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A look into the past...

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Washington state was once COVERED in these bogs, EVERYWHERE.....true sphagnum bogs now days are rare, but are very beautiful....Everywhere, was sphagnum and D. rotundifolia....common or not, it was gorgeous. and definitely a trip i will remember for the rest of my life.

We will start this off with some photos taken on the way to the bog after we parked the car.

No editing or cleaning up was done to these photos...Dont have the time LOL

We are coming up on a trail to the bog, about a quarter mile from where we parked...According to Ron, he has never seen anyone else out here....We think, damn....So many people walk the trails here, and they dont even know what they are missing....Isolated in this little valley between mountains.



Down into the grasses by our feet, glittering in the sun, were a batch of D. rotundifolia, i originally only saw one off to the side...soon realized, that they were EVERYWHERE...it was impossible to get around without stepping on a few...thankfully, once we got to the bog area, the mats of sphagnum were so thick, that nothing could hurt them....it was like walking on a trampoline...that you could sink into





At the end of this trail, we got our first glimpse of the actual bog...One of the few remaining in the state of washington....What a beautiful sight it was





Edited by SirKristoff
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This is where we saw some of the largest populations of D. rotundifolia. Growing sometimes submerged in the water itself, they were very colorful...glistening in the mid afternoon sun, it was really a sight to behold.





Various species of sphagnum moss were in the area...3 atleast, one of which i know was Capillifolium...a very brilliant red sphagnum moss that is native to our area.







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There were certain spots which seemed to be nearly over-run by these little plants....

little hills of sphagnum encircled by rotundifolia...



Some spots held some outstanding specimens...this one was the one that stood out the most to myself and Ron


Everywhere around the bog grew a rhododenron species, possibly macrophylla, usually accompanied by Kalmia microphylla


Ron exploring the area


and my GF taylor looking confused


Edited by SirKristoff
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Ahh... memories of Alaska. It looks almost exactly the same.

I didn't know there were so few bogs in Washington. I can't seem to find any here in the Corvallis area of Orygun.

Thanks for sharing!

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Nice shots! Reminds me of several sites in the NJ Pine Barrens and in upstate New York. There were a lot more places like this in New Jersey and New York, but the ecology of these areas were not well understood for many years, not realizing they are part of a "Fire Ecology" ecosystem, and require frequent burning every few years to clear out the accumulated leaf litter, kill parasites in the soil and tree bark as well as killing off invasive plants. It's amazing how many CP sites are part of this Fire Ecology, which keeps the sites in a pioneer state of development, and prevents succession from changing it into something else.

After several decades, people finally began to realize that these sites began to dwindle, and change, if they didn't burn every few years. They began to give way to larger different trees and shrubs; the sphagnum, CPs and orchids disappeared, and the entire ecology changes to a deciduous forest. If a fire occurs after 10 to 20 years, it burns so hot that it kills nearly everything like a holocaust. Still, to this day, there are numerous signs posted all over the NJ Pine Barrens with Smokey the Bear saying "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" I don't advocate anyone deliberately causing any forest fires, but a well supervised control burn of these areas are desperately needed, but are not done for the most part. A few private communities do it with volunteers, and make it a big weekend event and celebration with food and music afterward, with the local fire departments involved and all, having already back burned areas so that it doesn't get out of control.

A few years ago, some Air Force exercise flew some training fighters over parts of uninhabited, remote areas of the Pine Barrens, and dropped flares as part of their training exercise. The fire that resulted burned thousands of acres, and lasted several days. This particular area had not been burned in nearly 30 years, and was a mess. Afterward, the site looked like a war ravaged, post nuclear wasteland. Everything was reduced to charcoal, and was black, and shades of gray for as far as you could see. It's been nearly 10 years now, and these places are just beginning to grow back.

The local governments took this time to cut small roads which act as fire brakes, and now realize how important it is to burn these places on a frequent and regular basis, which is beneficial and essential to this ecology. - Rich

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Thanks for the reply, it does seem that areas around this bog have burned at least once within the last few years, areas of trees that were black and gray, showing some signs of having been burned. This area was rested directly in the center of a group of mountains, I'm sure this bog was much bigger since D.rotundifolia and various sphagnum beds/hummocks extened a mile or so from the actual site...though with the road and trail development in the area, that is all going to be destroyed....Ron and I plan on going back up next month some time to clean up some of the litter in the area.

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