Orangegate Park’s north 40 parcel was historically clearcut at varying times in history, and some areas were densely replanted with Douglas-fir. Some of the seedlings in these areas did not survive, and were overtaken by short-lived hardwood trees and invasive species. Where the Douglas-fir did survive, the trees were never managed. This led to an overly dense forest which puts it at risk for decreased biodiversity, poor wildlife habitat, and increased risk of tree disease and mortality.
Pierce County Parks is developing a Forest Management Plan to address these forest health concerns, which includes selectively thinning trees to reduce stand density and improve the health of the remaining forest. Thinning will focus on removing smaller diameter and diseased trees, and preserving the largest and healthiest trees while maintaining tree species diversity.
Treatments for invasive species will occur, including the selective application of herbicide for invasive species that are at higher risk for ecosystem degradation if left untreated. When herbicide treatments occur they will be clearly marked for at least 24-48 hours after application.
Replanting native conifer trees is planned in hardwood dominated areas to re-establish conifer, assist in shading out invasive species, and provide more tree species diversity. Replanting native conifer will occur in Douglas-fir dominated areas to enhance species diversity and create a vertical structure for ecological health and enhanced wildlife habitat.