PLSO The Oregon Surveyor Nov/Dec 2018

23 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | Featured Article continues T University and newly hired by the Wash- ington Department of Natural Resources as a Forest Engineer and assigned to the Larch Mountain Honor Camp. (See figure 1). This camp had been first established in the late 1950s to utilize prison inmates to rehabilitate a large portion of the Yacolt Burn that had fallen into state ownership. The inmates were organized into different crews and directed by state employees to fall snags (remaining from the 1902 and later re-burns), build fire roads and main access roads, plant trees, and fight fires among other things. Superintendant Elwin Dooley had assigned me two inmates to be my survey crew. One was an architect and the other was an attorney and both were reportedly “in on a bumrap” (as were most of the rest of the inmates). My job was to locate new access roads and direct their construction and recover andmonu- ment section corners. (the latter task I still had not had much experience with up to that time). There was however, a forest- er at the camp (who I’ll call George in lieu of his real name) that had worked there for about 6 or 7 years. He professed to be “a corner finder from way back” and proceeded to fill me in on his exploits in that regard every chance he got. His mo- dus operandi was to locate the corner locus by scaling creek or ridge calls from the GLO notes on a “stereo pair” of aeri- al photos. Then he would go to the spot, photos in hand, and search. There was no question he had found some original corners in “the burn” and had developed a sense of “what to look for” as a result. Unfortunately, he, likemany other “corner prospectors,” includingmyself in those ear- ly days, would get caught up sometimes in using imagination instead of hard evi- dence to justify a corner location. It takes a while to settle down and quit speculat- ing on what the original surveyor did and concentrate on the hard evidence avail- able. Occasionally, when the wood post is long gone and the marks are burned off the trees, you can conclusively locate the original corner positionby finding a “stump pattern.” This can be a pattern of usually two to four trees (based on the original bearings and distances to the BT’s from the original corner) the reliability of which is greatly enhanced if the trees are of dif- ferent sizes and species. Anyway, “George” came back to the Honor Camp one after- noon and announced inhis booming, deep voice that he had finally found the town- ship corner up by Spotted Deer Mountain. He proclaimed that he found the 72” Fir and the roots of the three Hemlocks which he identified as being Hemlock by using a mag- nifying glass. Several years and many cor- ners later, I was doing a survey that required this township corner for con- trol. I went to the area and located George’s “high- pole” set several years before. I immediately no- ticed that there were two 72” Fir snags, oneabout 40 feet east of the other, neither with any marks remain- ing. (“George” had used thewest one) I was curious about the Hemlocks and ran out the bearing anddistance to each fromboth possible corner points but found nothing in the “pasture” of 4-foot high salal, ferns, blackberries, and big down snags. Back at the DNR office, I happened to notice that the surveyor for the adjoining township (Robert Webster in T3N, R4E) had run a random line west for six miles in 1896 and noted the falling at “Trutch’s town- ship corner.” To my surprise, he had also observed Trutch’s 1856 BT’s along with a little note that said two of the hemlocks had been destroyed and that he added two new trees in their place. One was a 4” vine maple, but the other was a 36” fir bearing N 39W, about 24.5 feet. Armed with this new information, I went back to the area and ran out this new info. There was no treeNWof George’s post, but from my ribbon “backed off” from the eastern 72” snag, there was a 36” Fir stub hid- ing in a big vine maple clump. No marks were visible, but it looked suspicious, so I made a few chops with my Hudson’s Bay axe where the face would have been and, behold, a slab fell off revealing Webster’s scribing in all its glory. It was the first “got- cha” I ever made. It would probably be safe to say that more than one surveyor has tended to form a preliminary conclusion about the prob- ability of finding corner evidence after reading the notes and learning the char- acter of trees used for accessories. This is especially true in an area like the Yacolt Burn, where the hurricane of fire was so hot and consuming that the puny marks on wooden posts and trees usually didn’t have much chance of surviving. The in- tensity of such a conflagration is hard for one to imagine today, but accounts of such calamitous fires shed much light on them. Stewart Holbrook, in his classic book “Burning an Empire,” recounts the ferociousness and finality of the flames after talking with a survivor of the great fire that swept through the white pine for- ests around Peshtigo, Wisconsin in 1871. “Now the sawmill, by the east end of the bridge, began burning like a vast furnace. The logs in the mill pond began to smoke, then to light up with flame. John Cameron and many others were fleeing down the east bank of the river. On the way they saw things they never forgot. They saw horses and cattle, yes and men and wom- en, stagger a moment over the smoking sawdust streets, then go down to burn brightly like so many flares of pitch-pine. Charles Lamp had loaded his wife and children into a wagon and started. One horse was struck down by a falling tree. Lamp got out to help the horse up. Just then, the fire swept the wagon, and the family died where they sat. Lamp ran to a nearby brook and got into the water. Two hours later, when the worst of the fire had passed, he returned to where the team and wagon had been. Every- thing had been consumed.” About the “Yacolt Burn,” Holbrook writes “W.E. Newhouse, the star route mailman, was at home when he saw what was to be the end of things for him coming down the mountain. He hitched his two fine horses into his mail buggy, and away they Figure 3: Topography around Section 30, T4N R4E, Clark County, WA