Monday, July 23, 2018

Regrowth in Strawberry--2 Years after the Fire

I had a couple opportunities to go up Strawberry Creek, which burned in 2018 in a lightning-caused wildfire that burned over 4,000 acres. (Here's a detailed post about the Strawberry Fire.) Elk are often present early in the morning.

Restoration specialists from both the BLM and NPS have worked to reseed the burned area, including aerial reseeding. That work, plus the benefit of three inches of rain in May, has led to some great results, as you can see below.

There was lots of Palmer's penstemon (the pink flower-Penstemon palmeri) and firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) along the road.

The gate is currently closed at the park boundary, but hopefully park management will choose to open the road again to the public. However, the bridges were taken out, so even though I had permission to go down the road, I couldn't drive past the creek crossing.

I walked up the road to the trailhead, which showed signs of some overland flows.

A closer look at the entry point showed a few inches of new debris.

After I jumped over the creek, I went to the interpretive sign about the Mountain Shrub Community. You can see how the mountains line up and changes in the illustration to what I photographed.

Up higher I found some beautiful penstemon.

I conducted a bird survey up Windy Canyon and then headed down a different way. I eventually had to traverse this mess of downfall. Too much of the park's forests are like this, meaning more huge fires in the future.

I also found some fun aspen carvings. Many were in Spanish from the Peruvian sheepherders. I guess H2O is universal.

Coming back down I saw more beautiful flowers.

Near the creek, the aspens are resprouting quickly.

It will be interesting to see how this watershed recovers from this wildfire. There is such an opportunity to interpret the changes that occur after fire here.

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