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Rain and technology don’t work well together

Sep 5, 2023 | Blog, Summer Intern Blog

Sept. 4, 2023

Anthony Cafferata

Week 11 at Starker was a short one for me; I started Tuesday. I had the opportunity to work with Reece and Sage (Reece’s dog) that day and it was fun. I helped Reece complete a unit layout by finding timber typelines and learned about flagging property lines. This work is important because it lets the loggers and operators know where to stop cutting trees. The property line is super important to get right so we do not accidentally cut trees that do not belong to Starker.

Sage eating blackberries on the trail.

When finding the property line, Reece and I would look for old “blazes,” permanent and obvious inscriptions marking the line. However, we were only able to find the first three blazes. We flagged those with blue ribbon and decided that the unit needed to be resurveyed to establish an obvious property line. Sage tagged along with us happily scouting ahead and visiting the streams and eating blackberries. Moving on, we addressed the second task of the day; flagging in old roads that need to be reconstructed. We flagged in the first with no problem and the second one seemed to meander and switch around quite a bit. We looked at it from a few different angles and walked a few different possible routes. In the end, we decided to look at the Lidar high definition on ARCGIS to get it right. While working, Reece found a very nice Elk shed. (Do not let the picture fool you, Sage did not find it but is gladly taking credit.)

Wednesday was a fun day as all the interns and Reece went to a unit that even Fred would have to classify as steep for stream surveys. “NE Pala” is a unit that has been inaccessible for quite some time. Reece said that Jeff, a Starker forester, had been trying to lay out a road to the unit for nearly five years. I commented on Jeff’s determination and suggested that the trees probably had nightmares about him. Getting to the bottom of the unit to start our survey, we were making our way down 87% grade. The area was full of big trees and beautiful waterfalls.

Really big trees on Pala Mountain.

Summer crew hiking down some very steep slopes to the Alsea River.

Reece measured a tree that was 196 feet tall. The trek was difficult, but we managed to finish surveying the streams with plenty of time, so we checked two other units for streams before making our way back to the office.


Thursday and Friday all the interns were together again to attempt a lengthy stream survey. I will say, it is not yet completed, even after two full days working on it. On Thursday, it rained most of the day, so all of us were soaked after tromping through the brush. We had split up to cover more ground but because of all the rain and moisture, both groups were struggling to get our iPads and GPS to work. We ended up not using either and just putting in flagging to come back and input the areas on the GPS. By the end of the day, we all concluded that it felt like we walked through a lake with our squishy boots and cold pants.

Getting around this waterfall proved to be a challenge.

Friday was much better; the brush was still wet resulting in wet boots and pants again, but we were happy because our technology was working. Working as two groups again, Sabrina and I went to GPS our flagging from the previous day while Joseph, Kathy and Caroline continued. This unit was full of waterfalls that were easily 10-15 feet tall with very steep sides, making it quite difficult to get to some tributary junctions and channel initiation points. The going is tough, but we are making progress.

I would like to say that this week was Caroline’s last week as a Starker Forests’ intern. She is a hard worker and eager to learn, working with her has been a pleasure so we all wish her the best of luck in this coming year.

Anthony Cafferata front, Joseph Shapiro to the right. Caroline Puckett, Kathy Young and Sabrina Giulietti all left of Anthony.


– Anthony Cafferata

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