What is that scar in the landscape you see on a steep hillside while driving southbound on Interstate 5 between the Wolf Creek and Sunny Valley?

Drivers along Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon will see quite a few scars in the surrounding hills, from various clearcuts to the Merlin landfill. This particular scab was logged about three years ago, according to Joe Koontz, a forester for Swanson Group, Inc.

The steep hillside has been replanted. But the baby trees are hard to see while zipping past at 60 to 70 mph, said Koontz.

"The closer you get, the more you can see (the trees)," said Koontz. "Trust me, they are planted."

The replanted trees are doing well, he said. But they were only 15 inches tall and one or two years old when planted. It will be at least five years before the new growth is easily visible to freeway traffic, said Koontz.

The property was owned by the late Grants Pass attorney Don Coulter during the logging, Koontz said. This is the second time the hillside was logged.

The first time loggers used heavy machinery to "cat log" the steep hillside. If you look really closely, you can see the diagonal lines from the old logging tracks, Koontz said.

This time the logging was done with new technology. The trees were harvested with a system of cables, said Koontz.

"It's much better for the land and the trees," said Koontz.

— Sanne Specht

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