal of reed canary. Unfortunately, it is a long tough battle.

Q). Any good native grasses we should look for?

A). In eastern WA, blue bunch wheat grass or Great basin wild rye are native species with high habitat value. Again, consult with local CDs for input on what would do well in your area. There are several native seed growers who could also give input to your specific area. It very much depends on your locale and conditions of the particular site you want to grow grass.

Q). How do you balance habitat creation with forest fire management

A). Wow. A big question. First, about fuels reduction treatments. This is a matter of scale. On a broad scale, reducing the risk of large scale, stand-replacing fire benefits wildlife in general, by better protecting live trees in the forest ecosystem from death in hot fires, and increasing vigor by reducing competition.

While doing these treatments, I constantly emphasize maintaining (or improving) important habitat features on the landscape – using this acronym:
SLLOPPS; Snags, Logs, Legacy, Openings, Patches, Piles and Shrubs. Keep big snags and logs. Leave biggest legacy trees. Maintain/create openings. Leave strategic “skips” or patches unthinned for wildlife cover, Create/maintain Habitat Piles, Protect best well formed shrubs on treated units.

Fuels treatments can degrade habitats in the short to mid term. For example, masticating the shrub layer removes above ground plants, but they will often sprout back vigorously from the root crowns and provide better browse in a few years. But, cover for ground or shrub nesting birds is gone in the interim. Lower branches on trees are often used by squirrels as “ladders” and birds will perch and forage on them. Removing them in the name of ladder fuel reduction eliminates this habitat feature. So the trick is not to treat every single acre. I recommend retention of 15% of a fuels treatment area in habitat features.

As to wildland fire fighting, most operations have some standards for protecting habitat features, but bluntly, these go out the window when the flames are roaring. Snags are routinely felled near fire lines, gouges on slopes from bulldozers, etc. Then the rehab starts.

Big question, but definitely a deep area for work.


Q). How big of a dead tree makes a good snag? All sizes or does it need to be a certain diameter?

A). I like to use cavity nesting habitat for some common species as the guide for snag size. In general, hairy woodpeckers are the one to consider. This means a snag of at least 10”-12” top diameter and 8’ tall. However, for flickers, they will use even stumps as long as they are soft enough. Smaller excavators such as chickadees or nuthatches, will use very small diameter trees, say 4”, with the bark. They will go through the bark and the outside of the cavity is the bark itself.

So general recommendation, 10” diameter, 8’ high minimum. Bigger is better. Broken tops seem to get cavities more often due to heart rot in stem above ground.

All types and sizes of dead wood have value to something as feeding substrate, including insects.

FOWS 2021 Q&A – I would have done things differently…I wish somebody would have told me about…

Roundtable Discusion:

I would have done things differently…

I wish somebody would have told me about…


This was a roundtable discussion between landowners.  The questions and answers from the discussion are summarized below (anonymously).


Q: Remaining tree separation? How high should I trim up limbs on remaining trees? How much and what debris should be left on the ground for natural fertilizers? How do thinning companies   work and what equipment do they use?

A: Tree spacing depends on the characteristics of the tree, especially shade tolerance.  Pruning doesn’t have to take place at all – it’s a cultural practices that is used to accomplish certain      objectives like fire protection, aesthetics, wood quality, disease prevention, and other considerations.  Your DNR landowner assistance forester can work with you to develop             specification based on your management needs and expectations.  Anytime you can leave the tree branches in the woods is preferable for nutrient recycling.  Typically power or hand-saws are used for pruning and non-commercial thinning.


Q:  I recently learned that limbing trees is a hinderance to wildfires – I wish I knew that earlier – can someone give general fire prevention – like 3 things?

A:  For advice on the basics of preparing, see the guide ‘How to Prepare for a Wildfire.’

Cost-share opportunities for Central and Eastern Washington are available to non-federal owners of fewer than 5,000 acres of forestland seeking to improve forest health and reduce the threats of wildfire and bark beetle damage. Living with Fire is a helpful guide for homeowners to learn to live in a natural fire environment.

Defend Your Home from Wildfire: flyer in English & Spanish


Q: What I would have liked to know was the pearls and tricks for road and trail maintenance.

