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TreeSitter on Saginaw Mountain inspires folk song.

Updated on April 13, 2016
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girlpower lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's an author, a blogger and lives with a man that builds cigar box guitars.

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TreeSitter on Saginaw Mt in Oregon Inspires Songwriter to Write Song

After reading an article in the Register Guard in Eugene, Oregon SmartyPants196 aka girlpower) was inspired enough to write a folk song about it. The picture in the article showed a young man perched up in a Douglas fir tree high above the forest in Saginaw. The man had on a bright yellow rain coast and had himself rigged up in the top branches of the tree to protest the clear cutting of the mountain.

While the rest of us live our comfortable lives this man was hoisted up into the tree with only bare essentials, water, food and whatever he decided to take up into the tree to last him at least a week. Protesting the continuing of massive clear cutting of forests in Oregon he was attempting to halt the cutting of at least that tree. Eventually police came and hauled him off to jail for trespassing.

I wrote this song to show how activists are trying to save Oregon forests. Another area near Fall Creek protesters were trying to stop the cutting of the old growth that is dwindling as we speak. Old growth forests can never be grown back to replicate the ecosystem that took hundreds of years to form. The cutting of old growth eliminates the endangered species that live there. The spotted owl is one of those endangered species.

SmartyPants196 remembers her profession years ago when she first moved to Oregon from Wisconsin when she worked as a sub-contractor forester as a timber cruiser for five years. Her crew worked under the Forest Service. Taking inventory of the trees in the National Forests in Oregon

She worked all over Oregon the east side in the Three Sisters Mountain range and further east in John Day Wilderness and near Coyote Springs near Joseph Oregon. She also worked doing ten point timber surveys which takes a complete survey of not only trees but shrubs and understory plants and grasses. To get to the exact location of each survey the forest service took the aerial photo of that forest and took a pin and pricked the exact location of where the timber cruisers were to find and start there inventory.

SmartyPants196 learned how to work in the steep forests living in tents and trailers together with the five or six other cruisers in a camp much like a gypsy camp. She learned how to cook on a campfire and Coleman stoves and learned how to live the life of forest dwellers much like the animals in the forest. It was a magical time where life was slow and with no technologies like phones or creature comforts of having a home. In the winter she moved to different parts of the state. Once living a winter in the Alsea valley picking salal to send to florists for floral arrangements. Working in steep heavily covered coast range forests was difficult with all the underbrush and working in the rain in rain gear was not always a pleasant experience.

The song speaks for itself and brings you into the mindset of why activists care about the removal of so many Oregon forest. They say that if the existing forests in Oregon that are cut were managed and thinned corrected that no new forests need to be cut. The loyalty it takes to sit in a tree is downright amazing. This is a tribute to that nameless treesitter who cared enough about the earth to take a stand. I wonder to this day who he was? Anyone out there who knows can contact me through the SmartyPants196 myspace page.

Listen to the song Saginaw Mountain below on my myspace link.

Words to the Song Saginaw Mountain

Look to the west at Saginaw Mountain, just beyond Camas Swale Fifteen men with fifteen chainsaws, they hauled another mountain away

At five pm the choker setters came in, they hauled the logs up the hill with long silver cables The earth stood still,till every one of those logs made it up the hill

They loaded the trucks in utter darkness, by dawn the logs were headed south on I Five The earth stood still, what took hundreds of years, was gone in about an hour

Camas Swale Creek will run thick like blood, filling in with reddish clay The Oregon rain will come and wash all the topsoil away

Oh my restless wanderer now can you come home? You're up in that old growth tree but you're not alone, you're not alone

I can see you front page register guard, you're eyes so blue, you're face so hard. I haven't seen you in three weeks, They say you're now tree sitting somewhere near Fall Creek.

Oh my restless protester, now can you come home? You can't stop every timber sale, You're up in that tree all alone.

In the spring the treeplanters come in, planting the hills with thousands of douglas fir. The earth forgives and starts a second growth forest all over again.

Look to the west at Saginaw Mountain Just beyond Camas Swale, 15 men, 15 chainsaws What took hundreds of years, Is gone in about an hour.


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    • craftyzen profile image

      craftyzen 6 years ago from New York City

      interesting article, good work!

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