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#7  In the woods, explanations by Will Hatcher, Rick Ward, Allen Foreman, Mr Mitchell, and Don Gentry. Many questions by the group regarding forest practice proposals and deer-take practices.

Tribes estimated costs for brush thinning, and cost-effective suggestions from crowd.

Will Hatcher: This is going to be a high-cost stand to push back towards densities that are sustainable to keep this part of the forest from burning up. The pine market is low. The small-diameter pines basically don’t pay for themselves in a treatment, so this stand would definitely cost a lot of money, probably on the order of around, I’d say $400 to $500 per acre, taking into consideration pre-commercial thinning and brush treatment, and then prescribed fire, and that’s just a rough estimate.

Dan Keppen: Is there any sort of a market for this small diameter stuff and the brush? I mean, is there?

Hatcher: The brush, there is not. The small diameter, yea, there is a market, but it is so flat and low that you just can’t make money off it. The chip market is gone.

David King: When you say your are going to spend $400 or $500 an acre. That is an upfront deal in like 1 or 2 years, and do you feel that that investment will last you for 20 years, or will you have to redo that investment?

Hatcher: The reinvestment you would have to do after you’ve got it down to a level where you can manage, would be in prescribed fire, which is probably $50 to $60 an acre.

Someone: Okay, and that’s included in your $450?

Hatcher: Yes, the $450 would, it’s probably going to cost you about $250 an acre to treat this brush mechanically. Let’s say $200 to $250. And then, you are going to have another $100 a acre, for the thinning, maybe a little less than that, and then what ever else for the prescribed fire part.

tour stop, photo by Barb Hall

Will Hatcher

Someone: Where would that money come from?

Hatcher: That money would come from appropriated funds, just like the Forest Service does. Any stand thinning, that you don’t have a viable commercial timber sale, comes out of appropriated funds.


Gerda Hyde, elderly rancher: So where to the appropriated funds come from?

Hatcher: They come from the Federal Government.

Gerda: And where does that come from?

Hatcher: That comes from taxpayers.

Gerda: Yes!

Hatcher: I understand that. Give me your point. Laughter.

Another man: Couldn’t you harvest the big trees that you want though to offset some of your costs.

Hatcher: We will not… Okay, I need to state this upfront. We are going to forgo harvesting large ponderosa pine, and by large I mean 21 inches in diameter, for I’d say probably the first, probably half a century. Right now, the problem is the small-diameter trees.

Man: Yea, but your big-diameter trees… There are 3 of them sitting there right behind you. If you took that one right square behind you out there and the other big one over there beside it to offset your cost, then you could pay for your project as you went.

Hatcher: Um hum, that’s one way to look at it. We’re not looking at it that way. We’re trying to maintain this structure and type of tree. These large trees like this are central to the Tribes restoration management plan.

Man: But don’t you get your hoppin fires like you talk about by having lots of large trees?

Hatcher: No, you get them from these small trees like this here giving a ladder up into them.

Man: Okay.

Man: Does that management scheme, where you cut no trees larger than 21 inches, being imposed on you by somebody?

Hatcher: It’s not being imposed. It’s definitely not an ecological reason for doing it.

Foreman: We had that in our policy, and it’s up for review like every 5 years.

Hatcher: At some point in time, we will evaluate the effect of having a 21-inch diameter limitation of the forest, and if there is a negative impact, then we will amend the plan.

Man: As a forester, don’t you find it a little offensive to have something laid on you, like a standard like that--21-inches it stays? Don’t you think you think you are capable of deciding which trees here ought to go or could go?

Hatcher: In the short term I’m probably not offended. But, I would be offended if those 21-inch trees are causing detriment to the environment, to the forest, but like I said, right now the problem is these small trees. The reservation, on average, has got about 380-some trees per acre, most of them in these small trees. Historically, we’re talking probably around 40 or 50 trees per acre.

Man: That gets us back to Gerta's question, who pays appropriated funds to pay for this… Then, this is de facto national park.

Man: Yea, where does the cash flow come from?

