Blue Ring , Rogue River National Forest, Oregon
by Daniel Dancer


Using plastic tape discarded along a trail, this circle was constructed on the elaborate woven straw matting of a extensive forest service restoration project on the main headwall of the Hamilton Creek Watershed. On New Year's Eve, 1996, the headwall experienced nine slides, with rocks, trees, and soil cascading down the water course. Much of the material made it to the town of Ashland, two miles downstream, where it buried some structures and flooded several others. Recent high grading of big trees above this area in fragile soils of decomposed granite were the cause of this event. What keeps these soils in place is the biota on top of it. Roots, while loosening the material that looks like a coarse sandy beach, hold it and cover it with a mantle of organics and plant life. Once that is disturbed, the decomposed granite heads downhill. The collapse of the Hamilton headwall is a prime example of such action common in many of our national forests. For more information on the Rogue River National Forest, contact Headwaters.

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