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The Forests of Mount Rainier National Park   By:

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The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved.

FORESTS OF MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK

[Illustration]

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY 1916

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Price, 20 cents.

PUBLICATIONS ON MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK SOLD BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS.

Remittances for these publications should be by money order, payable to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., or in cash. Checks and postage stamps can not be accepted.

Features of the Flora of Mount Rainier National Park, by J.B. Flett. 1916. 48 pages, including 40 illustrations. 25 cents.

Contains descriptions of the flowering trees and shrubs in the park.

Mount Rainier and Its Glaciers, by F.E. Matthes. 1914. 48 pages, including 26 illustrations. 15 cents.

Contains a general account of the glaciers of Mount Rainier and of the development of the valleys and basins surrounding the peak.

Panoramic view of Mount Rainier National Park, 20 by 19 inches, scale 1 mile to the inch. 25 cents.

THE FORESTS OF MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK.

By G.F. ALLEN, United States Forest Service .

GENERAL STATEMENT.

The remarkable development of the forests about the base of Mount Rainier results from climatic conditions peculiarly favorable to tree growth. The winters are mild and short. The ocean winds that pass through the gaps of the Coast Range are laden with moisture which falls in the form of rain or snow on the west slope of the Cascades. The trees are nourished by this moisture through a long season of annual growth, and form an evergreen forest which is, in some respects, the most remarkable in the world. This forest, distinguished by the extraordinary size and beauty of the trees and by the density of the stand, extends into the deep valleys of the rivers which have their sources in the glaciers. On the dividing ridges and in the upper stream basins the composition and character of the forest change with the increasing severity of the climate.

The distribution of the different species of trees according to the intervals of altitude at which they occur separate the forests of the Mount Rainier National Park into different types. The lines of separation are to some extent also determined by complex conditions of slope, exposure, and moisture. The successive forest belts are uniform in the composition of their central areas, but blend and overlap where they come together.

The low valleys of the main and west forks of White River, of the Carbon, the Mowich, the Nisqually, and the Ohanopecosh are covered with a dense and somber forest of fir, hemlock, and cedar. The trees, pushing upward for light, are very tall and free from limbs for more than half their height. Their tops form a continuous cover which the sunshine rarely penetrates, and on which the light snows of early winter fall and melt, without reaching the ground. Even in midsummer the light is soft and shaded, and the air cool and humid. In the wintertime the young growth is sheltered from wind and the severity of the cold is tempered by the protecting mountain ranges. Saved from fire by the uniform dampness of the air the trees grow until they decay and fall from old age. They are succeeded by the suppressed younger trees. The forest remains mature, not uniformly sound and vigorous, yet not decreasing as a whole in size and volume. Individuals perish, but the character of the forest is constant. The deep alluvial soil covered with moss and decayed vegetation nourishes a luxuriant tangled undergrowth of vine maple, willow, and devil's club. The forest floor is covered with a deep layer of decayed vegetation and is encumbered with fallen and mossy logs and upturned stumps. The explorer who leaves the trails must be a strong and active man if he can carry his pack 6 or 8 miles in a long summer day... Continue reading book >>




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