Sunday, February 3, 2013

Still grey in Girdwood, Be aware of conditions around important trees

Grey and white, grey and white, grey in the sky, white mid-way down the mountain, grey on the ground. Above is a photo of Max’s Mountain. In the center of the photo you can see slide debris from an avalanche triggered this morning by the Alyeska Snow Safety crew. The tops of the mountains received 9 inches of snow Saturday night. If you have been wondering why the HIgh Traverse has not been open, this is one reason. The same area seen in the photo above that slid, has done so earlier in the season on its own. Be patient, let Snow Safety keep the trails safe for everyone to enjoy.

Due to the fresh snow every night for the past few nights, the mountain tops continue to be bathed in glorious white light. Conditions were wonderful for more experienced skiers who chose to ride chair 4 and chair 6. As for the rest of us, we were down in the grey. The grey of rain and drizzle, the grey of melting water running down the roads toward Glacier Creek, and the grey of gravel coated ice making it safe to walk on the ice. Below is a photo of Max’s from Saturday the 2nd of February. Except for the avalanche, you will notice there is no difference in the weather. The temperature continues to hover around 35°. 

Below is an environmental issue anyone who planted trees last year should be concerned about. Frankly, any of us with trees on our properties in the Glacier Valley or western Prince William Sound should be aware of the bases of our trees this winter. With all the days of warm temperatures and melting snow, many bases of trees have been exposed. I have mentioned this before and cautioned:  if the soil remains exposed, the roots could be subject to freezing air when the temperature drops. Of course we are all hoping now that one of our snowiest months is here, February, the soil will be blanketed again protecting the health of our trees.

There is another poor condition I have seen as well, smaller trees that did have snow build up around them, now have pools of water at their bases. The snow had melted and then the surface froze creating a little bowl at the base of the trees. With the continuous rain, these bowls have filled up with water.  If these trees sit with their bases in water too long, there is the potential the tree will drown. If you have a bowl of water at the base of your tree, get a shovel or ice chipper out and break the wall of the bowl so the water can drain away. 

Here is a link to BioScience, published by the University of California Press, this link is on the University of Alaska Fairbanks website. The first article is a research paper discussing how climate change will affect yellow cedar in the Pacific Northwest. The research article includes important information we in the rainforest area of Alaska should be aware of. 

No comments:

Post a Comment