The cover last month was a rough sketch of the twig and cone of the Douglas Fir. This is the dominant forest tree of the Northwest. In the Park it grows to an elevation of about 4,000 feet; sometimes in pure stands but more often mixed with Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock. Western White Pine and several balsams are also found scattered through our forests but the three first named species make up fully ninety percent of the stand on the lower slopes. Douglas Fir is without doubt the most valuable lumber tree in the country today both from point of quality and quantity. Under favorable conditions it grows to be 6 feet in diameter and 250 feet high.
The cover this month is of the Western Hemlock, the second tree in point of numbers in the Park forests. Western Hemlock grows to be a splendid tree 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 200 feet high. The feathery foliage makes the younger trees without doubt our most beautiful conifers but the wood is far inferior to that of the Douglas Fir. Another hemlock, the Black or Mountain Hemlock grows with the Alpine Fir in the high valleys. It is much more rugged and matted, the cones are about twice the size, and the bark darker and rougher than that of the Western Hemlock which grows lower down.
During the week the Naturalist explored a small natural cavern in the basaltic cliffs above the terminus of the Nisqually Glacier. The chief feature of interest noted there was the animal association. At the opening to the cavern the Mountain Beaver had dens under almost every suitable rock and had cut the briers and alder spouts close to the ground.
Just inside the entrance the little Cony or Rock Rabbit had taken up his dwelling and there were several piles of hay that gave evidence of his industry and resourcefulness.
In the rear of the cave where the light was dim, there were piles of bark, sticks, cones, and other rubbish so large that it would appear that colonies of Pack Rats had inhabited the place for centuries. Apparently all three animals live in comparative harmony.
|<<< Previous||> Cover <||Next >>>|