Timbered Crater – Lassen National Forest

Original Publication DATE: 8/13/2013

Timbered Crater has been on my list to visit for some time now. Exploring the Medicine Lake Highlands at the end of a week of field work searching for whitebark pine (more coming soon on this one), I found myself close enough to justify a stop here on my return to HWY 299 and ultimately the coast. It is a difficult place to find in many ways, since signs are all but non-existent, but the extent of the Baker cypress groves (7,000+ acres!) make the trees easy enough to find with a small amount of adventure.

Timbered Crater is the type-locality for Baker cypress, an exotic location for relict vernal pools, and ultimately a crossroads for Cascade and Great Basin species. Read more by Todd Keeler-Wolf  in his Research Natural Area report. It is also recommended as a wilderness study area–probably because of the lava flows make penetrating road-building nearly impossible. Hopefully wilderness designation will come to fruition, especially since there aren’t too many topographically flat wilderness areas–anywhere.

What follows are a few pictures, tinged by drifting smoke from the Salmon River and Oregon fires.
2

Two Baker cypress recolonizing a recent (<20 years) burn area in the Timbered Crater.

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Looking across the patchwork of vegetation types sculpted by frequent fire return intervals.

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Joyce Mary Mary
DATE: 8/13/2013 4:12:43 PM
Michael,
These pictures are great. You have chosen to live such an interesting life. You mother must be very proud of you!
With love and admiration, Mom
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Michael E. Kauffmann
DATE: 8/14/2013 2:18:41 PM
Aw, geez, thanks Mom.