Environmentalists and the timber industry are often at odds. But in central Oregon, a fear of devastating fires has created an unlikely alliance. OREGON FIELD GUIDE reports on how these groups are joining forces to restore over-grown and fire-prone forests. Tune in to the stations of OPB on Thursday, November 5 at 8:30pm to see how timber harvesters and conservation groups have reached common ground to help a sick forest.

Forest Thinning - At one time, The Friends of the Metolius, a group dedicated to preserving the beauty of that area, was opposed to any timber removal whatsoever. But people were seeing a change in the forest. A century of fire suppression had stressed the trees and made them more vulnerable to disease, insects and fire. Periodic fires used to keep underbrush down, but now, with so many people now living near forests, the use of high-tech machinery to thin undergrowth has replaced fire. We explore how this clearing method is generating material for lumber, posts and biomass for generation of power, which in turn is providing funds to help keep the forest in balance.

Cave Cleaning - A southern Oregon tourist attraction is in need of some extra care. FIELD GUIDE last visited the Oregon Caves 17 years ago in the midst of a major restoration project. Back then, crews hauled out large piles of rocks. Now they’re cleaning up small stuff — much smaller. Each year, the 45,000-48,000 visitors to the caves unwittingly leave behind evidence of their visit — a hair or a piece of lint from their clothing. Armed with tweezers and toothbrushes, volunteers come here in the winter when the caves are closed to find and remove these tiny bits of foreign material that threaten to upset the natural balance of the cave.

Portland Stairs - Finally we explore Portland’s stairs with Laura Foster who has written several books about Portland’s history and is working on another about the more than 180 stairways climbing up and down the city’s hills. You may be surprised to find that hiking them is to take a walk through some interesting Portland history.

FIELD GUIDE repeats Sundays at 2:30am and 6:30pm. Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE can be viewed online immediately following the broadcast at www.opb.org/programs/ofg/

In its 21st season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB
OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors. opb.org