At first, we had no idea what to do with our 100 acres of forest and we had no experience in forestry, so we left it alone, happy to own a small piece of the Pacific Northwest rainforest. Surrounded by thousands of acres of recent clear-cuts, it was unthinkable for us to convert our young alder forest into another monocultured Douglas fir plantation, according to the conventional wisdom of the time.
The ice storm of 1996 showed us that our hands-off approach was a poor forest management option as well. Like the forest fires raging through overstocked stands across the west, nearly 30 acres of our tall, spindly, un-thinned alders went down like dominoes in one day. Had we heavily thinned the alder around 1988 when pulp prices were sky-high, we would have encouraged fewer but larger crowned alders that would have better weathered the ice storm, to be harvestable starting in 2002 when alder lumber prices reached record highs. This was our wake-up call to become educated and actively involved with our forestlands.
Visionary forestry was born out of our desire to preserve and honor the forest while creatively drawing from its abundance. To be successful on a wider scale, it must also be economically viable as an alternative to large scale clear-cutting.
The primary objective of Visionary Forestry is the development of a complex, beautiful and evocative landscape. Mature and vigorous trees will dominate the forest canopy, but there will also be many clearings, young stands and decaying trees in the landscape to provide visual appeal, maintain bio-diversity and support wildlife. If properly managed, the land will become more beautiful and valuable over time, providing abundantly for its caretakers for countless generations.
Continuous harvesting of premium timber and other forest products coupled with value-added processing and innovative marketing provides income that makes it possible. The visionary part is what you see when you walk through the forest: an enchanting sanctuary that reflects loving care.