A: Water is not your friend, and use timing is everything. Too much to write but these pubs provide important pearls and tricks.

A Landowners Guide to Building Access Roads, and Roads on Small Acreage Forests


Q: I need a chainsaw class, for sure.  I have a TON of thinning to do on 32 acres in Colville.

A: WSU Extension offers chainsaw safety and maintenance classes throughout the year, sometimes at big events like a winter school, or sometimes as stand-alone workshops. Due to COVID protections, those meetings have been postponed.  In lieu of face-to-face trainings, WSU recommends the STHIL SAFETY SERIES available online.


Q: I have some baby cedars I transplanted from my garden last year. I was wondering if I should raise them in pots another year or plant them this spring.

A: There is no harm in transplanting them in cool, moist location, free of competing vegetation and with at least filtered if not full sunshine.  Cedar need light to grow, but can survive with a little some shade.  A big challenge is protecting cedar seedlings from animals browsing on them, especially deer.


Q: We lost several trees in Labor Day wind – up to 4′ diameter, all adjacent to a creek – what can we do with the volume of wood?  what should we plant in the aftermath?

A: That sounds like a complicated project because special permission, equipment, and operations   will probably be required to access and yard trees of that size out of a streamside forest.  You may find that the complexity of the job will be so costly to execute that it’s not worth the trouble. Large, downed trees near creeks can be a really beneficial addition to the riparian forest    ecologic function and the aquatic organisms like fish and bugs that get their food chain kick-start by the   dead tree inputs for nutrients, shade, and structure.  The healthiest streams actually have a lot of down and dead trees in them.  I would contact Todd Olson from the DNR, who works for the Small Forest Landowner Office and whose job it is to help landowners on-site with  these kinds of challenges.  If you hire a reputable forester, they ought to be able to work with   the regulations to maximize your volume recovery from this vicinity while protecting the “Steam   Management Zone” habitats.  That same forester can also help you merchandise your oversized            timber. If there is more than 5 large trees per acre down, there is potential for bark beetle infestations.  If this is the case, if the down trees are Douglas-fir, and if you do not expect to remove the trees, some forest managers will adhere a bubble cap of MCH to repel bark beetles.  As for replanting, unless it’s red alder, which had become uncharacteristically more abundant  in riparian forests due to past timber harvesting than any other species, I would stick with shade tolerant and moisture loving species such as western red cedar, Sitka spruce, and western hemlock.  You might even try some redwoods!


Q: What are some online chainsaw safety, maintenance, felling, and bucking videos?

A: Here is an example that demonstrates a variety of felling techniques.  For safety and maintenance, I use the Stihl website.  During both the WSU winter schools and Forest Owners Field Days, we try to hold at least one clinic for saw maintenance where you will learn proper   inspection, disassembly and assembly, cleaning air, fuel, electric, suspension, and cutting  systems.  Also, chain sharpening.


Q: I am interested in acquiring a plot to start with. What resources are available for newbies like to me to connect with sellers of land plots.

A: County assessors and consulting foresters both receive many communications from selling parties.


Q: What do you think about western Washington re fires and prescribed burns?

A: I think broadcast burning of debris is helpful for removing slash and clearing a site after a timber harvest.  Sometimes you can accomplish this condition by whole-tree yarding and processing the trees into logs on the lands, then piling the slash until you burn, chip, or truck away from the            site.  But anytime you can leave small branches and needles on the landscape, you can slowly release the nutrients back into the soild through decomposition.  Burning does create smoke which can impact air quality, though this can be planned for and executed at a time when the smoke will predictably lift, transport, and disperse into the atmosphere – thus reducing the negative air quality impacts on communities.  The other concern I have with prescribed, broadcast burns are the risk associated with the fire escaping the site.  With proper training and equipment, this risk should be manageable.


Q: Blackberry control?

A: Several herbicide controls are discussed in the PNW Weeds Handbook.  Mechanically, blackberry can be mowed, and then either chemically treated, or covered to inhibit regrowth.


Q: What about forest roads… many and how do you determine placement?

A: Gather as much information about your land as possible, then walk the ground with your contractor.  Chances are, you will know your land better than anyone else.  Bring topographic maps and aerial photos.  The construction locations and building considerations list is long.  Use one of many guides to help you “check the precaution boxes” while planning construction. Generally, you will want a 12ft running area, and you should determine if this road will be temporary or a permanent road, and if it is permanent, will it be a seasonal or all-season road.  Check with DNR for advice on protection and permitting concerns.


