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Comments are being sought on a proposal to plant whitebark pine this fall on Quartz Mountain, in the Pasayten Wilderness, north of Winthrop Washington.
If implemented, 1,000 whitebark pine seedlings would be planted in an area where the species existed before being killed in the 2002 Quartz Mountain Fire.
“in order to maintain whitebark pine on Quartz Mountain, as well as on the greater landscape, there is a need to improve the future seed pool within the area burned by the Quartz Mountain Fire,” said Michael Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger.
Whitebark pine is a high elevation, treeline species that is found only in western North America. It is capable of establishing unique ecosystems in harsh subalpine environments, creating habitat for a myriad of other species. The trees serve an important role in maintaining watershed quality by helping to stabilize soils and provide shade to slow spring snow melt. The seeds of the whitebark pine are an important food source for Clark’s nutcrackers, pine squirrels, grizzly and black bears, and many other birds and mammals.
Additional information about the proposed project is available by contacting Connie Mehmel, Project Lead, at (509) 664-9213 or at 1133 North Western Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801. The preliminary Environmental Assessment and a map of the project area are also available online at www.fs.fed.usda.gov/goto/okawen/projects.