The Enchanted Tree Farm

Bear claw marks on the Schenk Tree Farm

Guest post by Margaret Mils, Oregon WOWnet member

The Enchanted Tree Farm
 "Just living is not enough" said the butterfly fairy, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." Hans Christian Andersen

"It's spring; we need to watch out for bears," my brother said as we left the wide "new" road and plunged down over the hill on the "old" road, an overgrown track made worse by winter windfall.

Bears. I had actually forgotten about bears, and the need for caution in the spring when they have new cubs and are therefore dangerous. This was a well-known law of my childhood: in spring you were on the look-out for the first trillium, pussywillows - and bears. Alas, I've lived in town long enough to have become a bit out of tune with ways of the woods.

I saw my first bear on Schenck Tree Farm when I was six years old. I was with my dad on a logging road that looked down upon the old sawdust pile of a former small sawmill. A bear was on the sawdust pile. My dad had his .22 rifle with him, but that is a weapon of questionable  value against even a garden-variety black bear. So, after Dad pointed out the bear to me, we moved away.  Quickly. Since then we've seen bear tracks on the tree farm, suffered bear damage to trees, and caught the occasional glimpse of "our" bear on the farm.

Bears in the wild: they are one of the things that makes owning a forest so... magical.

Magical, enchanted, mysterious. The tree farm is a wondrous place, no doubt about that, but enchanted is a term rarely used among foresters. Talk tends more to root rot, beetle kill and board feet. Still...I will risk being the one to give away the secret: a major benefit of owning a family forest is the numerous magical moments one experiences.

Seeing a black bear on a sawdust pile is only one.

Margaret Mills