NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
16 Jul 1998
- Yellowstone National Park; Blowdown Interpretive Turnout
- 44.71502 -110.63146
- Coniferous Forest
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo
NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS
Yellowstone DAT #4
RR = Roy Renkin
JV = John Varley
AC = Alex Chadwick
MS = Michael Schweppe
out w roy renkin and slew of journalists, recording ms. area is called "Blow Down"
roy and others off-mic, clicking cameras, walking in forest.
talking about seedling density motor in background
talking about serrotenous cones to 8:55, not very interesting, off-mic.
my name is roy renkin, management biologist here in yellowstone park, i've been in the park for 20 yrs and have been in the forestry and fire management program through that time, i mean what we're looking at here is the big news, vegetation -wise here in yellowstone, urn previously unobserved somewhat anticipated, but the big news--what we're looking at the germination of aspen the est of aspen from the seed exclusively w/i burned areas of the park, aspen throughout the rocky mt west is v well known to regenerate through root stock, but the est sexually reproducing aspen is something that in the rocky mt west is very very poorly understood (talks more about sex producing aspen)
you can taste the _ acid very distinguishing aspect of it and it wasn't until we did the taste test that we were convinced that these were aspen so big news we wanted to tell everyone you know we're finding aspen in burned areas the? soon became to what extent are we finding them and uh so in our travels we began to document where we are finding these and i had a map that i would pins in it.
and those areas that burned the hottest you could w/o a doubt find aspen seedlings somewhere out in those areas
why is it that you didn't rec young aspen?
well we see young aspen but these are embryonic aspen if you will well the first thing that (talks about shape of leaf) talks about leaf "petiole" (stem)
... sun, germination, photosynthesis ...
but we really feel that the ash that was gen by the fires act enhanced the moisture holding capacity onsite so that it made that moisture available to the developing seedlings
are you going to have an aspen forest here?
by no means, ...
we may be seeing this range expansion that is tied directly to the fires of 1988. that would be the big news
aspen is a clonal organism, by that i mean that when you see a group of aspen trees each tree is not a diff individual its the group that is collectively the individual and they share a common lateral root system that is very shallow in the ground and as this aspen grows old and die the thought is that they're usually replaced by suckers that are created in the understory and that is how the clone regenerates itself over time
talks more about aspen to 27:13
ms looking to record elk
car driving away
27:52 footsteps (hoove-steps?), talking in background, car approaching, passing.
28:56 cars passing by
those were elk w traffic tourists and roy in the background and he was scratching his underbelly.
elk traffic jam, cars passing
this is an area that burned in 1956 and this corridor that we're on there used to be a road camp back in here. it was at a time when there was a lot of road construction back here and a man-made fire started out in here and uh the fire was suppressed and at the time the park service recog said oh boy ... we don't want visiting public to see this they came in removed dead and down material and planted trees to try and screen it. ..notice alot of trees very tightly packed together...
breaks in recording @37:00
moving around and answering questions. sometimes roy is off mic
the impression that i hope you walk: away with is that these plant communities are very resilient and the plant communities have mechanisms to deal with fire we talked about cone serrotony and suckering and aspen ...
but what the plant comm dealing with is our attempts to try and manage or control these fires the road camp ...bulldozer...43:area not reclaimed (1956 fire) (very interesting)
there are also some fire down at the south end of the park that likewise bulldozers were used to suppress the fire ...it illustrates then that ... how ... 44:09 resilience of the plant comm ... but the plants can deal with that its our attempts that the plants comm have a very hard time dealing with ...
rr answering ?s
starting fires, what difference does it make if fire is started man-caused?
goal is to minimize human influence in determining vegetation patterns.
bc to me hist replete w misdirected attempts about what we think ...predator-control.. native forest insects
and i think then you look at these mistakes of the past and you come to a conclusion that gee we don't really know as much as we'd like to think we know about how the system operates so maybe if we go light on what we're trying to do out there we can preserve the process and in the process learn a little bit more about it¿..
sounds of going through forest, clearing brush and walking
would anyone like to see some bear scat?...can see alot of hair in there prob result of feeding on carcass ... quite a healthy pile dont you think?
walking through forest
talking about fire scars off-mic
talking about sampling area to find out about fire, when fires occurred
--alot of these lodgepole pines, density of cones is much greater.
