No doubt you who have seen the Silver Forest--that great area of bare, ghost-like trees along the road between Longmire and Paradise--have wondered if Nature would ever erase this scar upon an otherwise sublime landscape.
These trees were destroyed by a ground fire that swept through the region about forty years ago. Because the fire was limited to the under brush the trees themselves were not consumed by the flames but the heat was sufficient to kill the cambium layer, or growth tissue, which lies just beneath the bark. And so the timber was left standing until today they appear not unlike sombre monuments in a cemetery. Mother Nature, however, is a very busy person and even though she is often confronted by almost impassable obstacles she goes methodically about her work.
Such is the case in the Silver Forest. Here high elevation and inclement weather make reforestation a difficult matter. Yet Nature has persisted through the years and now her work is becoming evident. The Silver Forest is, in sports language, "staging a comeback". A new, green forest growth is rapidly erasing evidence of this old burn. Soon the ghose trees of the Silver Forest will be obscured by living timber!
Anyone with a name like that would have to be a very busy person! And that is just what the Douglas Squirrel--who labors under the above scientific term--is. The other day the writer observed the actions of one of these frisky fellows as he gathered a few of the last Douglas Fir cones for his winter's larder. Here and there he scampered, placing them in at least a dozen assorted locations. To one who has a difficult time in discovering where articles of clothing, etc. were placed but a few hours before, this procedure is a matter of wonder. How he manages to keep from starving to death with that system I surely don't know.
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