Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KLAMATH FALLS FWO: Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office and the Klamath Tribe Partner to Restore Moore Park Ponderosa Pine Forest
California-Nevada Offices , January 30, 2013
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The Klamath Tribal Restoration Workforce working in Moore Park.
The Klamath Tribal Restoration Workforce working in Moore Park. - Photo Credit: USFWS

By David Ross

The Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office is restoring the form and function of the ponderosa pine forest in the city of Klamath Falls’ Moore Park. This 600-acre community park on the west side of the city provides the local community with numerous outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, playgrounds, and sports programs.

A number of years ago, Klamath Falls FWO Partners for Fish and Wildlife program staff were contacted by the city to assist with a forest stewardship plan that also includes the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF&W) and the Friends of Moore Park.

More than 300 acres of Moore Park are comprised of mixed ponderosa pine forest in need of thinning and understory management. Over the decades, heavy commercial harvest of ponderosa pine and the occasional Douglas fir occurred in Moore Park. Following commercial harvest, little or no management occurred for decades, creating the need for a stewardship plan and a variable density forest management plan was completed in 2010 by ODF with input from ODF&W.

In 2011 the Klamath Tribal Restoration Workforce, managed by Lomakatsi Restoration Project, began to remove encroaching junipers and overstocked small conifers. Non-native grasses also occur throughout the park, and they will be managed to provide a plant community with more native grasses (e.g., blue wild rye and Idaho fescue) and scattered shrubs, such as Klamath plum and serviceberry. As of December 2012, 60 acres of ponderosa pine forest have been restored and the park now offers visitors a look at what the area might have looked like 100 years ago. Another 23 acres have been identified for restoration in 2013.

Various partners have provided additional aid in an effort to help meet the goals set for the park. The Klamath Basin Audubon Society manages a small bluebird box trail in a portion of Moore Park that helps educate youth about bird ecology. The Klamath Trails Alliance has assisted in closing off unauthorized mountain bike trails to reduce erosion and reseeded closed trails with native Idaho fescue and blue wild rye grass to enhance restoration. Local fire crews from ODF and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge will partner in implementing limited prescribed fire annually to return health to the forest understory.

The vegetation restoration will have benefits for birds and other wildlife, which also leads to an economic benefit for the community. Moore Park is a major stop on the Klamath Basin Birding Trail, and a resource used by many birders who visit the world class Klamath Basin. Moore Park is a key destination during the Winter Wings Festival, the oldest bird festival in the United States. Bird and wildlife enthusiasts come from many parts of the globe to experience the bird diversity of the Klamath Basin for the festival and throughout the year.

David Ross is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator at the  Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Service Office in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Contact Info: David Ross, 541-885-2518, dave_ross@fws.gov
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