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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

The Purpose in the Pines

A view up to the sky in a meadow, trees surrounding the edge of the frame, into a cotton candy colored sky at sunset.

After a long day of chucking logs into the woods, it can be quite difficult to attach any sort of significance to the work. Thus, when our project partner began to lead us to our camp for the night, it was hard to think of anything other than how good our brats would taste. However, when the road faded away into a sprawling grove of old-growth ponderosa pines, dinner was the last thing on our minds. This enchanting area, known as Primm Meadow, completely captivated us. We stood there, speechless, with huge grins on our faces admiring the magic of the forest.

When the initial awe began to wear down, we realized that these trees, in stark contrast to the surrounding forested lands, served as a grim reminder of the effects of human mismanagement on the ecosystem. As a result of interrupting the natural cycle of fire on the landscape in combination with poor logging practices, we prevented these old-growth forests from persisting on the landscape.

However, more importantly, these trees serve as a beacon of hope for what continued conservation efforts may one day lead to. It certainly won’t be immediate and likely not even in our lifetimes, but, one day, with proper management of the land, old-growth forests, like Primm Meadows, may dominate the landscape again. That is the reason we are moving sticks. That’s the goal we are working towards. It can be incredibly difficult to see when you’re picking up your 200th stick of the day, but It’s absolutely vital that we keep the larger picture in mind. By clearing brush from the area adjacent to the fireline, prescribed burns can be performed to allow for the successful reintroduction of fire to the ecosystem. Over time, with repeated burns, the area may rival the old-growth forest of Primm Meadow. Our initial task is quite distant from the final goal, but it’s a crucial piece nonetheless. This is a lesson we must take with us to every project we get the opportunity to work on this season. Even the smallest tasks we do have a larger purpose. We are making an impact on the lands we serve.