Q: I am new landowner of a sloped 20 acre east facing spot in western WA- what recommendations do you have for starting to build our forest management plan?

A: Determine what you love about your land (your values), what you want to accomplish with your property (your objectives), study what you have (inventory your forest resource conditions), then develop a game plan for achieving your management goals.  I always suggest a walk-in-the-           woods with a DNR forester.  Get a professional assessment of your land and participate in the review.  The DNR provides this service through their Forest Stewardship Program. Some  conservation districts do too.  Matt Provencher is your westside stewardship forester.  I also encourage new owners to get connected to educational resources like WSU Extension Forestry.

FOWS 2021 Q&A – Working with consulting foresters

Working with consulting foresters


Answers from:

Jeff DeBell, CF, Cascade Woodland Design, Inc. Mobile  360-791-6106.

Dennis Parent, CF, Assoc. Consulting Foresters. DRPforestry, LLC. Mobile 208-755-6687.

Brian J. Vrablick, CF, Assoc. Consulting Foresters, American Forest Management. (509) 939-5503.

Q: If I am interested in selective thinning, what would that process look like? I know there isn’t as    much money in selective thinning, but I would like to retain some of my forest for a cabin view.

A: As the forest owner, you should decide why you value your property, evaluate all your forest resource conditions, consider your feasible choices and trade-offs for protecting and/ or   enhancing your forest resources to meet ownership objectives, determine what your tolerance to risk is if you choose your “do nothing” alternative, and then develop and execute a logical game plan for achieving success and maximizing your forestland benefits. Managing a timber harvest is complicated, you call the shots, and the liability is on the landowner. Hiring a consulting forester to manage your timber sale helps assure that your land will be prepared for   timber harvesting, protected during the operation, and restored to grow a healthy and productive forest after the timber harvest activities.  Activities you will need to do include:  locating property boundaries; handling all aspects of timber sales administration, i.e. advertising the sale, managing the bidding process, etc.; logging performance inspections; harvest coordination in conjunction with logging crew leader; marking sale boundaries (including Streamside Management Zones); determining thinning requirements, harvesting method, skid    trail layout, location and quantities of decks, road building, intensity of tree removal and density of residual stand; post-harvest clean-up; site preparation; reforestation; mapping; and sometimes wildlife habitat improvement (deer, turkey, quail, duck, etc.).  You will need to work with the WA Dept of Natural Resources to obtain a Forest Practices Permit. You will then need  to layout the timber harvest according to resource protection rules and regulations, and your desired outcomes. There are dozens of measures to consider, even just for thinning.  In fact, because you would leave timber standing for a cabin view, you need to consider safety from tree breakage and blowdown that could impact yourself and property.  Your also need to hire   contractors and some way to get the logs to the mill.  A consulting forester takes on your responsibility as your representative for the harvest management, taking care of permitting and other legal considerations and protections, provides a valuation of the benefits and costs, merchandises the timber, and prepares the site for regeneration and your personal use.


Q: What is the most environmentally friendly form of slash management?

A: Any harvest that leaves nutrients in the woods (tops, limbs, stumps and roots), minimizes water and soil disturbance and displacement, and leaves and protects some key features such as downed wood, snags, riparian trees, and a few big “legacy trees” is considered environmentally friendly.


Q: Can you redisplay the resources slide, Brian (last slide)?



Q: Where can I find a resource that defines log sizes such as 2 saw, 3 saw, 4 saw, etc. for different   types of trees.

A: Here is an easy-to-use bulletin which follows the Northwest Log Rules Advisory Group


Q: Are there markets for making forest slash into biodiesel?

A: Not really, but it has been done.


Q: Is there a list of Certified Foresters to use to locate a member close to our properties?

A: Society of American Foresters ; Association of Consulting Foresters ; WSU Extension Directory


Q: Are smaller lots (for example, under 5 acres) not required to file a Forest Practice Application?

