Tim, Kathy Otis named Linn Tree Farmers of the year

Tim and Kathy Otis are Linn County's 2019 tree farmers of the year. Together, with much help from family, they manage more than 370 acres of forest land in the Middle Ridge area between Brownsville and Lebanon. Their family holdings include 135 acres of farmland and 25 acres of restored riparian woodlands along the Calapooia River east of Brownsville. The Linn County chapter of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) will hold its annual tour and picnic on their tree farm property this summer.  The majority of the property is owned in a limited liability corporation — Farm and Four-est LLC — by Kathy and her three sisters, Jill Hauptman, Jan Sheets and Deanna Russell. It was formed in November of 2014. Some properties are owned with cousins, which adds to management complexity. Tim, who currently works at Summit Ace Hardware in Lebanon, supplies elbow grease and technical support for the holdings. He holds a masters degree in forest engineering from Oregon State University and is …

Hey Bill, throw me a line

Rain is in the forecast this week in Linn County. That is good news. Rain gauge totals have sputtered around here this past winter.  We even got that early fire-season wakeup call March 19 and 20 at the North Santiam State Recreation Area. High winds and dry conditions got the blame. The Salem Statesman Journal reported April 2 it cost $332,000 to fight the fire. Some tree farmers are still putting seedlings into the ground, including chapter past President Bill Bowling. He notes that planting seasons vary depending on ground moisture and other issues. This Thursday he is helping to plant 7,000 Noble firs on the north side of a hill on some higher elevation property. This past Saturday and Sunday he planted 500 western red cedars on some wet ground he has near Berlin Road. He is replanting that spot and is hoping for the best.
“By planting late the new trees have almost a whole year to grow before they have to learn how to swim,” said Bowling with a chuckle.

Keeping track of Salem matters

In case you missed it, Alex Paul of the Albany Herald-Democrat published a good piece of reporting Monday (April 1) on proposed Oregon legislation that would tighten forest regulations. House Bill 2656 would require Department of Forestry approval for harvests located on “forestland that is a drinking water source.”  The legislation was introduced by state Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego. It would also curtail aerial spraying and new road construction on watershed lands. Quoted in the article are several Linn County Small Woodlands Association members, including OSWA president Mike Barsotti of Lyons and Jim James. James is the executive director of the statewide OSWA and lives in Sweet Home. Milt Moran of Cascade Timber in Sweet Home was another source quoted in the story. His story also was carried by the Bend paper, The Bulletin. No hearings are currently scheduled on HB 2656.

2020 seedling sale date set

Feb 1 2020 is the date for the silver anniversary Linn County Small Woodlands Association seedling sale.
As usual the scholarship fundraiser will be at the Santiam Building of the Linn County Expo.  Setup for the sale will be Friday Jan. 31. 

Linn County, LCSWA may team up at Sunnyside

Linn County and a local woodlands group may team up to build a demonstration forest at Sunnyside Park near Sweet Home. The Linn County Parks Commission approved a motion March 14 directing parks Director Brian Carroll to move forward with discussions on the project. A week earlier, Linn County Small Woodlands Association directors voted to open talks with the county after members met with Carroll at Sunnyside. LCSWA is proposing a demonstration forest featuring a Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine grove with walking paths, other native trees, possibly picnic tables and a memorial kiosk with educational information. The project would require approval from Linn County commissioners. Funding would come from a trust created in 1998 by Robert H. Mealey. Mealey was an ardent advocate for the Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine. His homesite was where Foster Lake now exists. LCSWA President Lee Peterman said his group is excited to be working with the county. “I believe this interpretive walk with tree…

Masons move in

A new family moved onto the tree farm this week. They will be living in one of those “tiny houses” and their stay will be temporary. The Mason family — we are talking about Mason bees — are pollinators. Their numbers have been on the decline for various reasons. Todd and Kari Stutzman rolled up in their big van with the housing and the bees. Todd set up with a few posts and the boxes along a fence line under an old crab apple tree. The task was completed in a half hour. The Stutzmans earn a living by taking the bees south to pollinate almonds and other fruit trees in California. In Oregon they have Mason bee ranches that basically grow more bees.  Masons collect pollen, are extremely gentle and are active in the spring months. They do not make honey but are crucial to produce heavier fruit yields. The addition of the bees fits in nicely with our Oregon Tree Farm System forest management plan. Wildlife habitat is one of our management system goals. Kerri Stutzman said they will be back in a …

Blog comes to life

The Linn County Small Woodlands Assoc. is an active organization. This blog is intended to help members in their woodlands efforts. Look for updates and news about the organization. Stay in touch.