Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feb. 5, 2010 Tahkenitch Lake

Note: Takenitch Lake is just north of Reedsport, Oregon. It is only about five mile inland from the coast and mostly surrounded by timber company lands. It is fairly large, but never seems large because it consists of long arms.

Tahkenitch is very different from the spot we fell in love with 20 years ago. Private timber land surrounds the narrow, five mile long arm we frequent. Virtually all the timber has been cut during the past ten years. Some slopes are poxed with silvery stumps, others are a blush of new trees – all Douglas fir. There are even tree planters out here today, ensuring another harvest. Piles of bundles of young trees are piled next to the roadside in two spots. Each bundle is wrapped in heavy paper and is about the size of a 50 pound sack of potatoes.

The difference between this land management and the Umpqua National Forest land management is what saddens me. The U. S. Forest Service is mandated to cut on a sustainable yield, only in areas than can grow another crop of trees, cut smaller areas, and manage for multiple uses. Other than just harvesting they take into consideration wildlife, recreation, water quality … . They manage with a much gentler touch.

At least Tahkenitch’s slopes haven’t been cut right down to the water. Alder, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce grow out of a thin edging of evergreen huckleberry and salmonberry. Once I’m at the water edge, I’m back to the Tahkenich I love. The water is clear and dark, full of water weeds, islands of cattails, and scatterings of lily pads. Soggy areas already have a crop of bright yellow skunk cabbage.
Four ruby-crowned kinglets are foraging in the brush next to me. They scold me gently, then resume their search for tiny insects. We’ve nicknamed these constant energy machines, “Flitter.”

Yellow-rumped warblers and chestnut-backed chickadees are feeding above me in an alder; song sparrows pop in and out of the thick tangle of brush just below me. Out farther are a few double-crested cormorants. Some dive amongst the mallards and ring-necked ducks after fish; other cormorants stand on a floating log, drying their wet wings. A lone kingfisher flies low over the water. His ratteley call carries far in the still arm of Tahkenitch.


  1. I love the Kinglet as I said before.
    Your sketch is perfect for the horizontal orientation of the paper. Great reflections also. The lake area sounds like a bit of heaven.

  2. Wonderful post! Your words and images convey a special sense of place.

  3. Elva, you're wonderful at conveying a sense of place, both with your words and your lovely sketch of the kinglet!

  4. Oh this is a bittersweet reminder of why I have longed to live in Oregon for many years. ;o)

    Our son is in his final year of College in Portland, which also renewed the dream in my heart as we've traveled the state more often in the past few years.

    (I grew up in CA and visited family in Bend, yearly as a child. My father took us on wonderful long camping vacations, often throughout Oregon. I now reside in Az. Thankfully our White Mountains are a respite.)

    Again, I'm so enjoying your work! Thank you.