Three years ago, the Eagle Creek fire burned through the Columbia River Gorge. The news reports said that over 50,000 acres were destroyed, and Portland was blanketed in smoke. Many beloved trails were burned and access was limited. Before the smoke cleared, industry and its backers sought to use the fires to push for cutting and replanting the Gorge.
Oregonians overwhelmingly opposed efforts to open up the Gorge to logging after the fire. Trailkeepers of Oregon, Friends of the Gorge, Pacific Crest Trail Association stepped up to work with Oregon State Parks and the Forest Service to form dozens of expert trail crews to repair and re-open trails. At the same time, wildlife and time-lapse photographer Ralph Bloemers set out to capture the Gorge as the new forest emerged from the burn.
While the fire burned a perimeter of 50,000 acres, only around 8,000 acres burned at high severity. Even in those areas, Ralph photographed extensive wildlife – bears, cougars, elk, bobcat, deer, skunk, coyote and more. Ralph shot time-lapse photography in multiple locations showing new growth bursting from the forest floor. Ralph also joined trail crews on the Eagle Creek, McCord, Angel’s Rest, Pacific Crest trails to document their efforts to remove downed logs, rebuild switch backs, remove slides, move rocks and vegetation.
Join Ralph for a look back at 3 years of work in the Eagle Creek burn and footage from other special places in Oregon. Check out wildlife that you normally don’t see. Travel through time to see how quickly the new young forest emerges from the burn. Take hope from the resilience and beauty of nature, which serves as a metaphor for our own healing and recovery.
Videos showing Rebirth & Trail Recovery After Eagle Creek Fire