Fire

As we headed north and left the Grand Canyon National Park, we entered the Kaibab National Forest. The area has been co-managed by the Park Service and the Forest Service since the early 1900’s. Logging, then grazing have been part of the history of this area, with evidence of both readily apparent. Early settlers included the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons).

If you Google “Orderville” or “Orderville United Order”, you’ll get some sense of this interesting settlement and its governance.

Another interesting aspect of this area is the efforts to make it into a game preserve or private hunting club dating back to the late 1800’s. Buffalo Bill Cody was involved https://centerofthewest.org/2017/11/17/points-west-north-rim-adventure/

There is also a fascinating story of attempts led by Teddy Roosevelt to increase the mule deer population. This “Kaibab Deer” experiment went horribly awry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaibab_Plateau

So that brings us to fire. Through some combination of logging, overgrazing, and fire suppression (Smokey the Bear), the north rim has been subject to many fires since 2000. We hiked through several fire affected segments.

The first segment we hit was 20 years old and was still looking damaged, but was regenerating

Then we were rerouted from a single track trail to a forest service road for several miles to avoid a fire damaged canyon (with potential flash flood risk) from the “Mangum Fire” from last year. This more recent fire showed the immediate aftermath of a very hot fire

It ain’t pretty
The soil had been reduced to a fine dusty ash – almost like little sand dunes

But, on a positive note, there were already signs of regeneration

Little oaks regenerating from the roots of the burned parent tree

Any wildflowers

Hard to know what to make of fire, other than it seems good in small doses.

These massive fires seem to be a reaction to an unbalanced system where mother nature takes charge to bring things back to where they belong.

Fascinated by fire,

Junco

2 comments

  1. Alan Lau · May 22

    That was a wonderful story. All the pieces were put together nicely. Agree with Sally. A beautiful sign of hope

    Like

  2. Sally · May 22

    Very interesting, Kev. The wildflowers are a beautiful sign of hope.

    Like

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