Pilot story and photos by Andrea Barkan
A Saturday morning tour of Hendrick Tree Farm in Brookings gave about 25 people a peek into the forest that recently earned tree farmers Roy and Pattie Hendrick a tree farmers of the year award for Coos and Curry counties.
Oregon Tree Farm System, a state affiliate of the American Tree Farm System, gave the award and will visit all the winning county farms in September to determine the state tree farmer of the year.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Hendrick tree farm, the first certified tree farm in Curry County.
The Coos-Curry chapter of Oregon Small Woodlands Association organized the Aug. 14 tour of the Bosley Butte Road property, off Carpenterville Road.
OSWA members and other tree farmers walked through Hendrick's 225 acres and talked trees.
"You learn from the other folks who are doing it," Coos-Curry OSWA president Jane Muffett said. "That's the value of the tours, you get ideas from other people."
OSWA board members are the selection committee for Oregon Tree Farm awards.
Muffett said the Hendrick farm was an easy choice for her and other OSWA board members.
"We'd kind of been keeping Roy in mind," she said.
The Hendricks would have been honored a couple of years ago, but Roy and Pattie wanted to wait for the farm's 50th anniversary.
"We look for the tree farmer that takes an active role in managing their timberland," Muffett said.
"Of all the tree farmers I know in Coos and Curry counties, Roy just really loves this tree farm," she said.
"As far as enthusiasm for the tree farm and love of the land, Roy stands out."
Roy briefed his tour group on the farm's history.
His grandfather, Roy W. Hendrick, bought the land in 1944 and his homestead still stands on it.
Roy said his grandfather bought the land for the amount of money owed in back taxes by previous owners. The land was charred then, burned by several forest fires between 1890 and the early 1930s, Roy said.
Salvageable timber was logged in the early 1950s, he said.
Roy said he came to the tree farm every summer since 1962 from his childhood home in Santa Barbara, Calif.
He moved up full time in 1978 and eventually started managing the farm.
The Hendricks mostly grow Douglas fir trees, though Roy has also planted coast redwood, western red cedar, Port Orford cedar, hemlock and grand fir.
Roy said redwoods help keep the bears away from the Douglas fir.
"I like redwoods because they just don't die and I like alders because they plant themselves," Roy said.
Since 1977, they have harvested more than 1.25 million board feet of timber, Roy said.
A board foot is a piece of lumber 1 foot square and 1 inch thick.
The Hendricks estimate about 2.5 million board feet of timber now stand on the land.
"Our logging strategy has been varied over the years," Roy told the tour group. "We have clear-cut about 50 acres of Douglas fir, generally in three to four-acre patches, since 1977.
"We have commercially thinned about 110 acres," he continued. "We have done about 25 acres of hardwood conversion."
Roy has sold timber to South Coast Lumber Co. for 25 years.
The Hendricks' goal for their family jewel is to keep in the family.
They incorporated Hendrick Tree Farm in 1980 to avoid inheritance taxes and ensure family ownership could continue.
"The primary thing is to keep it as a place for the family to come and reminisce," Roy said.