A handful of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers recently joined forces with three U.S. Forest Service workers to spice up a chunk of wildlife habitat in the McKenzie Ranger District on the Willamette National Forest.
They cut back encroaching conifers along a two-acre meadow to promote healthy browse for elk and deer. The treatment also benefitted the headwaters of a small stream where beavers are found. Volunteers strategically stacked logs and brush to help enhance the site and encourage beavers to continue the essential job of damning it up and ultimately to help create a small wetland.
They also build “critter piles” or little safety huts to provide cover and security for smaller wildlife like birds and small animals like fox, grouse, rabbits and many others. Starting with a base of four layers of “log cabin” style stacking of 10- to 15-foot logs from the cut conifers, they left small “doors and windows” for easy access. Each critter pile also will benefit from the roof providing increased cover and shelter.
To finish off the project a group of Youth Corps will join the Forest Service to finish the site and help with clean up and debris pick up.
“It was a great day with awesome people and the views were typical Oregon! Spectacular!” said RMEF volunteer Mark Allard. “All in all, doing what we do!”
(Photo source: Oregon Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Facebook page)