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Students identify wildlife and dissect owl pellets under one of the four new shelters.

Classes relax at lunch in the learning meadow at the Bauman tree farm with the new ‘command central’ shelter in the background.

Volunteer Dan Baker leads students over the new bridges crossing a fish bearing stream to discuss riparian issues.

On a very frosty November morning, the soils station shelter takes shape in the meadow of the Bauman family tree farm, where owner Tom Bauman harvested each pole from his 673-acre property.

Tom Bauman and volunteer builder Lee Holly work on construction of the largest structure, which will be used for ‘command central’ during Forest Field Days.

Lee Holly works on the roof supports for the wildlife station, where students will learn to identify wildlife on ‘their’ property during Forest Field Days.

Built to endure, the wildlife station, which is located near the wildlife trail along an old pioneer wagon route, awaits its roofing.

Tom Bauman, front, works on one of two bridges spanning the Riparian Trail, while Starker forester Dick Powell is part of the gravel crew.

A crew of volunteers shovel gravel for two of the new trails at a Sept. 20 work party.

During Forest Field Days, students will search for signs of animal habitat along the Wildlife Trail, which follows an original pioneer wagon road.

The Riparian Trail takes shape, thanks to many long hours of labor by Tom Bauman and a little help from friends of FT&F.

The bridges are built, the trails are ready for trekking and the shelters are shedding rain. This year, hundreds of Lane County middle school students — along with their parent chaperones — will learn about forests and their management during a Forest Field Day at the three-generation tree farm. 

For the past six years, small woodland owner Tom Bauman and his wife, Lindsay Reaves, have welcomed area schools and volunteers to their pristine property near Crow for the annual spring Forest Field Days.  In 2010, the fall FFD was also held on their property, allowing students from Pleasant Hill Middle School the benefit of numerous permanent enhancements made in the name of outdoor education over the past six years.

Those enhancements began in late summer of 2009, when Tom and builder Lee Holly — along with a little help from our friends — began construction of a series of trails, bridges and shelters to further the educational experience for their visitors. One day, they may expand those opportunities to include an even broader community, but for now, Forest Field Day participants are enjoying some big changes when they descend upon the Bauman forest each April and October.

Now, students can walk an original pioneer wagon trail past newly-planted to mature stands of timber in search of signs of wildlife. They can walk past a small wetland and a crystal clear spring, perfect for learning about soil types, compaction and erosion. A third trail winds across a series of bridges over a fish-bearing stream, illustrating lessons on riparian concerns and practices. And a fourth ventures deep into the woods to teach about forest diversity, public recreation and woods safety. One day, there may be more trails, perhaps to the gravestones testifying to the grit and determination of the hardy people who first settled the rich and prolific valley.

If you would like to learn more about, volunteer for — or perhaps contribute to — this evolving outdoor educational opportunity, please contact coordinator@foreststodayandforever.org. Whatever your interest, there is a way to be involved!

History of the Bauman Family Tree Farm

Three generations of Baumans have worked the land in the fertile Crow valley, providing wood products, employment and income for Oregon and beyond since World War II.

Today, the 673-acre property known as the Bauman Family Tree Farm is owned by brothers Tom and Bob Bauman. It is managed by Tom as the Bauman Family Limited Partnership. It is a prime example of a well-run and sustainable Oregon resource — the working forest.

It began in 1941, when the brothers’ grandfather, Henry Bauman, bought the timber rights to 554 acres (Section 2) from landowner George Gates for $9,000. Henry put $1,000 down, rented the two-acre mill site for five years at $50 per year, and paid $1.50 per thousand board feet on all logs harvested each month. The plan was to remove the mill site within five years.

During the spring and summer of ’41, Henry and his son, Chet (Chester), built a steam-powered sawmill and began harvesting and milling lumber that fall with a crew of four men. By December 7 — Pearl Harbor Day — the crew had cut and shipped two railroad cars of lumber. But following the outbreak of war with the ensuing fuel and labor shortages, production slowed, and their main customer became the Southern Pacific Railroad. Operations remained small, with just two or three workers logging from late spring through early fall. Logs were cold decked and milled from late fall through early spring.

By 1945, it was obvious that the projected timber harvest could not be completed within the original five-year plan. On June 5, Henry and Chet purchased the land and timber from Gates for $7,000. (Lot 200 was not included, but was exchanged with a neighboring landowner.) On June 23, the pair purchased another 80 acres of timber rights from A.L. Perry in Section 11 at $2.50 per MBF, plus 2.5 cents per linear foot of piling cut during the upcoming year.

