Restoring Oaks at Dorris Ranch

Dorris Ranch Oregon white oaks
Some Trails Temporarily Closed

At a park known for its iconic filbert trees, conservation efforts are turning to the wide expanse of native Oregon white oaks. Willamalane and the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council are working to restore oak habitat on the 21 acres of Dorris Ranch that lie adjacent to the park’s well-known filbert orchards.

Some parts of the ranch will be off limits to the public during restoration operations, and detours may be necessary for those using the Middle Fork Path.

The two organizations started in 2016 by mowing grassy fields to control some of the invasive species that had taken root. This summer, attention has shifted to the forested area adjacent to the orchards, where crews are removing trees that had moved in on the oaks. Fast-growing sweet cherry, English hawthorn and Douglas-fir prevented the oaks from developing the characteristic wide, spreading canopies that make them such good habitat for wildlife. Hundreds of creatures call oak woodlands home — from western bluebirds to western gray squirrels and deer.

The two-year, $250,000 project is funded by Willamalane and a $79,927 grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, with assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.