Environmentalists and the timber industry are often at odds. But in central Oregon, a fear of devastating fires 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, April 29 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 started to see a change in the forest. A century of fire suppression stressed the trees making them more vulnerable to disease, insects and fire. Periodic fires kept underbrush down in the past, but now, with so many people now living near forests, the use of high-tech machinery to thin undergrowth replaced fire. We explore how this clearing method generates material for lumber, posts and biomass for generation of power, which in turn provides 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, the author of several books about Portland’s history who is working on yet another about the more than 180 stairways climbing up and down the city’s hills. And hiking them is to take a walk through some interesting Portland history.

You can watch entire FIELD GUIDE broadcasts at watch.opb.org. Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE can be viewed online immediately following the broadcast at 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 Sundays at 1:30am and 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 contributiors. opb.org