A: WA landowners do not need an FP permit if timber is not sold, and/or is below 5,000 board feet. Forest Practices that may require a permit include: harvesting timber, salvaging standing and down wood, constructing forest roads, opening or expanding a rock pit on forest land for forestry use, operating in or over any typed water and applying forest chemicals with an aircraft.


Q: What does ‘remember soil depth to hold up your leave trees’ mean?

A: This question was regarding leave trees after a commercial thinning.  Soggy soils and gusting winds are usually the reason that trees blow over.  Sometimes Ice and snow can weigh down a tree so much that it is pulled over under the weight of the crown when the soils are soaked.  And sometimes the roots are decayed by a fungus, or root material is severed from a construction project.  Shallow or rocky soils can also fail the tree, and it uproots in a storm or under the weight of snow or ice.  If trees grew up crowded and competed for growing space,  that could limit root spread needed for stabilization.  And some species just grow narrower roots, making them vulnerable to soil failures.

FOWS 2021 Q&A – Panel — Current timber markets

Panel — Current timber markets


Answers from:

Tom Westergreen, WA Tree Farm Program, Forester.  cell  360-961-0312;

Chris Magruder, Boise Cascade, Log Buyer. 1274 S. Boise Rd., Kettle Falls, WA 99141. O: 509-738-3269; C: 509-680-0217; F: 509-738-3296.

Bill Turner, Sierra Pacific Inc, Log Buyer. Cell 360-770-5097,

Dennis Parent, Association of Consulting Foresters, DRPforestry, LLC. 2735 W. Ashland Lane;  Hayden, ID 83835. Mobile 208-755-6687.

Tom Westergreen, Tree Farmer

Tom earned a degree in Forest Management from WSU and spent a rewarding career in the private forest industry, that allowed him to do a wide variety of jobs from, reforestation, nursery manager, tree improvement, logging supervisor, log sales and log purchasing.  Now retired, pursing his passion of being a full time certified tree farm owner and advocating for other small forest landowners.  He is a long time certified forester through the Society of American Foresters, active leader in the Washington Farm Forestry Association and Whatcom Chapter and long time Washington Tree Farm Program Inspector and continues as NW Region Inspector Coordinator.

Chris Magruder, Log Buyer, Boise Cascade, Inland PNW

I have currently been with Boise Cascade for 11 years.  I started as a contract coordinator in our timber sales department, then along to timber sales supervisor; cruising, appraising, procuring, and administering purchased stumpage.  In 2015 I transitioned to our log purchase department where I still am today, which I now purchase private logs as it gets scaled. (Gatewood)

I originally grew up in Montesano where my dad worked as a forester for Boise Cascade, then we followed my dad to Ellensburg with Boise where he was North Central timberlands manager, then on the Yakima where he became the plywood plant supervisor.

I went along my way to college and then had a separate professional career and lived in Arizona which I ended in 2006 to go back to my roots so to speak. My wife and family then moved back to Yakima where I then went back to school at UW and received my forestry degree.  I’ve been in Colville with Boise Cascade since 2010.  Our procurement department supplies raw logs to three Northeast Washington locations.  The plywood plant (DF/L) in Kettle Falls, and two pine mills.  The large pine mill in Kettle Falls, and a small pine mill in Arden.

Bill Turner, Washington Log Procurement Manager, Sierra Pacific Industries

Bill has a BS degree in Forest Management from Humboldt State University. He has been involved in timber management and log buying throughout California, Oregon and Washington and also purchased logs in Mexico and Canada. Bill started working for Sierra Pacific Industries in 2010. He is now responsible for the log and timber acquisition program for Sierra Pacific’s four Washington Sawmills located in Aberdeen, Centralia, Shelton and Mount Vernon. Sierra Pacific is the largest lumber producer in the state of Washington and the only company that has built new sawmills in the state in the last 20 years. Sierra Pacific is a family owned company that is committed to sustainably managing the more than 2 million acres of forest land that the company owns, as well as promoting and helping others sustainably manage their land.

Dennis Parent, Assoc. Consulting Foresters.  DRP started out his career logging in 1972!

Then he worked for a saw mill in Coeur d’Alene 1972-77. Most of his career was as a forester working in nearly every capacity for Inland Empire Paper Company in Spokane WA, a paper company that owned about 100,000 acres of timberland and sold logs to area sawmills. During all that time he managed to earn two additional M.S. degrees and go through the USFS CEFES program, but that is ancient history. At his age, he realizes that experience counts more than education, but both are good.

