Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Culturally Significant Mvs-yee-se′-ne Site Vandalized

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 6:25 PM

click to enlarge Prescribed burning at Mvs-yee-se’-ne on the Gasquet Ranger District. - U.S. FOREST SERVICE
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Prescribed burning at Mvs-yee-se’-ne on the Gasquet Ranger District.
The Six Rivers National Forest is increasing patrols at the culturally significant Mvs-yee-se′-ne— known locally as Pappas Flat —after recent vandalism at the site, including off-roading, racist graffiti and the chopping down of Oregon white oaks in the area, according to a news release.

It is, unfortunately, not the first time such incidents have taken place.

“The Gasquet Ranger District recognizes the cultural significance of Mvs-yee-se’-ne and is committed to ensuring its integrity for current and future generations. Protecting and maintaining this site is one of the highest priorities for the district. We look forward to working with the tribes, Smith River Collaborative, and the community in developing short and long-term strategies to safeguard this unique public resource,” Jeff Marszal, district ranger forthe Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA), said in the release.

The site, which is located near Gasquet in Del Norte County, includes a 15-acre Oregon white oak forest that was established before 1809 and has been maintained by the Tolowa for centuries.

According to the release, the area was “enumerated on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1993 as one of the first cultural landscapes to be officially associated with events that have made a significant contribution to understanding the broad patterns of American history.”

The Tolowa Dee-Ni′ Nation and Elk Valley Rancheria along with Six Rivers “have committed their time and resources towards restoring the property,” the release notes, including regular controlled burns “to promote acorn production and reduce hazardous fuels.”

Additional restoration efforts aimed at decreasing invasive species at the site are also underway, which the release states could be hampered by illegal off roading that often brings in exotics, such as weeds, into protected areas.

Read the full release below:
EUREKA, Calif., April 27, 2021 — The Six Rivers National Forest, Tolowa Dee-Ni′ Nation, and Elk Valley Rancheria are aware of recent vandalism, timber theft, and unauthorized vehicular use at the culturally significant Mvs-yee-se′-ne—known locally as Pappas Flat—on the forest’s Gasquet RD/Smith River National Recreation Area. During regular patrolling, forest personnel observed racist graffiti, illegally felled Oregon white oaks, barrier removal, and off-road tire tracks within the oak woodland and Jeffrey pine grassland.

Unfortunately, this is not the first incidence of improper recreational use at this location. In response, the forest is increasing active law enforcement patrols of the area, has posted signage, and will reinforce removed barriers.

Additional protections may be required if incidents of misuse continue to occur. Only roads specified for mixed-use or off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel on the current Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) are permitted for off-road use—the road into Mvs-yee-se′-ne and all areas on the flat are not designated for this type of activity. MVUM maps, which advise the public where they can recreate responsibly, are available at district offices and online.

“The Gasquet Ranger District recognizes the cultural significance of Mvs-yee-se’-ne and is committed to ensuring its integrity for current and future generations. Protecting and maintaining this site is one of the highest priorities for the district. We look forward to working with the tribes, Smith River Collaborative, and the community in developing short and long-term strategies to safeguard this unique public resource,” said Jeff Marszal, GasquetRD/Smith River NRA district ranger, who reiterated the importance of this location.

Mvs-yee-se′-ne was enumerated on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1993 as one of the first cultural landscapes to be officially associated with events that have made a significant contribution to understanding the broad patterns of American history. One of its defining features is a 15-acre Oregon white oak woodland that was established prior to 1809 and has been maintained by the Tolowa for centuries for acorn-gathering and other traditional practices. Its listed status affords Mvs-yee-se′-ne additional legal protections. As partners, the forest and both tribes have committed their time and resources towards restoring the property.

The parcel is burned on a regular basis to promote acorn production and reduce hazardous fuels, and recent grant proposals have been submitted to initiate additional restoration measures aimed at decreasing invasive weed occurrences at Mvs-yee-se′-ne in the near future.

Unauthorized vehicular use acts as a vector for spreading weeds into protected areas and undermines the effectiveness of current restoration initiatives.

As a reminder, a personal-use firewood permit does not permit the felling of live timber—only dead and down trees may be cut and removed in portions less than 5 feet long, as well all species of standing dead trees 18 inches or less in diameter. Visit, https://go.usa.gov/xHQKT for more information about firewood-cutting on the Six Rivers National Forest.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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