ID – Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns, Caribou-Targhee National Forest

I’ve been wanting to explore and learn more about Charcoal Kilns for a couple years and finally took advantage of this opportunity just off Idaho Highway 28 between Rexburg and Salmon. 

Hard to imagine burning 800 cords of wood purely for charcoal. Hard to imagine harvesting that many trees; it’s no wonder this area could only sustain such activity for two years. 

It’s even harder to imagine that there is now a movement to keep the conifers out of the area. Per USFS, “West Birch Creek Conifer Encroachment Project: Purpose of this project is to remove conifers that are encroaching upon Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The proposed action is to cut the encroaching conifers with chain saws and/or masticate, chip, pile and burn or make available to the public.” I’ll take trees over grouse any day!

Grouse central aka the zone to be free of trees. 

View from the back door (the cables are to strengthen the structures).

The ceilings were a work of art. Can you imagine setting those bricks?

Yes that’s my car in the distance. I got a few bonus steps walking the road due to snow and mud. Notice the rain on the left side of the photo. This area has a really nice interpretive trail. 

Date(s) Hiked: April 21, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip Day 54 (out of 78)



5 thoughts on “ID – Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns, Caribou-Targhee National Forest

  1. I poked around the kilns by Wildrose in Death Valley (link) and the residue on the inside from burning all the pinon pine is amazing. On my way down from the peak, I strayed from the trail to see if I could find some section markers and got a bonus with finding logs still waiting to get loaded onto the donkeys and carried to the kilns. More recently, wandering the bumps around Treasure Hill, (link, and yes, the “treasure” is silver ore) I could not help noticing all the stumps from when that area was basically denuded of trees for the local kilns.

    The “encroaching conifers” reminds me of a post by a local-to-me blogger (not that I’ve met him) about a very not-local place and what he called “shifting baseline syndrome”. This seems to be a symptom of the same thing. (link)

    That’s way too many links, isn’t it? Does this thing even do links?

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