Stories From Stanley, Idaho

From Burns to Beauty

From Burns to Beauty

Photo Cred: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Lightning strikes a tall tree off in the distance. Soon a fire advances, thrashing through the trees and blackens every landscape the flame licks. Trees older than we are are reduced to ashes as the fire burns bright and hot. Eventually, teams of men and women are able to break through the heat in order to slow the growth of the fire. Over time there is containment, the fire will not spread farther, and then there is control, the fire is nearly out. As the last smoldering pieces of the forest are extinguished, everything turns cold and dark, everything looks dismal. But wait, the next season is finally approaching. The snow melts away from mountains, and fields of flowers are starting to bloom. In the burn area, small mushrooms and plants are starting to pop up. The mushrooms are morels, a delicious mushroom that loves a burn area. These mushrooms are delicious for other forms of life as well, and soon we have mice in the fields.


Photo Credit: nationalforests.org

Out in the distance we can hear the sound of a woodpecker drumming steadily against a tree. There are larvae in the tree, laid there by the black fire beetle soon after the fire. The larvae crawl through the dead trees, and the black backed woodpeckers come in to eat to their hearts' content. Once all the larvae has been eaten, the birds will drift away to find another burn area with a buffet of bugs for it to eat.

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)  perched on a burned tree trunk in Manitoba, Canada.

Photo Credit: Audubon.org

As time goes on and new growth appears, we can see tall pink flowers reaching up towards the skies. This is called fireweed, aptly named for its reliance on disturbance of the land, mainly fires. All around the fireweed we can see quaking aspen making a strong and healthy appearance. This large stand of aspen is one genetic figure, all sprouting from the same roots deep in the soil, unscathed by the flames that once came across this landscape. A few yards away from that stand, we have a pine tree growing slow and steady.


This pine tree is here because of a bird called the Clark’s nutcracker. It stashed seeds here one or two years ago and never came back for them. These seeds felt the sunlight and the open ground, knowing it was time to emerge from the ground and become a strong white bark pine. Under the pine tree grows that huckleberry bush that bears love to browse on.

Photo Credit: Banff National Park

Photo Credit: Banff National Park

Years go by, plants slowly emerge, animals come back. The cycle of the forest will repeat itself in years to come, but right now we see a strong healthy forest. Bees buzz by you as you stare into the forest, there are elk off in the meadow bugling, and a storm starts to develop overhead. Lighting eventually comes crashing down, and the process starts all over again.

Photo Credit: Hailey Faulkner

Photo Credit: Hailey Faulkner

I understand that fire is a scary aspect, especially when it is close to our homes, businesses, and lives. The smoke comes into our valley and makes it hard to see the mountains and sometimes even to breath. There is so much darkness that we see once the smoke clears out. It looks as if that is the end of the forest’s life right there. However, in so many ways, this is just the beginning. Mother Nature will always come back strong and beautiful. There will always be new flowers, strong trees, insects that come through, and fire that burns bright. Embrace it all as a new beginning, a clean slate for the land.


Source Url: http://stanleycc.org/from-burns-to-beauty/



Featured Local Events

DATE: March 2 - 4, 2018

TIME: Multi-times

LOCATION: Park Creek Ski Area, Alturas Lake Ski Area, Community Building, Stanley, ID

March 3rd & 4th, 2018 — Sawtooth Ski Club 16th Annual Ski Festival

  • SATURDAY, March 3rd, Park Creek Ski Area
    Highway 21, 7 miles W. of Stanley
    11am-2pm Homemade Chili & Treats
    Poker Run!!!
    Winning hand called at 1:30 pm
  • SATURDAY EVENING 5:30-8:30pm
    Stanley Community Building
    Dinner Extravaganza
    Incredible Silent Auction, bring your checkbook!
  • SUNDAY, March 4th
    Alturas Lake Ski Area
    Highway 75, 20 miles S. of Stanley
    11am-3pm Soup Kitchen Social
    Great ski trails and a great time!!!

The Sawtooth Ski Club will host the 16th Sawtooth Ski Festival March 3rd and 4th. Come ski, play, feast, dance, shop and socialize, all while supporting Cross Country Skiing in Stanley Sawtooth Country! At 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd at the Park Creek Ski Trails, homemade chili and treats will await eager participants at the annual Poker Run. Donating fun lovers ski or snowshoe a fun course, stopping at stations to collect cards and when the game is called at 1:30, whoever has collected the best poker hand wins a most excellent prize! At 5:30 Saturday evening at the Stanley Community Building, our ski club celebrity chef will present a delicious dinner and at the same time an amazing silent auction will take place. Many local businesses, arts and crafts people and friends of the club donate lovely things, wonderful services, ski and fashion accessories and deliciously fantastic items to the auction. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 4th at the Alturas Lake Ski Trails Soup Kitchen Social, enjoy great skiing along with with trailside soup and cookies. All events are donation based, so be sure to bring your check book or cash for the donation jars. The Sawtooth Ski Festival is our only fundraising event of the year. We depend on memberships, donations and Ski Festival proceeds to fund our efforts to provide quality groomed cross country ski trails at Park Creek and Alturas lake. Call Karen Keiski at 208-774-3487 if you wish to volunteer for any of the events or donate to the silent auction. See you at the Festival!


LINK: http://sawtoothskiclub.com/

TEL: 208-774-3487

CONTACT: David or Karen keiski@ruralnetwork.net


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