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Breitenbush Wildlife Habitat Rehabilitation – with The Suzuki Equator

Breitenbush Wildlife Habitat Rehabilitation.

Creating and Rebuilding Natural Wildlife Habitat with The Suzuki Equator

Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: D. Arnold, E. Bewley

Detroit, OR – For the last ten years the US Forest Service has partnered with local groups to rehabilitate and create wildlife habitat in an area most famously known for it’s hot springs but used by most locals for it’s other beneficial offerings. The Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mid-Valley Crawlers 4×4 club, as well as others have been working on this project for many years and the results have been beneficial to the area’s wildlife population. We were fortunate enough to be able to participate this year and help out and as an added bonus, we were able to use our on loan Suzuki Equator to great benefit as we worked through the day’s projects.

This project is part of a long-term effort to create and enhance forage conditions for big game species, such as elk, deer and bear, that inhabit the Breitenbush River corridor and surrounding areas. These species benefit from the increased production of berries and tender leaves found in young forest stands. Restoration activities will be completed in open meadows, power line corridors, young forest stands and other natural areas between Marion Forks and Breitenbush.

As part of the MVC contingent, we were charged with the duties of moving a couple of 1000 lb bags of lime to remote staging areas so the spreaders could distribute onto the meadows, picking up trash as always, and the highlight of the weekend which was retrieving for disposal an abandoned, shot, burned and probably stabbed car.

After the morning meeting we headed off to where the car was to begin the process of loading it up for removal. We used the Suzuki Equator to pull the car from it’s abandoned location to the base of a large tree where we used the winch on Gayle and Brian’s Chevy Tracker to winch the nose up on the car at which point we drove the Forest Services’ flat bed under it to load it up. Bingo… car gone; forest improved!

2011 Project By The Numbers:

2011 Power Line Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Project Detroit Ranger District Accomplishments:

  • 70 Acres of created and natural meadows enhanced by fertilization. 
  • 12 Acres of created and natural meadows enhanced by Lime .
  • 10 Acres of existing created meadows re-seeded.
  • 10 Cubic yards of litter cleaned up.
  • 16 Bird/squirrel boxes installed,
  • 5 Acres of browsing / browse cutback.

Materials applied:
1. Fertilizer = 7 tons
2. Lime = 12 tons
3. Seed (native) = 50 lbs

Total expenses (Value of) items provided and donated was  $16,100

In kind volunteer labor value – 636 hrs @ $18/hr = $11,448

The next task we worked on was hauling the 1000 lb bags of lime from the Forest Service warehouse to the remote staging areas. We used the Suzuki Equator and another vehicle do deliver the goods up a steep and rutted trail. The factory locker in the Equator helped out tremendously as we were able to idle up the trail carefully and with precision. Unloading the bags required the skillful use of the winch from Brian’s Tracker.

After this, we patrolled the area and picked up garbage as we found it until it was time for the much anticipated and rewarding afternoon dinner. Which, by the way, was delicious! A few door prize items were handed out by the Forest Service as a thank you and we came home knowing that a good thing had been done and this small part of the forest was better for it.

If you are interested in volunteering for next year’s project, please visit the Mid-Valley Crawler’s website for more information. http://www.midvalleycrawlers.com


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