Forest Management Plan
A forest management plan was prepared by a forestry consultant (John Herbst) in the fall of 1994. This management plan describes the natural environment of the 66-acre property, including its soils, water, vegetation, and wildlife, and it discusses fire risk and forest health issues associated with the camp area.
A recent assessment describes strategies for sustainable provision of ecosystem services for Westminster Woods, a 66-acre camp and conference center located in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon. An environmental performance assessment approach was used to evaluate six indicators: forest resources, ecosystem health, forest sustainability, biological diversity, forest protection, and socio-economic viability. Conformance with as many as seven criteria is rated for each indicator. Recommendations, organized by indicator, are also provided. Interactions between the social, ecological, and economic components of sustainability are examined. A copy of the assessment report is provided below.
Western White Pine Trees
In May of 1996, Westminster Woods planted 400 western white pine trees on an area the church purchased after it was clearcut 2 years before. These trees were produced by the University of Idaho to be resistant to the white pine blister rust, an important introduced disease of five-needled pines. The article below describes why the church planted the white pines and why this tree species has special significance for the interior Pacific Northwest.
Quaking Aspen Grove
During the spring of 2009, Westminster Woods planted quaking aspen trees to establish an aspen grove near the chapel and meeting center facility. Aspen is native to the Blue Mountains and it should do well in its new home at Westminster Woods. Aspen provides a beautiful yellow or golden fall color, and the aspen grove will provide an attractive scene from the chapel structure. Since elk love to eat aspen, and since there are plenty of elk on or near the Westminster Woods property, we constructed a buck-and-pole fence around the aspen grove to exclude elk.
During each year, some trees die from insect attack, disease, being toppled during a wind storm, or for other reasons. The Westminster Woods Commission arranges for these trees to be removed, and they are then used for wood products. The Westminster Woods Commission purchased a log arch to help remove trees in such a way as to minimize soil effects like compaction or rutting.
Larger trees are sold to a lumber mill, and smaller trees are cut up into firewood. The firewood is donated to help meet the heating needs of low-income or disadvantaged individuals in the Pendleton area. People who receive the wood are identified by the Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO). Church members cut, split, stack, and deliver the firewood to individuals in need.
Smaller trees are also removed periodically to address wildfire risk. When too many small trees are present in the forest, they function as 'ladder fuel' -- short fires running along the ground can be lifted up into the canopy of larger trees by the smaller trees. Keeping fires on the ground and out of the canopy makes them much easier to suppress. When smaller trees are removed, they are cut up into short pieces and the pieces are put into piles. The piles can be burned during the winter, when it is safe to do so, or they can be chipped and the chips used as a trail surface.