NATS Instructor, Conservationist and Thrill Seeker Johnny Korthuis (@johnnykorthuis) recently traveled to the Canadian Rockies as part of The Nature Conservancy. Johnny and his team climbed to the top of healthy white bark pine trees, caging their pine cones with screens to protect them from being eaten by passing wildlife. This allows the cones to reach maturity, when their seeds can be harvested and later replanted. The white bark pine is an endangered species, and the population has dropped significantly in recent years.
The threat comes primarily from a combination the disease, "blister rust," an unusually large population boom of Mountain Pine beetles, and fire suppression which has kept natural wildfires from clearing out the dead and diseased trees. The lack of regular fires allowed faster-growing plant life to choke out the white bark pine. The conservation team hopes to use the seeds from these pine cones to grow a new generation of trees that are more resistant to disease and insects.
We are happy to note that Johnny was able to complete the mission, all while keeping his feet safe and protected, in our newest forestry boot, the Protector Ultra!
Photo credits: @djneustaeter