On Saturday, June 22, Oakes Investment LLC hosted a Neighbor to Neighbor tour to celebrate its selection as the 2018 Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year. We had the opportunity to see what the Carr-Oakes family has been up to on their tree farm over the past year.
We took a drive along the excellent forest roads where we had the opportunity to get a sense of the past history of farming with sheep, goats and pigs in the early 1900’s. Their new acquisition of an adjacent 227 acres has diversified their age class of trees (12 years old) to allow for the younger generation of the family to have stands they can manage and harvest. We took a look at a 16 acre site logged in 2018 that yielded almost 1 million board feet. Some of these logs were sent to Hull-Oakes because they were over 28” diameter, but at only about an 11% lower price, with a shorter haul.
Family members from three generations showed us a planting site where each of the six families took responsibility for planting a section. They emphasized how important it was to build a sense of individual ownership by allowing each family member to participate in their own way, whether making signs, encouraging wildlife, marking, thinning or logging.
A walk along “Kayla’s Trail” led us to a small pond where Kayla has worked to enhance the population of red-legged frogs and has introduced Oregon chub with the help of Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife. Kayla shared her enthusiasm for this small native minnow that was listed as endangered in Oregon in 1993 and then, in 2015, became the first fish to be successfully delisted.
We visited a Douglas fir stand with Mike Cloughesy from Oregon Forest Resources Institute (the sponsor of the tour). Mike led an informative discussion of how to assess the condition of the stand and its need for thinning. He showed us how to use the stand density table developed by OSU Extension (EM9206 June 2018) to determine the level of crowding and competition in a stand of trees and determine when to thin the stand.
Marsha Carr, one of the six children of Don and Donna Oakes, was active in the Benton Co Chapter prior to her passing in September 2018. Marsha developed their forest management plan and endeavored to bring all four generations of her family together around management of their forest land. It was clear to me that Marsha’s legacy lives on in the Carr-Oakes Family and their forest.