Eric Jensen and Jon Skelton
EGEO 452, 4/14/08
Changes in Forest Cover for Blanchard Mountain
Blanchard Mountain is located in Northern Skagit County and is the only area where the Cascade Mountains meet with the Puget Sound. It is the largest publically owned stand of forest on the Puget Sound. This patch of land is 4800 acres and is controlled by the Department of Natural resources. Much of the mountain is being considered for a large logging project because of the prime age of the forest (Chuckanut Conservancy 2008). Currently there are several organizations that are strictly opposed to any logging in the area; these include Friends of Blanchard Mountain, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Mt. Baker chapter of the Sierra Club, and Chuckanut Conservancy. These groups believe that the area would be better suited as a park area that could be used by all different types of recreation as opposed to logging the area. Revenue created from the logging of the area would go into state run programs such as public schools (Williams 2001).
Blanchard Mountain is the largest old stand of forest on the Puget Sound which serves as a refuge and recreation area for some of Washington’s much admired wildlife and many different types of recreationists, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to log this area. This is such a controversial issue because there are several groups and thousands of people fighting the DNR’s efforts to destroy this natural haven (Williams 2001).
Our objectives for this project are to create several different maps of the Blanchard mountain area in an effort to educate the public and help the stewards of the mountain prevent it from being logged. Several maps will be Viewshed analysis that will show Blanchard from more than a half dozen viewpoints in Skagit County, Whatcom County, and from the Puget Sound. A viewshed analysis is a powerful tool that in our case will be used to show what areas of Blanchard Mountain are visible from a half-dozen different spots around the mountain. This will give people a visual aid to help them realize how much of the mountain is visible from these various points and how logging would destroy the view of the mountain. It could also identify areas that could be logged with a minimal visual impact.
The actual viewshed analysis can be done in two dimensions as well as three. A two dimensional analysis is done with a digital elevation model (DEM) and shades portions of the two dimensional map that you can or can’t see depending on what style you like. We will produce a three dimensional viewshed analysis in ArcScene which also uses a DEM along with a Hillshade, and this will create an image that is very close to how it would look if the viewer was actually standing at that very point. This analysis will show people what Blanchard looks like now from several points of view, and will give them a good idea of what the area would look like if logging is allowed to take place. In two articles found in ESRI used viewshed analysis in a similar manner. In Grampians Nationals Park (GNP) in western Victoria, Australia, Park managers and recreational planners used viewshed analysis to determine the scenic potential for an individual viewpoint. Rutgers University Landscape Architecture students used viewshed analysis to find scenic viewpoints to help them in redesigning and moving a portion of the Appallation trail. Viewshed analysis allowed these students to view any portion of the area from any particular point they desired. (Arrowsmith, Chhetri, 2003), (Hartman, Tulloch)
Another series of maps will show the changes land use change and clear-cutting from 1985 through 2005. With satellite photos and supervised classification we can locate all the clear-cutting that has occurred throughout the 20 year period. Once the clear-cut areas are identified, then assumptions can be made for the amount of cutting occurring between each satellite image.
Using Arc Scene we will create a three dimensional map of the area and this map will also serve as the base map for our viewshed analysis. Our final product will be a website that will have an interactive map. The interactive map will have a nice base map with a hillshade and nice color ramp. It will have the half dozen different viewpoints on the map that can be clicked on to show the resulting view from that point. The will be both a two dimensional map and a screen showing the three dimensional area. This will allow anyone who is seeking information on the topic to be able to access a lot of information very readily and without difficulty.
Chhetri, P, and C Arrowsmith. "Mapping the Potential Scenic Views for the Grampians National Park." Abstract of Papers: 21st International Cartographic Conferences (2003). 17 Apr. 2008 <http://training.esri.com/campus/library/Bibliography/RecordDetail.cfm?ID=26924&startrow=16&hidpage=1&browseonly=1&libsection=Conference%20Proceedings&BrowseCategory=ICA%20abstracts&CFID=283997&CFTOKEN=95797839&>.
Ohlson-Kiehn, Kristen. "1 – 2 – 3 – Conservancy PROTECT BLANCHARD MOUNTAIN!" Chuckanut Conservancy. 17 Apr. 2008 <http://www.chuckanutconservancy.org/Blanchard%20Mountain.html>.
Tulloch, David, and Jean M. Hartman. "MOVING THE APPALCHIAN TRAIL: INVENTORY, ANALYSIS, MODELS, and Maps." ESRI Library. 17 Apr. 2008 <http://gis.esri.com/library/userconf/proc05/papers/pap2060.pdf>.
Williams, Matt."Welcome to Blanchard Mountain." The Planet. 17 Apr. 2008 <http://planet.wwu.edu/spring01/welcometoblanchard.htm>.