In 2014, he “retired” from IEP, joined the Association of Consulting Foresters, and has been a consulting forester since. “This is definitely the best part of my career and I look forward to helping Tree Farmers with their woodland challenges.”


Q: Is Covid-19 the main reason for high wood prices ? I just had my house framed near Seattle and the lumber prices were over 50% higher than pre-Covid 19.  Which part of the supply chain is receiving most of this increase?

A: Low-interest rates have stimulated building (new and DIY’rs) and there’s not enough lumber to   go around. Supply and demand are out of sync, and the pandemic is to blame but the factors are      complicated in a lot of ways.  The big box stores being designated as ‘essential businesses’ did a number on lumber supply. The upswing in demand coinciding with mills shutting down (temp) for COVID protections.  Big box stores reported record profits during this period. But instead of building shutting down, it did the opposite as mills ramped back up and interest rates were low. Contractors looked all over to find available lumber!  The supply chain has just not been able to catch up.  Log prces are really good for forest owners selling timber!


Q: Can we log then hold logged timbers for good prices?

A: Douglas-fir can be held for months, but pine needs to be processed pretty quickly.  Fungal discoloring (“bluestain fungus”) makes the wood lose favor for value, but the wood quality is still solid.  So don’t be afraid to use blue stained wood, but don’t expect to sell it like you would other white wood like ponderosa and lodgepole pine.


Q: Are there any mills around Lewis County? I have 90% Douglas-fir.

A: TimberWest Magazine puts out a nice map.


Q: What are the volumes coming from USFS in EWA?  Are they higher currently, which drives down the prices for family forest landowners?

A: Large volumes are coming from public, tribal lands, and industrial lands.


Q: Is there a good source to monitor current price trends in general?

A: DNR monitors street value monthly.  Look under “Delivered Log Price Survey”


Q: What diameters are generally the sweet spot?

A: Sweet spot for log diameters varies for each mill.  Each Mill will provide a specification sheet that states their preferred log sizes, diameters, and lengths.  It will also include species, sizes and lengths they DON’T want, that will really hurt your bottom line.  So, it is really important to make sure your logger knows which mill each log is going to.


Q: If bigger logs sell at lower prices, what is the ideal size to sell? 12″, 24?”

A: Oversized logs would be trimmed, so that wood is essentially given away.  There are specialty markets/mills that will take large pieces and logs.  Seek them out and ask around before you give wood away.  One near Colville is called Woodworker Network.


Q: How do you determine forester fee. What percentage and how calculated.

A: Differs depending on the job.  Sometimes it is hourly, sometimes if associated with a timber harvest, it could be a percentage basis.


Q: Do we sign a contract with a consulting forester?

A: Yes, you should.


Q: I’ve also felt that 5-30 acres is laughed. Is that universal?

A: Not true.  You probably need to work with a credible forester.


Q: Small landowners doing their own work, thinning, will have only 1 – 3 truck loads a year, what advice do you have for them, again, how long can a fir log sit waiting for a truck load to be ready

A: Small DIY gives you the opportunity to do your homework, seek out best prices and work with     specialty buyers.  Doug-fir can sit for months, but pine should be dealt with in weeks.


Q: What are carbon markets?

A: The idea for a carbon market is that trees sequester carbon and store it in the form of wood (above and below ground).  This “service” is considered a product and therefore selling carbon offsets has monetary value which can be a viable alternative income source for family forest owners.  Learn More HERE


Q: Please list the organizations or services available to help landowners


FOWS 2021 Q&A – Panel — Working with a land trust

Panel — Working with a land trust

(Answers by Chris Deforest, Bob & Jane Takai)

Chris Deforest, Inland NW Land Conservancy, Conservation Director, 35 West Main Avenue, Ste 210.
Spokane, WA 99201. Office 509-328-2939; Cell 509-863-7848.

Bob and Jane Takai, Forest Landowners,

Q: What’s a land trust?

