My family’s forestlands have grown to just over 200 acres in the past few years. Thirty of this is what I refer to as our “homestead” property, the first parcel my wife and I bought when we barely had two nickels to rub together in our mid-20’s, and on which we’ve recently completed a family cabin. The other 170 or so acres are comprised of two additional parcels that are part of the “Hanson Family Estate”, forestlands that my parents have invested in, and that I manage as a trust endowment for our family.
Pair Family Forest, situated in the Snoqualmie Valley just west of Duvall, had a serious invasives problem when the family purchased the land in 2005. About a third of the property was choked with tangled pockets of Himalayan blackberry thicket. The brambles had muscled out the native shrubbery and posed a serious problem for Wayne, who had visions of transforming his forest into a mixed-age, biologically-rich ecosystem.
Northwest Natural Resource Group and our partners have hosted ecological forestry workshops in the San Juan Islands since 2012. These resources are specifically for San Juan County forest owners who are interested in learning techniques to reduce fire risk, increase forest value, manage timber sales, market forest products, and improve the ecological and economic health of island forests.
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
We are working with landowners in San Juan County to address the unique challenges of managing island forests for both ecological health and economic viability. Increasingly, forest owners in San Juan County are seeking guidance on how to manage their overstocked stands for improved forest health. They are also looking for creative ways to use the excess woody material that is a byproduct of restoration efforts. For the past six years, NNRG and our partners have worked in many island forests, conducting one-on-one site visits, developing management plans, and hosting tours and classes. In 2018, NNRG hosted a series of workshops
These days, typical New Year resolutions include exercising more and making time to be outside with nature. It’s also common for forest owners to have a “been meaning to do” list for their land. Thus, forest owners are especially fortunate as they can accomplish three goals in one effort by getting out for a walk in their woods to spend time in nature and observe their forest. All the better that they can prioritize forest stewardship activities for the new year.
This month, NNRG wrapped up a project to help landowners in the San Juans improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and use the slash and woody biomass byproducts in creative and beneficial ways.