1:09:22 ambi ms cool echo-ey place, same place as the last stop w roy
birds chirping, flies buzzing--good.
i'm john varley i'm the director of yellowstone's ctr for resources.
what we mean when we say resources ... cultural resources and then there are neat resources. and then we also look at research ... went through revision
we're in mammoth and there are cars going by here and
in 1988 the govt suspended all of the fire management plan in all units of the national park service as well as other agencies the plan we have now id devised through the lessons that we've learned through the fires of 1988 so what we have now is a plan that recognizes the importance of the maintenance and conservation of this landscape its been tightened up several where upwind of the gateway comm or the villages in the park ... and finally there's more indiv accountability built into the dec that are made on what to do when a nat fire occurs...
what does that mean?
well fundamentally the superintendent of yellowstone park has to sign off that there is a fire going on that he or she has the resources to attack it if its allowed to continue to burn, in essence there is no change .... where it changed is the recog that we have to be more attentive to our neighbors ...
were you here in 1988
it looked like living in an area that's used to daily fog in other words the visibility was v poor down to an 1/8 or 1/4 mile in some cases it smelled awful it smelled like being in the middle of a bonfire... you had the feeling that you always needed a shower the overall aura was quite oppressive.
is there a lesson from 1988
oh there are prob hundreds of lessons, even thousands of lessons, human lessons policy lessons there are ecological lessons, policy lessons, philosophical lessons there was a great deal learned as a result of those giant lessons,
people talk about fire ecology not sure term was in use in 1988, 72 what does it mean?
fire ecology is act a term that came about in the early 60s and so its not a term that has a lot of age on it but fire ecology is understanding influence of fire in ecological processes on biodiversity and natural processes ...
in the public reaction there was a panic perhaps and i wonder about the lessons of managing that kind of aspect of it.
well we certainly learned how difficult it was to send out a mixed message in something that had as much media att. and when I say mixed message we were trying to tell the ecological story at the same time we were trying to fight the fires at the same time we were trying to have sympathy for the people that were being hurt in some way by the fires that's ev from people driving here 2500 miles to see the park only to find the gates locked to the motel owner w a big mortgage in w yellowstone mt or the people injured in fighting the fires i mean theres no way in the world we'd ever celebrate that...and there's no way in the world we wouldn't give our whole-hearted support for the fires fighters that were doing what turned out to be an impossible job and that stopped those fires and on top of that we were trying to say no media quit reporting that this place is destroyed in ruins and devastated. bc ecologically its anything but that. so trying to get all those messages out at once confused alot of the public caused us more grief it was a very difficult summer we'd try and simplify it somehow ...
how get message out that fire not always bad.
we might have done that as a result of 1988, one gr of scientists make the case the american att toward fire was actually created in 1919 during the dev western fires and a lot of people killed and whole towns burned up and each gen following 1919 carried forth w the notion that fires are bad and when 1988 came along and we had the fires here in greater yellowstone and the interesting thing about that they say that vietnam that amercans exp war ev night, you know they saw the images ...and so they felt and exp the wat more and by the same token its alleged that the same thing happened in 1988 w the fires i mean they were on the television ev night in living color and the smoke and the soot smudged firefighters and the taking heads back and forth ... they lived it and again going back to the ecological message that eco message did get through and part once the fires were out once there were no flames to show once there were no more burnt stumps to photograph then that mess got out more and more and more...
jv talks about canadian researcher who interviewed people before and after visiting park. ..
much to our surprise he found that over 80% coming into the park agreed to the statement that fire is just as important as water sunshine soil in the preservation of these forests now when i read that you could have knocked me over with a feather, i mean ...
people who visit parks tend to be middle-class or higher...but it still surprised us bc when cbs, nbc, abc were saying on nightly basis that the icon of american parks was destroyed ...
Int. ends at 1:31:28
ambi for int w jv motor running, car passing, wind, talking background to
Int. w Phil. to END of DAT