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Annual Report 2023

Restoring Boneyard Ridge

NCLC finishes five-year restoration project on forested habitat

During the late fall and winter of 2023, NCLC’s stewardship team completed the last phase of a five-year forest restoration project on Boneyard Ridge, a roughly 340-acre habitat reserve atop Tillamook Head in Clatsop County. NCLC purchased Boneyard Ridge in 2018 with the intent to restore it from a tree farm to a healthy forest and create a connected conservation corridor from Ecola State Park to Circle Creek Conservation Center to the Necanicum River. The team started the project in 2019, tackling this massive effort in three distinct phases involving different units of the forest.

In general, the project involved thinning 212 acres of overstocked (or overly dense) forest; creating gaps (or openings) for wildlife habitat; and planting for species diversity. However, the team prescribed varied thinning treatments for each forest unit in Boneyard Ridge based on the age and density of the trees on the landscape. The goal was to create natural forest conditions, considering how the forest might have developed over time without industrial logging—for example, using other coastal forests that were not logged and replanted as a guide to the types of disturbances that shape these forests.

This past winter, during Phase III of the project, NCLC addressed a younger 85-acre stand in the western portion of the reserve, thinning the overpopulated trees and creating even larger gaps of up to .25 acre in size. These larger gaps were selected in more open areas of the stand where wildlife, including elk, deer and birds had been seen actively using these openings. To further diversify the habitat, NCLC’s stewardship team planned to add nectar plant species to the large gaps in Spring 2024. This is the first active forest restoration project NCLC has completed. Read More