Merzenich family recognized for Oak Basin farm efforts

Jun 14, 2022 | Author: Joe Holmberg, TFOY Selection chairman; Photos by Larry Mauter | Editor: Gabriel Bradford

Oak Basin Tree Farm, a 956-acre family enterprise located south of Brownsville in the Coburg Hills, has been chosen as Linn County’s Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year for 2022. The families of Ed and Jim Merzenich have collaborated in the management of Oak Basin for more than a quarter-century.

Brothers Ed and Jim Merzenich and Jim’s wife Karen were also selected as Linn TFOY in 2012.

The annual honor from the Linn County Small Woodlands Association recognizes achievements and activities relating to forestry in Linn County.

Linn County Outstanding Tree Farmer

2022 Merzenich Family
2021 Mike and Jo Barsotti
2020 Lee Peterman and Shirley Jolliff
2019 Kathy and Tim Otis
2018 Sherm and Leslie Weld
2017 Ivan and Rebecca Wolthius
2016 Joe and Shirley Holmberg
2015 Dave and Karen Bateman
2014 Linda Butts
2013 Rod and Ann Bardell
2012 Ed and Jim Merzenich and Karen Wilson
2011 Henry and Mollie Wolthius
2010 Dale and Shirley Crocker
2009 Fun Forest (Cota and Melcher families)
2008 —
2007 Neal Bell
2006 Don and Carol Cree
2005 Lon and Laura Rankin
2004 Aaron and Shawna White
2003 Alvin Sorseth
2002 Jim and Mary MacPherson
2001 Bentz Family

“The primary purpose of the tree farm competition is to promote responsible forest management,” said Jim Merzenich, a retired forester.

“We are honored to be nominated as the Linn County tree farmers of the year. We plan to commercially thin our young Douglas fir stands this summer, and this logging should be active at the time of the tour,” he said.

Oak Basin will be honored along with other chapters’ TFOY Friday, June 24 during the annual OSWA and Oregon Tree Farm System weekend gathering in Corvallis.

Objectives at Oak Basin are: to provide a sustainable flow of harvestable timber while protecting water, range, and wildlife resources; to restore and maintain natural oak and meadow areas and other areas of unique interest or value; to provide quality secure habitat for game species including deer, elk, bear, cougar, wild turkeys, and waterfowl; to provide recreational use for the family including nature study, hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, fishing, and hunting; and to use the tree farm as a laboratory to demonstrate that commercial timber management is compatible with conservation and endangered species protection.

The Merzenichs are pioneers in collaborating with NRCS in the restoration of Oregon white oak habitat and developing wetlands. They are frequently cited as examples of using agroforestry in concert with habitat restoration.

They have extensive experience in establishing and managing the Willamette Valley strain of ponderosa pine, cultivating markets for non-timber forest products, and restoring native habitats.

They are ardent proselytizers for active and sustainable forest management. A tour of Oak Basin is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6.

Jim Merzenich and daughter, Anna, on tree farm tour with other attendees.
Jim Merzenich, left, and daughter Anna in the foreground, listen in at a recent LCSWA tree farm tour. Anna will graduate with a biology degree from Oregon State University this winter. She is currently in the OSU Extension master woodlands manager program.
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Brother Jim (left) and Ed Merzenich have guided management decisions at Oak Basin for a quarter-century.

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