Hemlock tree | Photo: Elenathewise - Fotolia.com

Get to Know Your Local Trees! Visit a National Forest!

November 4, 2013
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I love all forests. From the sounds of the calling birds to the smells of the fallen leaves among Mother Nature's collections of diverse plant life, my senses become alert, drawing me in.

National forests, however, are particularly intriguing to me. What initially impressed me about Alaska's Tongass National Forest is that President Theodore Roosevelt established the forest more than 100 years ago in 1907. His foresight on the importance of trees in our nation set precedent for future national forests to continue to cultivate resources and beauty within our culture and lives.

My recent visit to Tongass National Forest did not let me down. It is not only the world's largest temperate rainforest but also the largest national forest in the U.S.

Although my short visit limited the sights and sounds I experienced in the forest, I was determined to hike several trails to get closer to the variety of wildlife, trees and other plants Tongass has to offer.

GETTING TO KNOW TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST. Tongass is home to the highest density of black and brown bears in the world. From the designated observation points foresters have established, I took advantage of the unique opportunity to observe the forest's diverse wildlife--including some of Alaska's revered bears and moose.  After snapping several candid photos of these large, majestic animals in their open habitat, I simply enjoyed the peaceful, natural environment around me.

Alaska moose Tongass National Forest
Alaskan moose | Photo: cec72 - Fotolia.com

I rested along one of the trails to watch "Black" Merlins nesting in the prized trees of the forest. The Sitka spruce, Western hemlock, Western red cedar and Alaska cedar are known for their sustainability and durability in a wide range of temperatures--even up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit!

The diverse range of activities that exist within the forest's realm accentuates its allure. My favorite? Fishing. From fresh-water fishing in the streams and salt-water fishing in the ocean, to lake and pond fishing, visitors can catch--and eat--salmon, cutthroat trout and steelhead trout.

sitka spruce forest
Sitka spruce trees | Photo: Lee Prince - Fotolia.com

VISIT A NATIONAL FOREST. As a tree care company, Davey understands the maintenance of a healthy forest now helps ensure its survival for tomorrow and generations to come. As a long-time supporter of American Forests and the premiere sponsor of its National Register of Big Trees, Davey encourages others to visit and support national forests as well. If you have never had the opportunity to visit Alaska or a national forest, Tongass is the destination for you! If you get a chance to visit any national forest, don't forget to share your forest photos on Davey's Facebook page; we'd love to see them!

For those who have visited a national forest, what impressed you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Want to learn more about how to best take care of the prized trees you have in your backyard? Have a Davey arborist come out for a consultation. It's free.

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