This project is currently full. To join our waitlist, please email [email protected]
Check out Whitebark Pine Collection #2 project here!
Help the Whitebark Pine!
On December 25th, 2022 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule (87 FR 76882) to list the Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The Whitebark Pine is an important component of western high-elevation forests, their populations have been declining in both the United States and Canada from combined effects. Warmer temperature trends have triggered epidemic outbreaks of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and lowered the trees’ resistance to white pine blister rust, caused by a nonnative fungus (Cronartium ribicola), both of which have killed millions of trees. Historical fire suppression allowed the march of more shade-tolerant competitors into Whitebark pine habitat, replacing this species through succession.
Photo sourced from "Conservation and Management of Whitebark Pine Ecosystems on Bureau of Land Management Lands in the Western United States"
The overall goal of this project is to provide the BLM with Whitebark Pine seeds so they can study this specific Whitebark Pine population's resiliency towards known killers, propagate seeds, and keep seeds in a seed bank for dispersal at a later time in the event of a fire or population die-off.
The Whitebark Pine is considered a keystone species, meaning it increases the biodiversity of a community because of the important and critical role it plays in the lifecycle of many other species. This tree provides shelter and food for numerous other plants and animals. The work we are doing is an important step in helping save this tree and its surrounding ecosystem.
This project has two parts. This RSVP page is for part one of the project.
For this project, we will split our time between the Pahute Peak Wilderness and Pine Forest Wilderness. We will be hiking to and working with small, isolated populations of the Whitebark Pine. We will cage the young pine cones with mesh baskets (photo above) to keep the Clarks Nutcracker from eating the seeds as they mature over the summer.
Please note: this project is longer than usual (Thursday - Monday) and will require strenuous hiking long distances over some rocky areas.
We will return to the same sites for the second part of the project in September to harvest the mature pine cones (separate RSVP page here).
Difficulty: Hard: The project involves hiking off trail, up steep, rocky terrain, and carrying heavy loads
Location: Pine Forest Wilderness and the Pahute Peak Wilderness
Dates: June 22th - June 26th
Travel: 4WD and high clearance required. A limited number of spots are available in Friends trucks.
Food: Breakfast and coffee are provided on all work days, big group dinners provided Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night
Gear/Clothing: Please wear long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy work or hiking shoes. Camping equipment: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad. Camping gear available for loan
More Details: In-depth information such as camping location, weather, and project specifics will be sent out about a week before to those who have RSVP'd
RSVP required to participate
Suggested Packing List