By Jeremy Felty
On May 19th 2018, 160 participants visited the Carr-Oakes-Johnson Homestead/Hardell Tree Farm in Benton county. They are the 2018 Benton County Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. The property is in its 4th generation of continuous family management. The first piece was homesteaded in 1883. Some of the original family orchard is still there and being managed to preserve its varieties. As new pieces of land were added and times changed in Oregon, management has shifted from agriculture to forestry with the family planting tens of thousands of tree seedlings long before that was a common practice.
Today, the property is a vigorous forest, bits and pieces of diversity that are being preserved or added, and 3 generations of family working together to keep the forest productive and to bring the family together. The first goal they list for the property is to have the 5th generation out there working and playing too.
The tour was hosted by the Carr/Oakes family, OSWA’s Benton County Chapter, and OSU Forestry Extension. It was funded by a grant to OSWA from Oregon Forest Resource Institute. Topics covered at the tour were, Pre-commercial thinning and commercial thinning strategies, the development of a pond and wildlife in a managed forest, and planning for a balanced forest age distribution.