Nothing says that autumn is fully in swing than the arrival of crisp air and color change in the trees to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. The quaking aspen adds this beautiful visual contrast to the surrounding coniferous trees in the high Sierra.
Within the last century, though, land management changes have reduced the presence of aspen in the landscape through fire suppression policy, degradation of meadows, and overgrazing by livestock. The result of this is that more than 96% of historic Sierra aspen stands have been lost. As part of its headlands’ restoration work, SYRCL staff and volunteers have completed several aspen regeneration projects and continue this work throughout the Yuba watershed.
This October, SYRCL has two aspen related events occurring in Loney Meadow that are open to the public.
On Friday, October 7th, SYRCL’s Forest Conservation Project Manager, Anne Marie Holt, SYRCL’s Forest Conservation Program Manager, Kat Perlman, and SYRCL’s Watershed Science Program Manager, Alecia Weisman, will be leading a volunteer workday to take down the fences around the aspen stands in Loney Meadow. This fencing was installed by SYRCL volunteers to minimize impact from livestock grazing in the Sierra aspen stands during the spring and summer months, but these barriers need to come down before the snow. The goal of the fencing is to improve resilience in the aspen stand by protecting young aspen suckers to increase the number of age classes within the stand. This workday is from 10:00 am –2:30 pm.
Then, on Saturday October 15th, SYRCL is hosting an Aspen Walk at 9:30 am along the Loney Meadow Interpretive Trail. On this roughly 2-mile hike led by SYRCL’s Forest Conservation Project Manager, Anne Marie Holt, participants will learn about SYRCL’s aspen restoration projects, the unique ecology of meadow-fringe aspen, and how to recreate near aspen stands respectfully and responsibly. The guided walk will start at the Loney Meadow Interpretive Trail parking lot/trailhead at 9:30 am and will wrap up by 11:30 am.
For more information, contact Anne Marie Holt at email@example.com or call 530.265.5961 x216.
Loney Meadow is located about an hour from Nevada City, within the Tahoe National Forest off Bowman Lake Road (USFS Road 18). High clearance vehicles are recommended, as the last approximate mile to the trailhead is unpaved and rough.
Some Aspen Facts:
- Aspen typically live about 150 years.
- Aspen reproduce primarily from asexual root sprouting.
- Each colony is its own clone, and all trees in the clone have identical genetics, characteristics and share a single root structure.
- Aspen stands support more species than surrounding conifer vegetation types.
- Aspen stands support high biodiversity of animal and vascular plant species and provide critical ecosystem services.