Foreman: Another way though, for everyone to look at this, is the fact that we will be required through legislation to manage this for the general public, and if the general public is going to enjoy the benefits, then obviously there is going to have to be some offset. That has been told to us. Any legislation will be required to manage for the benefit of the general public.

Hatcher: I need to back up to, as far as being able to talk real firm about costs and where they are going to come from and what is going to pay for what. The business plan is still being developed for this, so I don’t really want to jump the gun. That is still in a developmental stage of the plan; one that was brought forth by (62). That is what Dr. Johnson will be working into the plan.

Keppen: Can we talk about any of the things that you think would actually generate cash flow? That is the question I have. I know self-sufficiency is a big, important part of all this, and appropriations, you know, and critics will say that is not self-sufficiency.

Hatcher: Basically what is going to create revenue is the harvesting of timber.

Keppen: The smaller timber then. Is that what you are talking about?

Hatcher: Yea. The ponderosa pine is in the dumps basically, the market for that. Lodge pole pine and white fir, in particular, you can make money off the small diameter trees there, and we have a lot of those species that need to be, some of those stands need to be knocked back, so when you are planning a restoration project, you would try to incorporate a mix of those different forest types and try to help pay for something that doesn’t generate much revenue with something that does. But overall, I’m going to be upfront, I don’t think it will pay for itself. I really don’t, because there is so much work to do and so much expensive work to do, particularly when you start dealing with this brush.

Kehn Gibson, reporter of Tri County Courier: would the Tribe modify their plan if the market in pine itself changed? I mean if you could pay for 2 acres with a few selected trees larger than 21 inches, would that?

Hatcher No, no because these large trees right here are probably going for about $800 or $900 per thousand now.  There is a market for those.

Gibson: But if there was change in that market, would that modify your plan?

Hatcher: No. It’s not an economically driven plan. It’s a restoration-driven plan.

Bob Gasser, co-owner of Basin Fertilizer: I have a question. I think you have some great ideas. But the question is – has it been funding why we haven’t done these sorts of projects 20 years ago?

Hatcher: You’ll have to ask the Forest Service that.

Man: I’ll believe it when I see it.

David King, Project Irrigator: Mr. Foreman indicated earlier that this would also be to benefit other people in the community, and so how would I as a person who, down by the border, benefit from this?

King: Well earlier you just stated something about, you know, the management plan was to not only benefit the tribes but also to benefit other members of the community. I’m just wondering how myself as a member of the community would benefit from this.

Foreman: Well, not too much different than what you do today. I mean, you come out and utilize the area for esthetic value, recreation, hunting, fishing, and things like that, and obviously we are going to be required to operate it for that.

King: You guys will manage the game for, like selling tags as well. That would be a possible source of revenue for you.

Foreman: Yea, that is one area that we are going to have to work out with the state.

Hatcher:  Does your benefit question more leaning towards access and the ability to hunt and the ability to fish?

Man: Yeah.

Hatcher:  That is something I couldn’t answer. That is a policy question for government.

Rick Ward, wildlife biologist: I mean one of the objectives of this particular spot we’re in, this is part of the Lone Pine winter range as well for mule and this is kind of like the picture I showed of the different part of the Lone Pine winter range. But, you look at this thicket here, and there is no forage in there for mule deer. The brush that you do have is old and crusty and not producing anymore good forage, so you know, like I said, one of the primary objectives of the Tribe is to increase the mule deer population, and if you hunt, then that is directly a benefit to you.

Deb Crisp, Tulelake Growers Association Executive Director: So with regarding the hunting rights. What are the harvest levels that the Tribes are allowed today?

Ward:  One tag per month per individual.

Crisp:  So 1 mule deer per month per tribal member.

Ward:  Yea, and that changes throughout the year depending on the season and what not. So, it’s different in the wintertime than it is the rest of the year.

Man: Not everybody hunts.

Person. No. No. Not by any means.

Crisp: No, I’m sure they don’t, but that’s what the allowance is.

Man: Um hum.

