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WSU offers class for wood lot owners

Earl Inglebright, 91, points out the baby trees he had planted by a crew on part of his 75 acres on Jordan Road outside of Arlington recently. - Sarah Arney
Earl Inglebright, 91, points out the baby trees he had planted by a crew on part of his 75 acres on Jordan Road outside of Arlington recently.
— image credit: Sarah Arney

ARLINGTON — A son and father team, Dave and Earl Ingebright, of Jordan Road, learned a lot about forest practices from a class offered by the Washington State University Snohomish County Extension Service last year.

Even after many years of planting and harvesting small patches on their 75 acres at the base of Deer Mountain between Arlington and Granite Falls, the Ingebrights said the WSU program was very helpful.

“We pretty much leave the wildlife alone,” said Dave Ingebright, who works by day as a manager at Boeing.

“Except when we have trouble with the raccoons, then we capture and relocate them elsewhere,” Dave said.

His father, a retired postal inspector said they have deer, raccoon, possum and beaver, but no bear in recent years. He doesn’t know his birds, but enjoys watching them anyway. They have a Peregrine falcon reserve northeast of their property, which is seven miles out of Arlington. They have grouse, eagles, turkey vultures, and ravens, among many little brown birds, like gross beak, Earl Ingebright said.

Earl is 91 and lives in a retirement community in Everett.

“He comes up every day with a sack lunch and works on tree farm projects,” said his one son, of three kids.

Planting and harvesting is nothing new to the Ingebrights.

“We planted these 22 years ago,” Earl said, pointing to a grove of Douglas fir trees as he offered The Arlington Times a tour of his property. He has owned the land since 1956.

Nonetheless they decided to take a class from WSU Extension because they wanted the latest information on regulations concerning small logging operations.

The biggest lesson they learned from the WSU course was the need for a forest management plan.

“We started planning in 2007 for a 2008 logging project,” Dave said, adding they planted 2,400 new trees after logging four and a half acres.

Dave Ingebright said they were impressed by the line-up of speakers including tribal, state and county experts in fish and wildlife and forestry.

He said they learned that it was possible to log a riparian area.

“We did a trade out, agreeing to plant three-foot trees near the creeks instead of the little 8-inchers to get shade quicker, so we were able to cut trees within 150 feet of the creek.”

A salmon bearing stream, Jordan Creek passes through the property, and three beaver ponds have shrunk this year after the beaver dams were washed out by high water last winter, Earl said.

“It’s not the same without the nice big ponds, but I trust that the beavers will rebuild the dams,” he said.

Earl identifies the forest behind the house as “our rain forest,” where moss hangs from the branches of large Douglas fir trees.

“It was all logged first in 1880, and the farm was homesteaded by an Anderson family,” Earl said. A portion of the original farmhouse remains standing.

The Ingebrights are planting cedars this year, rather than fir trees, because they do better on wet ground.

“We learned that we were correct in our assessment that our 40-year-old mature alder stands needed to be harvested this year before their value declined along with their health,” Dave Ingebright said.

“We learned a lot from WSU about what trees grow where, depending on the soil and the topography.”

Earl said that they didn’t make much money from the harvest, after all the costs of hiring the logger who also cleared the brush and a team to replant.

“Mostly we just wanted to improve the property.”

The forest is like a big park for the family, with named trails marked with sign posts.

“WSU also helped us choose a good logger,” Earl said.

“They helped us a lot, walking through the process, getting permits, identifying set backs, what trees to cut and which not to cut.”

A WSU forester who is teaching a workshop this week on attracting wildlife to wood lots, in Bryant, north of Arlington, Kevin Zobrist said property owners should not take the presence of wildlife for granted.

“Many factors can make property less desirable to forest fauna,” Zobrist said.

“We will offer information on what people can do to increase the diversity of their forest backyard,” he added.

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