Category: Hanson Family Forest

To Thin, or Not to Thin

There is a 28 year-old Douglas-fir plantation on my family’s Bucoda tract that was established following clearcutting by the previous owner. The trees have grown into a deep, dark, primordial atmosphere, characteristic of densely canopied conifer stands, that belies the otherwise innocent nature of such a young and artificially simple forest.

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Agroforestry Plantation of Culturally Significant Plants

A reoccurring revelation breaks on me anew nearly every time I spend an appreciable amount of time in the forest; one that renders me mute and pondering in stunned silence: the forest provides everything we need to sustain our lives. Food, medicine, shelter, clothing, tools, and right livelihood

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Kirk’s Favorite Forages

When you learn everything that’s edible in the forest, it’s really hard to starve to death. Michael Pilarski Foraging for wild edibles on my family’s land has always been one of the highlights of having our own woodlands.  Throughout every season there is something we can pluck and pop in our mouths, which I’ve always found a novel way to relate to my forest. Over the years my kids have learned many of the native plants that are edible, and whenever I introduce a new one the inevitable question is “palatable or just edible”?  Though we routinely graze across the

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Raising 5,200 Children by Shovel and Machete

This January the Hansons embarked on a large reforestation project on their forest near Olympia, Washington. Comprising 18 acres and 5,200 seedlings, it’s been their most ambitious planting job to date — one that has had Hanson parents, kids, and grandkids weathering much of the current pandemic from deep in the forest.

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The Ever-Evolving Hanson Family Forest

My family recently bought a new tract of forestland near Bucoda, WA about five miles north of the town of Centralia. The land straddles a clay hill that is part of a vast ripple of prehistoric marine sediment laid down millions of years ago when this area was submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. The soils, a residuum of weathered sandstone, glacial rock, and volcanic ash are incredibly fertile when unlocked with a biologically active humus. Combined with abundant rainfall and a mild maritime climate, this region of Southwest WA is home to one of the most productive forest ecosystems in

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Sometimes, a forest just needs a little TLC (Thinning, Love, and Cost-share reimbursement)

As lifelong forest owners Rod and Diana Hanson were no strangers to land stewardship when they bought 70 acres near Black Diamond, WA in 2011. But the forest they purchased was a far cry from their vision of a mixed-species, mixed-age, biologically rich ecosystem that could also yield valuable wood products. The property had previously been owned by an industrial timber company that managed the land for short-term economic returns. The company had clearcut the property in the early 1980s and densely re-planted it all with Douglas-fir, the most commercially valuable species in our region. Several Douglas-fir stands were dark

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