Luther Horsley: Well, how did you say you were going to get rid of this mature brush?

Hatcher: Through mowing. There are a couple of different types of machines. One is a mower that you pull behind a tractor of sorts, and another one is called a slash buster. It sits on an excavator-type machine with a long arm that reaches about 30 feet with sort of a rotating head on it, and it does a fine job of busting that brush up.

Man: Then you would pile that and burn it then, right?

Hatcher: No it pulverizes it. It’s gone. It’s basically gone.

Crisp: Mulch. It powders it.

Man: Then does it come back from the ground then?

Hatcher:  Yeah. In fact, I’m working with the Forest Service. We did some bushing this spring, and within a month there were new leaders already coming off the pulverized stump.

Bob Flowers, Project Irrigator: It works along the same line as burning the top of the grass in a field to regenerate.

Hatcher: Yea, it stimulates the growth in it. Course, that is an initial response. There are still reserves in the root systems. We would want to go back next year, the next year, a couple years back to make sure that it is going to keep doing that. It may be just a death row too.

Ward: There is some evidence that the really old stuff that only has part of the top alive, if you knock that back, there is some evidence that after a couple of years… It will sprout, but then it will die off after a couple of years.

Becky Hyde: How bout some contract grazing to do the same job?

Man: Goats?

Becky: Cattle! …could come in a graze a lot of the bitterbrush off. I mean... It’s just a thought. I know that it’s getting to micromanaging.

Ward: You know the way bitterbrush works, I mean, I don’t see cattle using it once it get to this stage either.

Man: Many people here could comment on that better than I could.

Gerda Hyde: If you would have a lot of cattle for a short time on this, you would get rid of this bitterbrush, and it’d be great for next year. It wouldn’t cost you anything especially.

Hatcher: I bet you’re a rancher.

Gerda: I’m a rancher.

Becky: Not for a long time though. You could do it prescripted.

Hatcher: That’s a method.

Becky: I’m just trying to think of relations, how we can all get along.

Jeff Mitchell, tribal member: Well, I just wanted to clarify for the gentleman who asked about taking the trees out over here. He’s talking about the ladder fields over in there that would reach up and get up into the crown. If a fire went through right here, it wouldn’t reach up high enough to get up, you know, to start the crown in areas like that.

Hatcher: But it could. These trees here have had decades of buildup. A fire could still kill trees by basically burning the layer at the ground level. That happens quite frequently and…

Man: Well, those 3 trees are in competition for the nutrients in the soil. If you took the biggest one, then the other two would do better.

Hatcher: They’re not going to release any great growth bursts. They’ve lived together quite well for probably the last say 150 to 200 years.

Man: What I am saying, if you take the biggest one out, then the other two are libel to grow faster than just all 3 of them sitting together.

Hatcher: I kind of like the structure of those trees.

Man: Oh, you do?

Hatcher: You must be a logger.

Person: That is just his opinion. It would make an awful nice…

Biomass, power generation plans

Man: There is some talk about a biomass. Would some of this small stuff… Wouldn’t that make sense?

Man: Yea, there is.  Somebody in the Tribe is starting to look at the bio mass or a very small cogeneration plant, whatever. Whoever is involved in that might want to speak up. I’m not involved in it. But that would definitely be a market for trees just this size right here that don’t have any milling market ability.

Man: Yeah, we’re certainly looking into other alternatives and … Whatever that would work.

Man: Who is involved in that in the Tribe? The small diameter…

Hatcher: Allen, who is that? Is Jess still looking into that?

Foreman: Yeah, Jeff and myself.

Hatcher: Oh, there’s Jeff.

