SISTERS COUNTRY PERSONALITIES

Bill Edwards
Oral Interview with Bill Edwards on June 10, 1998
Interviewer: Maret Pajutee

Lightly edited by Sisters Country Historical Society, July 2006 and Sisters Ranger District US Forest Service

ABOUT SCHS

Foreword: This interview was part of the Sisters History Watershed History Fest. Bill Edwards started the interview by showing news articles, awards, and reports he had saved from his days in Sisters.

This article about you was written in 1954. This is interesting, you were looking at soils, woods, water and wildlife and we now look at similar aspects of the ecosystem.

This is conservation education in Oregon schools and this is the history of it. How it all came about and what happened and why we tried to do it.

You have to remember there was no real environmental movement at this time. We were all on our own. We didn’t have the Forest Service involved in the environment, as they are now. Their prime mission was maintaining the forest for timber production, fiber production. And at the time we were here (1954) Gus (Gustafson) was doing a very good job. He was basically selectively cutting this forest. You can go out here in any of these places that haven’t been clear cut and you’ll see the bigger stumps. They would come in and take 100,000 board-feet out of a cut and then they’d leave. They did make roads, they did some compaction. They didn’t even think about that in those days. They took it out, piled the brush and went away and when they left, the forest was still there and it was still a forest, under a canopy but it opened up and in the winter they burned the piles. Gus had it set up on about a 150 to a 175 year rotation because he felt that was the longest we could allow trees to stand in this country. He knew 150 to a 175 years would produce about a good 18-22 inch pine log and that was about what he was looking for. So that’s how primitive things were in those days. There was no Sisters Forest Planning Committee, no Friends of the Metolius, there weren’t any ONRC, the Sierra Club was busy going on hikes at that time. Nobody was fighting the fight yet.

It interesting you raised the question of beneficial use of water. That was not often raised as an issue back then. For many people the beneficial use of water was irrigation, not fish habitat.

Exactly right. We weren’t even too concerned with the purity of the lakes. Suttle Lake never had much of a bloom on it. Never had any dog days on it. All summer long it stayed pretty fresh, pretty clean because there was almost no boating on it. Most of the boating was row boats. They didn’t bring the big cruisers up here, the big power boats. A lot of the guys in those days didn’t have motors for their boats.

The Isaac Walton League of American Funded this work?

They funded the award. I have a little gold beaver in my desk. The first one was awarded to another school, the second one we shared it with former Governor Scragg and two other people and I got it for my area of education and conservation. And it had never been done before, and that’s why they thought of about it of course. You have to remember this high school (Sisters High School) was about 65-85 children in the four grades. The whole school (district) was about 400 students. At the beginning when a lot of the young teachers came here in 1949, I came here as a coach and a teacher. In the next year I became the Principal Superintendent. This school was simply no where. It was almost to the place of being closed down by the State Department of Education because it was in pieces. They said either shape it up or you’ll loose your school. So the whole faculty was replaced for that year. I was the oldest member of the faculty, I was 24. The principal of the school was 23, Byron Evans, and we had two other teachers, they were 22, two women. We took these tough kids by the back of the neck and said you’re going to be good and you’re going to learn and this will be a good school and that’s where we started. We did everything we could for those kids, anything we could think of, interest broadening activities because they had been so limited in their lives here and they were basically good kids. They just had been allowed to be like kids, kind of ornery, throwing rocks at windows. You know how kids are but they didn’t really like it. When we told them what we wanted to do with them and made it stick. It just turned around. Those kids couldn’t have been sweeter and we just did everything. We had a ski club, we had a conservation club, we had a drama club, we had a music club. We just went on and on and everything we suggested the kids just grabbed it and ran with it. We went down to Pacific University every year with our one act play contest and we’d win second, third place, sometimes first place, knocking off the big people.

Can you imagine a little school in the middle of the woods teaching fencing?

Amazing

I fenced, I did it in school and college and I thought maybe the kids would like to learn it. They went nuts over it. I couldn’t keep them off the floor. Here’s another one that you might want to look through.

