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Air 2s Flying at the Mill Creek Ancient Forest - Old Growth trees in peril!


Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2018
Hi everyone, got another imperiled forest in SW Washington that needs saving from WA DNR chainsaws - also a great place for a short hike to a seldom seen grove of giant old growth trees! Also, this is a perfect flying drones - no people around, no air traffic, and interesting weather patterns. It's particularly good for practicing flying FPV in the forest! I used the DJI FPV drone and Mavic Air 2S to film this video:

The place in question is Mill Creek, located just West of Longview up in the Willapa Hills. Here is found one of the last decent sized chunks of older forest with a complex natural structure in this region of the Pacific Northwest, and the DNR plans to cut it in the "Green Thomas" timber sale.

Most of the forest is quite large, with many trees over 4 feet in diameter - Doug Fir, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, with a remarkably diverse understory. Most remarkable of all is the grove of gigantic ancient Western Hemlocks each more than 5 feet in diameter and at least several hundred years old. These guys have stood there since before Lewis and Clark sailed down the Columbia!

Every comment helps, and it'd be great if you could get yours in before the SEPA comment period closes tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4:30 PM. For info on where to send comments, as well as more photos and a helpful form letter, go here: GREEN THOMAS | CRF

If you miss the SEPA period, please still send a letter. Everything helps!

If you'd like to visit yourself:
From Stella, just West of Longview, WA, drive 2.8 miles and turn right onto the Mill Creek Road. In 1 mile, turn left on the Spruce Creek Road, then in just 0.6 miles take another right onto Cathlamet road. After 4.2 miles turn right onto Bradley Truck Trail, and then in 0.3 miles turn onto the first road to your right. From here, stay on the main drag for about 11.2 miles before taking a left that goes downhill past a gravel quarry, then up again to a junction. Take the right hand fork and drive until you come to a wall of ferns where the old road has been pretty well consumed by nature. There's a good pullout just before this for parking.

Here's a google map for reference on how to get the last junction you need to make: Longview to Cathlamet

The hiking bit is pretty straightforward - follow the road for maybe 1/4 mile and the big trees appear suddenly to your left, and they're worth all the trouble of getting there to see! I spent most of my time poking around in the woods in this area rather than continuing down the road, but now based on aerial photos I took I think there may be even more giants hiding farther down this road. You could easily spend a whole day poking around here finding secret, beautiful glades and groves, the thought of all this being lost is hard to bear.

Speaking of bears, we saw fresh scat, so be sure and keep an eye out if you visit. There was also tons of other wildlife around - pileated woodpeckers, plus owls calling to each other through the canopy overhead.

Though the one road with the old growth makes for the best walk, the whole proposed timber sale is worth exploring - the forest varies wildly from one side of the hill to the other!

Regarding road conditions, they're all in pretty good shape. Grass is a bit high on the last stretch down the median, but most cars should be able to handle it.

This is certainly a place worthy of permanent protection, and just imagine the awesome lowland loop trail that could be built through it in an area currently so bereft of official recreational opportunity.

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Awesome, thanks for sharing!

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