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Tour of Swan Ecosystem
set for Saturday


Seeley Swan Pathfinder
August 20, 1998

A tour of the Swan Ecosystem Center north of Condon will be sponsored by the Flathead Audubon Society on Saturday, August 22. Featured will be the Center's Wildlife Exhibits and Ponderosa Pine Demonstration Site. Tour leader Rod Ash will discuss bird and wildlife habitat issues being addressed at the demonstration site, and talk about the light-impact logging methods now available to land owners. Ash has been involved for a number of years in the development of light-impact logging techniques and ponderosa pine restoration strategies in the upper Swan Valley and is one of the founders of the Ecosystem Center.

The Swan Ecosystem Center is a non-profit corporation formed in the fall of 1996 to promote the study of the upper Swan Valley ecosystem and the development of ecosystem management techniques. Volunteers from the local schools and the community at large are matched with professionals in stewardship, research and monitoring projects. The Center works with the U.S. Forest Service to assess the condition of the upper Swan Valley and to set goals for the future management of that area. It also works with public and private landowners to develop ecologically and economically sound forestry management plans.

The Center's Ponderosa Pine Demonstration Site is a 120-acre region cooperatively managed by the Swan Ecosystem Center and the Swan Lake Ranger District. It includes 90 acres of study area and a 30-acre plot treated in 1996 to reduce fire danger and restore pre-fire suppression conditions. Large pines on the plot are remnants of historic conditions when the valley floor featured open stands of ponderosa pine and western larch. Several of the ponderosas are "Indian-peeled" trees. Kootenai and Salish people, who historically camped in the area, removed strips of bark for the cambium.

Flathead Audubon invites all to join the tour - members and non-members alike. The tour will start at the Swan Ecosystem Center at 10:30 a.m., and last approximately four hours. The Center is on Highway 83 South near milepost 43, across from the airstrip. Bring a lunch, rain gear and binoculars. There will be opportunity for late summer birding in the course of the trip. For further information, call Rod Ash, 754-2289.

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