Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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I had the chance to fly to the Eel River Canyon about month ago, and I used the opportunity to replicate some of my favorite historical shots. The one, just south of Cain Rock Bridge did not disappoint.

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Comment by Richard Todd on November 11, 2015 at 7:36pm

Another question to ask is, how long ago was the hillside logged? Many forested areas were logged for second growth in 50-70 years. Redwood, being one of the fastest growing trees, can produces commercially valuable trees in that time easily.

then again, those might be Douglas fir trees.


Comment by James Baloun on November 8, 2015 at 9:21pm

Now that I look again, the grass field in front of the forest has the appearance of typical mud-flow like between Cloverdale and Hopland.

Comment by James Baloun on November 8, 2015 at 9:19pm

Good point. The soil can be unstable mud that would limit the forest growth locally. There are many examples of unstable slopes that have been hell on the Eel river route. There is this period of years or decades where the railroad is cut into the hill and later the hill starts to collapse as the wet seasons pull it down. 

I used to look at the southwest and think it must have taken centuries for the erosion to fan out. I was shocked a few weeks ago when vehicles navigating heavy weather on a freeway were brought to a halt and over minutes and hours were cast in-place in 5 feet thick mud. The cars and trucks are quite mobile but could not escape. Even more so for a railroad bed. Of course the coastal ranges are not always like the conditions we saw recently in southern Cal.

I have a different view of the California, Arizona, and New Mexico desert and mountain erosion slopes. The sand and gravel can liquify and flow like a river in a few hours. This seems more common with the desert soil.

Comment by James Baloun on November 8, 2015 at 7:36pm

The wet forests of the Oregon and Washington coast you can see from Hwy 1 pop up like weeds and get mowed down every 70 or 80 years. The dry inland forests of Shasta and Lassen seem to still be recovering from their first logging. If the stand of trees across the bridge in these photos was untouched for 100 years, that looks like a slow growing dry forest environment. They appear to be the same trees and finally reaching maturity. I was amazed at the different growth rate after driving the coast and comparing with inland forests. It is easy to assume a similar looking forest is the same but logging inland has to be managed different from the coast. The railroad carried building supplies in and lumber out but in some regions it only carried the lumber out once.

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