Recreation in Oregon Forests

Three women and a dog hiking along a forested stream.

Aesthetics and recreation are two of the leading reasons woodland owners designate for why they own forested property. After talking with some local Oregon Women Owning Woodlands Network members it is obvious that recreation is an important element of forest ownership for them. They are out in the woods doing everything from horseback riding to plant identification. And often they are taking friends and family along to get them engaged with the forest. Here some of these women share what they are doing in their woods.

1. What recreational activities do you participate in on your woodlands?

Female horseback rider and her dog enjoying a wooded trail.

Hiking and picnicking, bough collecting, berry picking etc. And lots of photography!  – Margaret

I hike 2-3 miles down to my stream daily and take visitors as often as I can. I like to tell people the names of all trees and plants, if they are not familiar with our forests, and their significance. –Candace

I ride my horse in my forest and also build new trails for hiking and horse riding. Of course I invite my friends to go hiking on my trails and they tell me "Gail, these aren't really trails." – Gail

We have built connecting meandering walking paths down through the woods, as well as several benches, staircases, and 2 bridges that cross our small stream.  – Nancy

2. What recreational activities do you encourage others to participate in on your woodlands?

We recently hosted a hiking group I started. We have also invited basket weavers out to collect material. We host family picnics and also church group picnics (with a barbeque or a fire in the fire pit when season allows).  We also have regular hunters that come out every year, and my brother has some hunting stands. We allow horseback riding with permission and groups and individuals have done that. – Margaret

We are developing mountain biking single track trails on our small property. The trails will also be used for walking/hiking and will provide easier access to much of the forested area. – Shelley

When I was teaching Biology at Clackamas High School, I sometimes brought students here in the spring to study and identify native wildflowers. We are not hunters, but encourage some of our neighbors to hunt for deer on the property, usually with bow and arrow. We are the only family we know of in this area that has developed paths to encourage people to explore the woodland. To us, it is pure paradise, and I would encourage more folks to make their woodlands accessible to others. – Nancy

3. Why is recreation on your woodlands important to you?

Partly, we just like to entertain and show off our property - share what we have. My brother, as manager and a Master Woodland Manager, is always looking for ways to educate people about forestry and tree farming. As a guide on hikes, he is very informative and people seem to enjoy that. We are thinking about developing campsites, which would serve as an additional revenue stream for the tree farm. – Margaret

4. What is your favorite part about recreating on your forestland?

Woman enjoying a hike in a forest

Being outdoors. There is always something new to see, and even though we've walked the place for years, there are always plants, mushrooms, birds etc. to identify. We do a lot of that. It's relaxing, and a bit of a mental challenge at the same time. – Margaret

It is quite lovely and a quiet, peaceful retreat. The forest is also home to numerous birds and other small and larger animals, such as deer, raccoons, skunks, possum, coyotes, and an occasional bear. – Nancy


Photos courtesy of Oregon Women Owning Woodlands Network.