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When brothers Allan and Elbert Branscomb acquired their 410-acre property outside the Coast Range community of Elkton their primary objective was providing habitat to support the forest’s elk, spotted owls, and other prolific wildlife. A pioneer in the Forest Certification initiative, the Branscombs had trialed a number of innovative management practices. When Allan learned of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s pilot Healthy Forest Reserve Program he jumped at the opportunity. The program’s conservation easement compensates owners for income foregone in managing for the older, multi-aged forest habitats favored by Northern spotted owls. Its grant funds enable snag and woody debris creation, and other habitat improvements. Trout Mountain Forestry drafted a management supplement that guides the easement, and planned and implemented habitat improvements.
Shiver River is a 172-acre forest and farm property spanning Rock Creek four miles west of Philomath, Oregon. The property has been in the Picht and Brent families since 1920. Trout Mountain Forestry has been assisting the family in managing this special property since 1984, during which time we have overseen 7 individual thinning harvests.
Before Trout Mountain managed the property, Scott Ferguson’s forestry mentor conducted harvests there as early as 1965! The forests of Douglas-fir, grand fir, and legacy oak are split by a broad riparian forest of alder and ash. One of the early thinning harvests we managed at Shiver River was in 1998, which was one of the first FSC certified harvests in the Pacific Northwest. We recently came back and thinned the same stand for the second time, at 45 years old. This thinning was done the old fashioned way - light touch, small equipment, with a winch and line that was pulled out to each tree. This approach allows for minimal stand damage and we were very happy with the results.
The family members we are currently working with are 3rd generation owners of the property. They recently created an LLC with two sisters and a brother as members. We’re always glad to see families retaining their forests over generations and we this family forest is carried on for many more!