Cedar River Watershed newsletter, Issue 35
Discover Learn Connect
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.
Questions? Comments? Contact Cedar River Watershed Education Center
or (206) 733-9421

Second Growth Forests Rising, Falling, and Transforming

Rattlesnake Ledge

Second growth forest near Chester Morse Lake.

From the late 1880s to the early 1970s, much of the Cedar River Watershed’s old growth forests were logged to make lumber for a growing nation. Prior to 1920, once cut, the land was left to reforest itself by leftover seeds or those that blew in from nearby trees. By 1924, concerned by the forest’s slow regrowth, Seattle’s first Watershed foresters started a tree nursery to produce saplings for replanting the landscape.

Today, those seedlings have grown into second growth trees, now well over 100 years old. In patches across the Watershed, these 100-year-old second growth forests are going through an ecological transformation by natural causes. Wind storms, bark beetles, and root disease are killing off patches of trees. Some mortality may also be caused by a trend of increasingly warm springs and summer’s drought stress, combined with competition for light and nutrients. While dying trees may sound like a problem, it is a promising sign of these forests’ gradual transformation back to a more ecologically rich old growth forest.

Did You Know?

Education Programs

Walsh Lake Nursery (1940), the second-oldest publicly owned nursery in Washington State.

In 1926, to reforest the watershed after logging, City forester Allen Thompson selected the Hays Shingle Mill site near Walsh Lake as a nursery. The rich soils, temperate climate, and plentiful rainfall ensured the new trees’ survival. The 160-acre site had been purchased by the City in 1911 for $5,814.55, and operated as a nursery for over 30 years. It also served as the watershed headquarters until 1954.

Breaking News

Upcoming Programs

Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest
Learn about lichens in the classroom and the field.
Sunday June 11, 10:00 – 3:00 >

Railroad History Treasure Tour
Take a trip back in time to when railroads were king.
Saturday June 17, 9:00 – 2:00 >

NW Timber Community Songs & Stories
A fun, free Father’s Day musical performance.
See cultural history programs for more information.

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Cedar River Watershed  email   |  (206) 733-9421  |  (425) 831-6780