Nature Notes

Vol. VI July 16th, 1928 Summer Season No. 2


Sometimes we are asked how we determine the age of a tree without destroying it in order that we may count the growth rings. In order to accomplish this, forests have invented a special instrument for the purpose, called an increment borer. By increment is meant the growth of the tree and the increment borer unfolds the secrets of the tree's age and growth which would otherwise be a matter of guesswork.

This little instrument is very simply. It resembles the common ordinary brace and bit with which we are aquainted except that it has a hollow center. By boring into the trunk of the tree toward the center we may remove a small cylinder of wood that is exactly of the same construction as the trunk itself, and by counting the streaks of dark wood, which are sections of the growth rings themselves, we may accurately determine the age of the tree. Rate of growth is evident by the distance between these darker streaks--the farther apart the streaks the more rapid the growth and vice versa. Thus, the life history of a tree is laid bare without the necessity of its destruction.


We wonder how Teddy, our little four months old bear cub is getting along in the wilds of the Carbon River District. Teddy, as you know, was until recently the pet of Park Rangers and visitors alike and he amused them with his childish antics. His "taking ways" however increased to such alarming proportions that he rapidly developed from a pet bear to a pet peeve and was therefore given a change of scenery in the hope of curbing his egotism.

On July 3rd, thoroughly crated and with his best and most ferocious growl dusted off for the occasion, he was loaded into a flivver and transported to the "other side of the mountain to see what he could see". The last the writer saw of him was the erring bruin diligently gnawing on his left hind foot as was his custom, totally unmindful of the significance of his journey which would end where he had reached the "sticks" of the Carbon River country.


Beginning this year the National Park Service, Mount Rainier National Park, will embark upon a five year program of trail expansion and improvement that will eventually result in the expenditure of about $250,000. The improvement plans call for the construction of 60 miles of entirely new trails into some of the most picturesque, but heretofore inaccessible, points in the Park as well as reconstruction of all existing trails.

The most important addition to the present trail system will be the Tatoosh Trail which will span the rugged Tatoosh Range from Pinnacle Peak to Eagle Peak, both of which accessible to hikers at the present time. It will give hikers some of the most magnificent views of the mountain as well as of the surrounding country. Three new trails will be built along the West Side. The Cataract Creek Trail makes Mist Park accessible from Spray Park on the present Wonderland Trail. Sunset Trail will tap the region at the foot of South Mowich Glacier and the St. Andrews Trail will skirt the Tahoma Glacier. The Fan Trail will reach Fan Lake from beautiful Sluiskin Falls, near Paradise Valley.

Increased travel into Mount Rainier National Park and the increasing popularity of hiking is responsible for this activity. The West Side Highway, at present under construction, is also an outgrowth of increasing tourist travel in appreciation of the beauties of Mount Rainier National Park.

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