Mitchell: There were a lot of good questions that were asked about the markets and the cost of treatment here, and you know, we’ve gone through 30 or 40 years of a terrific change in management direction, and the result of that, in shifting policies across the United States, you know, has resulted in a forest that looks like this, and there are huge challenges that we are facing to get this forest back to health again, and the cost for doing these types of treatments are extraordinary. We’re looking at markets right now, examining markets very closely, and to try to figure out how the Tribes can best address this issue of paying for the kind of restoration that we are proposing out here. Renewable energy, biomass, is something that we’re looking very closely at right now. We’ve teamed up with Klamath County Economic Development, and we’ve secured some funding, Klamath County Economic Development, to start doing some initial assessment in Klamath County. We’re proud of that type of relationship and working together on a collaborative level. Where that’s going to take us? Well, we’re going to look at various sites around the county and assess those. We’re going to look at the resources out here and assess those. We’re looking at the management objectives of the Tribe and what the potential is for these resources, and what we think have got to be in terms of chip material that will be feed stock for that type of industry. As the Tribes plan rolls out here and you see the kinds of prescriptions that we are going to be proposing out here, it is ambitious, and it’s challenging.

For us, we look at these stands out here that are the most valuable on the reservation, and we need to protect those, not only for ourselves but for the community, for the county as well. We don’t want to see the kind of stand-replacement fires that you are going to see later on in here, on this tour, come through here because that is devastating to all of us. When you lose that type of resource here, and the amount of time it takes for that to replace itself on its this east side, you know, it’s too long. We need to get into those types of stands that are most valuable. We need to institute prescriptions that are going to allow us to protect those and move out from there. How are we going to pay for that? Well, the question that Gerta brought up about funding. That is the big one. So, through cogeneration, excuse me, I mean biomass, we’re looking at that as a potential, viable industry that will create new markets there in this county that will allow us to be able to achieve those goals. The size of the plant, the location of the plant, those things are all ideas that we are looking at. We’re actually looking at coupling that with gas as well, so we’re not entirely depended upon 1 feedstock source. We’ve learned some lessons from what the city of Klamath Falls has done with their cogeneration plant, and they’ve done some very good things there. We’ve learned from how they’ve taken the water from the city down there and have used that as their cooling source. We think that is real ingenious. We’re looking at the city of Chiloquin and some of their wastewater issues and trying to figure out, is that a marriage that would work? So, all of these things are still in the assessment stages. We’ve pulled together a team. We’re bringing in some of the top biomass people that we can find, just like we did with the forest management team. That is the key to success. We find ourselves the best people in the industry, and we bring them in here to work with us to try to help us map out a strategy to reach that goal, and we’re going to do the same with biomass. We’re going to do it with Klamath County’s involvement. We’re going to do it with the people in the community’s involvement. It’s not just a benefit to the Tribes having a healthy forest here. It’s a benefit to all of us. That is what that it. It protects our watershed. Some of you know and have been up on the Long Bell tract. We’ve seen the loss of the over story in that part of the forest up there. We know how that impacts the drainages in the watershed in the upper part of the basin here. It is not just treating the river itself. We’ve got to treat the landscape along with it, and that’s part of what the Tribes are going to try to explain to you throughout this day, is that this whole restoration plan isn’t just tied into the waterways and the streams and beds. We’re talking about the landscape. We have to figure out how we can keep those snow packs on the ground longer, keep that water flowing into these rivers longer, keep these lakes filled up longer, and make those resources abundant and available for uses for all of us. Those are the goals that we are working towards and trying to reach, and we’re only going to be able to do that by relying upon each other and figuring out how to address the challenges that Gerta raises. How can we lower these costs? How can we bring in industries and jobs that will create the kind of synergy that we want to create here in Klamath County and rebuild this economy? That is all I can say about that right now.

Keppen: From an economic standpoint, have you guys done an assessment that shows compared to the way the Federal Government is managing the forests right now? It is going to be a positive or a negative from an economic standpoint? When your report comes out, will it describe that?

Hatcher: I’m not sure. I don’t think so. I don’t think it is going to do a comparison contrast.

Keppen: What is your sense though?  My sense is you’re going to be able to probably be a little more aggressive and actually try to manage the forest a little more effectively.