At this time, documents show the company name as the H. Bauman Lumber Company, which included a partnership between Henry and his wife, Hazel, and Chet and his wife, Katherine. Between Aug. 7, 1945 and September 28, 1950, the company expanded through purchases or trade as follows:

  • • Aug. 7, 1945 — Timber purchased on the NW watershed of the NW quarter of section 12, Township 19 South, Range 5 West for $1,000 from the Dice Brothers, who owned timber rights on 50 acres obtained from Earl McNutt.
  • • Aug. 9, 1945, 120 acres in Section 11 purchased from A. L. Perry
  • • May 5, 1947, timber rights on NW quarter of NW half of Section 12 from Earl McNutt for $500.

On Sept. 28, 1950, Henry and Hazel sold their half of the sawmill, along with Section 2 and Section 11 property, to Chet and Catherine. In 1963, to complete a linear property line, the couple exchanged 3.42 acres in Section 2 (tax lot 200) with a neighboring Mr. Tyree.

Chet and Catherine had two sons — Bob (Robert) Bauman, born in 1946, and Tom (Thomas) Bauman, born in 1948. The boys grew up exploring the tree farm, working in the sawmill cleaning and lubricating equipment as youngsters, later pulling and piling lumber as they aged. One of Tom’s first jobs as a tree farmer was planting trees for a penny per tree. Later, the brothers worked setting chokers, logging, limbing trees by axe and measuring felled timber. In their early 20s, they continued to work seasonally on the farm.

From 1941 to 1955, the steam-driven sawmill ran on a yearly basis. It was modernized and converted to a diesel-run operation in 1955, and the wigwam was added in 1967. Throughout this time, Chet and one employee, Russ Fullerton, were able to process up to 10,000 BF of lumer per day.

When wigwam burning was outlawed in 1972, the sawmill closed. By 2005, the process of dismantling the disintegrating mill began and continues today, but the wigwam remains, a silent, rusty testimony to a by-gone era. Following the mill’s closure, timber harvesting and providing logs for local mills became the chief income producer.

In 1970, Bob moved to Canada. Four years later, Tom began professional work on the tree farm logging and planting trees annually for his father. In 1987, Catherine suffered a stroke. The next year, to facilitate his wife’s care, Chet sold the logging equipment to Tom. Working as Blue Sky Logging, Tom contracted management of the tree farm with H. Bauman Lumber Company.

In 2000, H. Bauman Lumber Co. was dissolved, and the Bauman Family Limited Partnership was created as legal ownership of the land and timber. Chet and Catherine Bauman were general partners; their sons limited partners. When Chet died in 2004, followed by Catherine in 2005, partnership passed to Bob and Tom, each with a 50 percent ownership.

In 2006, Tom and Lindsay began plans to build a home on section 300 of the family property, which was zoned for agriculture use (EU40). Groundbreaking for their future home began on May 1, 2007 — the first day the couple began hosting Forest Field Days.* It was constructed over a two-year period by Tom and Lindsay with builder Lee Holly. It received final status in March 2009.

All of the interior 2x4s, 2x6s, door moldings and other specific beams were milled by Tom from family timber, as were the exterior cedar decking, ceiling and 6x6 Douglas fir posts and beams. The exterior walls were constructed of an insulated concrete block form called Durasol, which is a wood fiber based concrete.

After a 10-year lapse, the property regained status as a Certified American Tree Farm, and a forest stewardship plan was developed with the assistance of ODF Stewardship Foresters Bob Johnson and Jordon Ryder. Forester Mike Atkinson inspected and recertified the tree farm. In 2010, Tom was honored as Lane County Tree Farmer of the Year.

Forest Field Day is based on the real-life scenario of an Oregon family inheriting property. Students work together to create a five-year land management plan that meets all state and federal regulations while harvesting and replanting timber, protecting soil, water and wildlife, providing for public recreation and paying the taxes. During the field day, students rotate through four learning stations gathering data for their management plans from professional foresters, engineers, hydrologists, biologists, educators and woodland owners. It includes a six-week curricula correlated to state and federal benchmarks, an in-class presentation and transportation reimbursement.

© 2013 Forests Today & Forever