An amazing experience occurred when tracking along South Creek near the southern boundary of the park. A gnarly windfall in some deep snow forced us to ascend the creek bank and into a fairly open stretch of ponderosa pine ecosystem. Suddenly we came upon an uncommon phenomenon, a White Fir with the bark stripped from nearly every limb.
The bark stripped from the branches lay in a very noticeable layer of small (3” x ¾”) strips around the base of the tree from trunk to drip-line.
I wasn’t sure what animal had done this damage to the tree, but I assumed it was stripping the outer bark to get to the sugary carbohydrate-rich inner bark. When I consulted Ranger sandy Christensen about this animal sign she felt that it was a sign of porcupine, an animal we often do not think of as inhabiting the Mountain Park. A bit of research confirmed Ranger Sandy’s suspicion and closer examination of the bark-strip laden area beneath the tree turned up some unmistakable porcupine scat and quills!