Mitchell: I think the Tribes, my personal opinion, is I think we will be in a much better position than the Forest Service in being able to make changes on the ground that are going to have the beneficial impact to all of us that we are looking towards. That is not saying that we are not going to have to be responsible to the environment outside of the reservation lands and to the people who own lands outside of there. We always have to take those into consideration here. But I think that our ability to work with the community here and make the kind of decisions that we are looking for is going to be far greater under tribal control and management than what the Forest Service has to deal with currently and the shifting changes in police and the outside influences that seem to play in to the decision making that happens on a local level, and we have all had to deal with that. We talked about it earlier. We’ve seen it lately with those outside influences trying to come in and dictate how we are going to live in this community together. We need to unbind ourselves from that, uncouple ourselves from that and empower ourselves to make those choices and decisions ourselves, and I think the Tribe is in a good position to help do that.

Man: Do you think if the Tribe owns the land that you will be able to be 1 step ahead of the environmentalists where the government won't have to deal with the environmentalists, is what you're trying to say?

Mitchell: That’s right.

Foreman: I don’t think, you know, we’re trying to dodge any of that stuff, and I always like to think that our record on environmental practices predate any environmental organization there is. I think the other thing too, along with Dan’s question, is the fact that a 20:1 ratio in cost versus income, currently that the Forest Service is going through. It costs them about 20 million dollars a year, and they are bringing in a million. So, I think that that won’t be too hard to beat.

Deer herd, spotlighting and poaching

Luther Horsley, Project Irrigator: I would like to bring up about the deer herd again. You know it seems… I agree with your earlier comment, that the last 30 years have gotten significantly better, because just in my short tenure of farming on Lower Klamath, I’ve seen conditions improve immensely from what they were. Yet, those slides that we saw of the deer herds, have declined in that last 30 years, makes you think that there is some other pressure on them or factor, and I guess my question is… Will the Tribes limit their harvest of the deer herds as they’re going to these large trees? Another thing, from my perspective I see a lot of deer because all I see are alfalfa deer, so that's why they are smaller when their diets change so much. But I guess my question is… Are you thinking of limiting the harvest on the deer herds as you are the large trees?

Foreman: Well, I don’t recall saying that they doing better, but the point is, is there is not enough out there now to that degree. Our availability… That is our food for our table. The availability for us to be able to go out get those now is so decreased… Obviously, we recognize… I mean, people voluntarily cut back… I don’t think there are that many tribal tags being issued just because the tribal members know that the herds are decreasing. We would like to see them go back up. If you’ve got a family in need though and really, really need to, I mean, we do have the right to go out and get it, and that is what it is for. It’s for subsistence. You know, I don’t want to say we’ll cut completely back because it is for food on our table.

Gerda: I think. Allen, I really have to say this because I live right in the middle of the Forest Service right now, and every time I drive home from Klamath, along the Williamson Road, there are spot lighters, and the deer in our area never get a chance to just be left alone. When I ride out in the spring, there are gut piles with fetuses in them. This isn’t right. If we could stop this type of hunting, I’m sure the deer herds would increase.

Foreman: One of the problems that we have here is the fact that, you know, that these herds are migrating, and they go off the reservation and they have winter hunts over in the Silver Lake area and different areas where the deer go to winter. The number of tags that are sold there far exceeds anything that the tribal members could do there, so if the state would be willing to knock it off and cooperate and manage, then we could come to an agreement. If the point is, if the people feel that it is the tribal hunting that is depleting the deer herds, that is totally incorrect. The number of deer that we take for food on the table is far less than what the state, through its hunting process, takes for sport. That is a fact.

Gerda: Well what about the spot lighting of deer? Do you feel that that is the way you should be hunting, or should you go back to hunting the way your forefathers did to bring food on the table. I think high-powered rifles and spot lights and big trucks all over the place are not right.

Foreman: Again, the progression, you know, we could bounce this back and forth all day, I mean, people came over in the covered wagons and should we go back to that.

Gerda: I don’t want to go back to that either.

Foreman: But, but progression. Spot lighting, if there were more deer, you would see a lot less incidents of spot lighting. I guarantee you would. We’ve got a tribal elder here who remembers how the deer were back in the ’60 and that and probably can relate better than I can, there was very little spot lighting pre-1960.

