By Jeremy Felty
On June 2nd, 90 participants visited the 190-acre Collin’s tree farm located in Jackson County, hosted by Bill and Marion Collins, the Jackson/Josephine OSWA Chapter, and OSU Forestry Extension. It was funded by a grant to OSWA from Oregon Forest Resource Institute. Bill and Marion Collins purchased their 160 acres in 1969. As hobby farmers, they soon found that they needed an additional 30 acres for pasturing cows and horses. This was the beginning of the 190-acre Double Diamond ranch. However, after 13 years, they decided to switch their focus to their forest land. The dense, vertically challenged forest was transformed over the next 35 years to not only to a healthier environment for wildlife and birds, but also one that is sustainable and less prone to severe wildfires. The key factor was the development of a road system that enabled all age, all species management by selective harvest.
The tour discussed the history of the property, the types of forest management performed by the Collins family, living with the risk of wildfire, and dealing with fire challenges. Speakers included Bill Collins, Alan Campbell, Bill Potterf, Marty Main, OSU Extension agent Max Bennett, and Oregon Department of Forestry employees John O’Conner and Paris Drake. Eleven non-OSWA participants joined OSWA at the conclusion of the tour.