A: An organization that protects land and waters for public benefit. Most are non-profits; some agencies operate like land trusts. Land trusts often use a mix of public and private partnerships. Land Trusts are special in that we are NOT a political or adversarial group. We’re the low blood pressure people. We work only with willing private landowners, and we work in tandem with all kinds of conservation partners. 32-41 in Washington State. (Screen share WALT and LTA).

Basic tools: Land trusts sometimes buy land to hold as preserves, or hold land as an intermediary, or enter conservation agreements on land (“conservation easements.”) This session’s focus is about conservation easements between a land owner and a land trust.

Q: How:
A: Land Trusts speak of a conservation toolbox. There are many possible tools to identify, protect and safeguard important lands. Every land trust has its own priorities and its own supporters.

The main tools that land trusts use to protect lands are:

  1. Buying land outright as a preserve.
  2. Accepting gifts of land.Facilitating deals with our conservation partners like wildlife agencies, parks departments, and utilities like Avista.
  3. Conservation easements. We have 62, covering 12,000 acres. Statewide 866k acres of land protected. Nationally 56MA, 1300 land trusts, 5 million supporters, 200k volunteers, 15k board members and 10k staff.

Q: What are Conservation easements:

A: Property rights are like a box of pencils. You can set some of the rights aside and keep the rest. Say you have 100 acres of land, zoned one house per ten acres. CE is a Permanent protective covenant. Permanent quarantine for some of the property rights, and permanent sideboards for the exercise of other reserved rights. Examples: forestry and development envelopes. State statutes and federal law govern conservation easements.

Stewardship/Monitoring: Land trusts visit all of their conservation easements in person at least once a year. More often if necessary. We make sure that the conservation values are intact and that the terms of the conservation easement are being upheld. We have a policy for dealing with infractions, and have only had to threaten legal action once. We also carry $500k of easement defense insurance.

Stewardship Fund: Whenever we take on a conservation easement, we sock away money in the Stewardship Fund to cover the future costs of monitoring and insuring the added burden. The amounts have ranged from $3-$20k per easement.

Q: Why would I care? My life is full and my trees are growing.

A: Well—-it protects the land for good. It can be part of your estate planning. (Ties to the Land). If you donate the conservation easement, you’re entitled to a charitable income tax deduction and it may cut your estate taxes. It might help with property taxes—talk to your county assessor. If you can sell the conservation easement, you’ll be getting paid for the uses that you never want to see happen on your land, like subdivision and development and conversion of the land.

Q: How do I find my land trust? How do I find out more about conservation easements?


Bob and Jane Takai (featured landowners) placed a CE on their 250-acre Newman Lake forest in 2001. It has their house on it, and it allows a second house someday. Forest mgt follows a forest mgt plan. The Takai’s get the money when they log, they pay the taxes, they own the land. But they have quarantined the development rights forever. And they enlisted Inland Northwest Land Conservancy to make it stick, forever.

Q: Can you plant a field with trees. Will they survive?

A: Andy Perleberg Planting a field is the most challenging reforestation (or “afforestation”) you will ever conduct. Ask for advice if you are concerned about the loss of seedlings.

Q: Is the land discussed in Eastern or Western WA

A: Featured landowners are from Newman Lake, east of Spokane (eastern WA).

Q: What percentage of trees do you leave when you log?

A: Tree species, # per acre, size, are all part of your regeneration plan based on your management goals. The DNR Forest Stewardship Program foresters can meet with you to answer these types of questions.

Q: What happens when you die?

A: The conservation easement continues. It runs with the land. It is permanent protection for the land, recorded at the courthouse like any other easement for a road or powerline.

Q: Can the easement be removed?

A: Most land trusts only do permanent easements, not temporary. Some government easements are time-limited. Land trusts can’t undo easements.

Q: Is it (a conservation easement) really forever?

A:Yes. Conservation easements are permanent. They are recorded in the county courthouse. Government can sometimes exercise eminent domain over land with a conservation easement but the bar is high to prove that it’s essential.

Q: Can they be changed in the future?

A: Most land trusts will agree to change the easement if it enhances the conservation values, like adding acreage or shrinking the development area. We can’t “loosen the belt” just because a landowner wants to relax the protections on the land.

Q: What happens if the land trust ceases to exist?

A: A court transfers the easement to another qualified easement holder, such as another land trust or government entity.