Hatcher: Did you know that those spot lighters were tribal members? My first question would be, is that a tribal member or a non-tribal member.

Gerda: I think we need to stop all spot lighting.

Foreman: I know, but I ask if that gut pile with fetus was created by a tribal member or a non-tribal member?

Gerta: I don’t know.

Foreman: I don’t either.

Don Gentry, Tribal Resource Specialist:  I’d like to respond. You know the Tribe considered, you know, that whole thing. We know that spot lighting doesn’t seem to be fair to sport hunters and those kind of things. The Tribes are trying to provide subsistence for our tribal members. We don’t want to make it illegal for a tribal member to go out and take a deer unless there is a biologically sound reason to prohibit tribal members from spot lighting, I think, at this particular time because people are trying to feed their families, and it is true, there would be less spot lighting if there were more deer available for people to hunt. But, people need the meat. They need to go out and get meat. It is a traditional thing for Native Americans and other people to use efficient means to get their needs met. It may not be popular for the general public, and I know they have a tough time perhaps understanding that, but I’ve been in the situation myself, you know, where I wasn’t employed, and I had other family members that weren’t doing well, and we needed to get meat, and we didn’t have a lot of money. We had to go out and get the meat. We did it. To me, in a sense, you can compare it to like growing a calf or growing a cow in a field. I mean is it a sporting thing to go out and kill it the way that you do and butcher it. I'm just trying to make a comparison there.  It’s not so much… It’s about feeding families. It’s about taking care of people’s needs, and it is a shame that we are reduced to this point that we’re considered poachers and people that aren’t ethical because we have to go out and feed our families in this manner. If we had more mule deer… If we could do like my father-in-law used to do, who lived at this ranch right here, him and his dad could ride out horseback or they could walk this little butte right here… The family affectionately calls it Frank Butte… and get a deer. They could do that. They no longer can. The way that you have to do it, if you need to feed your families, it’s a terrible thing, that we’re reduced to this point. That is what we have to do.

 The Tribes hunting, you know if the focus has been on the problems with the population, we know it’s not a mortality issue. Mortality plays in there with us. Mortality from highway-killed deer, or mortality from state hunting or tribal hunting, legal or illegal, we know that the problems that we are facing aren't a hunting-related issue. It’s a habitat-related issue. We know for a fact, by looking at the population trends and fawn production over the years, even since the early ‘80s when I came to work for the tribe, and this unit, this Klamath unit, where we used to have 50 fawns per 100 adults in August, before the wintertime, down to less than 10. Rick probably has those figures right now. In fact there is even concern that we are not even measuring enough animals in this Klamath Unit to have good statistical numbers. I use to do spot lights counts in this area myself when I first came to work for the Tribes. There was a time you could go through this whole area and count over 200 deer.

I use to do spotlight counts in this area myself when I first came to work for the Tribes. There was a time you could go through this whole area and count over 200 deer, bucks, does, fawns, and count a number of animals that would mean something statistically in terms of assessing what herd trends are. I saw that reduced down to where a guy could spend 2 or 3 days trying to drive around here and see 200 animals. You didn’t see that. You could see it in the Ag fields. Because of the poor condition of the forage and habitat on the land, I could go down there in Sprague River and certain areas and count animals on the alfalfa fields, and that is where they would be because traditional places where they would be aren’t there. I know it’s a difficult thing for folks living on the outside to understand until maybe you’re placed in that position… you know, you do have to feed your family, and you have to figure out a way to do that, and spotlighting, if the Tribes believed that the animals that were taken were detrimental to the population…we’re maintaining the buck/doe ratios that the State objectives have. They can justify a State hunt on these very same grounds by maintaining just 15 bucks per 100 does. Anything over that, they believe is excess and harvestable, and that is what the Tribes and the State take. We’re still maintaining that buck/doe ratio irregardless of spotlighting or any other method.

got in vans to see other parts of the forest




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