Owning family forestland is worth the hard work.But believe me, it’s no picnic. I’ve gained new respect for tree-planting crews.
I discovered this while replanting a section of our 89-acre woodland this past winter. My husband, Rex, plus my father and I, spent two weekends planting 1,600 Douglas-fir seedlings on about six acres.
On four cold, wet and dark February mornings, we headed out to our property in the Coast Range near Mist. We pulled on raingear, loaded our tree bags with seedlings and grabbed planting shovels. After a while, we developed a rhythm: Pace distance, notch hole, plant seedling, tamp soil. Repeat.
On and on we worked, stopping only long enough to gobble our sandwiches with cold hands. At dark we returned home, grateful for warm showers, and collapsed into bed. The next morning, we got up and did it all over again.
After four days of this regimen, my bones were tired and my muscles were sore, but my conscience was clear.
Despite the hard work, owning and managing forestland is deeply satisfying. There are both “hard” and “soft” benefits:
• Firewood for us and my parents, and ferns for our yard
• A stream of timber revenue as part of our retirement income
• The satisfaction of seeing the tangible fruits of our labor mature into trees
• Family bonds that grow stronger working side by side
• A peaceful refuge to enjoy deer, elk, birds and wildflowers
• An inheritance for our children
Above all, we’re happy to keep our forestland green. We don’t want to see forestland taken out of timber for other uses. And we’re happy to contribute to Oregon’s economy. It’s why we work in the forest industry.
While I may complain about the work, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
But next time, I will consider hiring a planting crew!
OFRI Business Manager