Q: Are there fees/costs to easement?

A: Yes. When land trusts purchase easements, they may have the funding to cover the costs. For donated easements, the landowner generally has to pay for title insurance. Depending on the land trust, the landowner may be asked to cover other costs, such as paying for staff time, documentation, surveys, and so on. The landowner may be asked to contribute to a Stewardship Fund that helps endow the future costs of upholding the conservation easement’s protections. If the landowner donates the conservation easement AND wants to take a tax deduction, s/he will need to hire a qualified appraiser to determine the value of the easement. Those appraisals are expensive.

Q: Can I tailor the terms of the easement agreement

A: Yes, up to a point. Each CE is tailored to the land, and to what the landowner wants and what the land trust agrees to. Each land trust is different.

Q: Are there financial benefits?

A:There can be. If you donate the CE, you’re making a donation to a charity (the land trust). You can take a federal charitable tax deduction for the value of the CE. If you can’t use the whole amount in one year, you can carry over unused amounts for up to 15 years. Ask your tax advisor. A conservation easement may also be valuable as part of your estate planning, and for federal estate taxes although the threshold is currently quite high.

Q: What if future owner violates part of agreement?

A: The land trust will enforce the terms of the conservation easement. Each land trust has its own enforcement policy. Many land trusts carry conservation easement insurance through TerraFirma.

Q: What was special about the (Takai Family’s) property that made the Land Trust interested in preserving it?

A: The Takai property has diverse, healthy forests and their land protects an important stream leading into Newman Lake, which recharges our aquifer. Each land trust has its own mission. Check out their website, and ours.

Q: What kind of land is your LC interested in?

A: Usually they are looking for specific habitats to preserve.

Q: Do land trusts ever sell parcels back?

A: We don’t actually own any of our 62 conservation easement properties, so we can’t sell them. If you are asking about land that is sold or given outright to a land trust, it depends on the terms of the transaction. If we are buying or accepting it as a preserve, we hold it. If it is a gift of real estate that we intend to turn around and sell as ordinary real estate, we put that in writing BEFORE we accept the gift.

Q: Do easements deal with hunting or no hunting?

A: Depends on the land trust. Our CEs are usually silent on the issue. It’s a right that most landowners want to keep. In a couple of instances landowners have insisted that the CE prohibit hunting. We have accepted the language but told the landowner up front that as a practical matter, our enforcement will be limited to helping post signs.

Q: What is the “Tree Farm System” that was mentioned?

A: American Tree Farm System is a national forestland certification program that is internationally recognized for managing by certified standards of sustainability. . In Washington state, there is no fee for certification. Family forest owners with 10 or more contiguous forest acres are eligible to be a certified forest, managed by the WA Tree Farm Program.

Q: Are there rewards possible within any Land Trust format that would offer later benefits to the land grantor?

A: Not sure what is being asked here. All of our conservation easements allow the landowner to improve the environment such as by planting trees, managing their forests, restoring stream corridors and wetlands and so on.

Q: How to we access the Washington Forest Practices Act?

A: WA Forest Practices Act is probably best accessed here at the WA Dept. of Natural Resources wesbsite, where the Forest Practices Rules, Board Manual, and an Illustrated Guide can often be most useful.

Q: Could someone purchase the land and clearcut it to create pastures or do they have to keep the land in forests?

A: The conservation easement will spell out the uses of the land. Our easements are mostly on working forests like the Takais, and the forested lands stay forested. (Andy Perleberg’s note: sometimes clear cuts are a preferred regeneration system for growing healthy tree species intolerant of shade like coastal Douglas-fir. Also, clearcutting may be a form of sanitation of a stand that has been impacted by a pathogen, or some abiotic damage agent such as a wildfire or a wind storm.)

Q: Has anyone researched the sale of carbon credits from land trust forests?

A: Many have. I don’t have time right now to pursue, or to make recommendations.

Q: Crystal Lake and carbon credits…. what was not mature enough… that land, or something about the process?

A: I can’t answer this. (Andy Perleberg’s note: I believe she was referring to the trees, as carbon credits are often accounted for by the additionality of stored, growing carbon)

Q: Will the power point be available?

A: I spoke from talking points and am happy to email it. You can ask the Takais.