The county has approved plans that would help facilitate a new demonstration forest in the Molalla area, operated by Forests Forever Inc., a community-based nonprofit that also owns and manages the 140-acre Hopkins Demonstration Forest in Mulino.
The new site was donated to FFI last year by Molalla resident Hannah Schink and family. The 21-acre tract of forestland is located on the Molalla River about a half-mile south of the Feyrer Park Bridge.
The Schink family donated the land to FFI to use as a demonstration forest, where students, teachers, small woodland owners and the public can learn about forest management in relation to the river. All educational programs and workshops will be presented by Oregon State University forestry staff.
The same model is used at Hopkins, where a 12-member board of directors is responsible for managing the land and guiding educational opportunities for youth, teachers, private family forest owners and the community.
That property was donated to FFI when it was established in 1990 by the Hopkins family, who was concerned about possible development and wanted to leave it to an organization that would keep it a forest.
According to information provided to Clackamas County by FFI, the nonprofit intends to provide educational programs at the Schink Demonstration Forest only once or twice a month, hosting an estimated 20 to 30 people at a time. The forest will be open to the public only during scheduled programs and will host an estimated 500 to 600 people each year.
Minimal development is planned, but the organization did receive approval last month to build a 900-square-foot, open-sided shelter and a vault toilet to facilitate its use. These will be built in a flat meadow approximately in the center of the property, which has been historically managed as forestland.
The remainder of the property will continue to be managed as a sustainable forest.
A gravel drive will be built for visitors from Dickey Prairie Road, along with a parking area large enough to accommodate a school bus for field trips.
Stock photo by Aisan Nourbash.