You got an incredible amount of press.

Unfortunately, yeah.

I mean for 1956 this is a lot of press.

Everybody in Central Oregon knew about this school. The first year I was here as a coach, I got here in August and made my first phone calls to set up my basket ball schedule. I was a basket ball coach. The only sport we had. And I started calling the schools around here, Culver and LaPine, Gilcrest and Prineville JV and so forth and nobody would play me and I finally said, look you guys you’re schedule can’t be full, this is our district. And they said, “Well Bill, we have to tell you the truth, we don’t want your kids in our school.” That’s how bad it was, “and furthermore we don’t want the parents.”

Because they were ill-mannered?

Rowdy, ill-mannered. The parents got drunk at the games and had fights and the kids weren’t much better. Can you believe this? Don’t forget this town in 49 and 51 was a mill town and a logging town and that was it.

How did you end up in Sisters?

I was born in Portland, Oregon and lived there and went to school there and left there during the war and went in the Navy. I was in the Navy for four and a half years during World War II. Then I came home and went to Willamette University on the GI Bill, got a Bachelor of Arts degree and majored in education and physical education. Jobs in 1949 were kind of scarce and they weren’t paying anything. After about 2 or 3 months of looking and having some very poor offers coupled with the fact that I was sort of a handicap because I had a wife and a child, and I now and then drank a beer. I said, “I don’t want to teach, the heck with it.” And I went down to Salem and applied for the Oregon State Police in the game division. I’d always hunted and fished and boy they grabbed me in a minute. I was a retired Navy officer and had been through college. They’d already measured me for a uniform and I came up here on a fishing trip to the Metolius.

Before I left the school placement officer in Willamette said, “Bill there’s an opening up in Sisters. Why don’t you go and talk to them.” So I came in wearing my fishing clothes one afternoon and talked to the Board Chairman and his young superintendent, they’d just hired him, Byron Evans. We talked about an hour and a half, two hours, mostly about fishing and hunting. Finally Byron said “Pete, I think we ought to offer Bill a contract.” Pete (Lundrich?) was the Board Chairman. Byron said Pete I really want Bill to be here, we need him in this school. How much can we pay him? And I’d been offered $2700 most places, $2700 hundred a year. That was coaching, teaching and driving a school bus. And Pete said, “Well, the best we can do for you is $3750 for this year but I think we are going to be able to get you a couple of hundred dollars more next year.” I kind of looked funny because it was a lot of money to me. Pete said, “Don't worry Bill, we’ll get some more for you.” So that’s how it happened.

So your occupation was coach/PE teacher? How long did you stay at Sisters?

Seven years. And the next year I became Superintendent/Principal because in those days they figured if you could run the basket ball team you could run the school. That’s the criteria for promotion from teacher to principal. And that’s how we did it. And that spring we had a good basket ball season. We got 8 home games but we had to go as far away as Detroit, Brownsville. We had to go way out to Crane, do you know were Crane is, out east of Burns? Had to go out there to play a game, because they wouldn’t play us around here. The kids, of course, realized this and I was on them like a wet shirt and said “Oh man, you kids be good or I’ll knock you into next week,” and that’s how we could do it in those days too. So they were, and that was the beginning. T the word spread that our kids were good and were good players. And it went from there. Ultimately we started winning district championships and played for State championships, all this kind of stuff. Then in the spring, to show you how we did it in those days...we said we would like to play baseball, oh the kids would like that. They had no spring sport, no track, no baseball.

The kids wanted to play baseball, so we said all right and we had to build a baseball field. Right over there, were the tennis courts are now, that was just an open field. We didn’t have the Quonset huts built yet or that little multipurpose room that’s long gone from there now. This whole thing was just sage brush and juniper trees so the kids and I got together with shovels and picks and cleaned out the baseball field, and we built a pitcher’s mound. It was a dirt field. Built a little, simple back stop. You won’t believe this, I sent to Portland for a bag of bats, about 10 or 12 dozen baseballs, I bought every kid a mitt, bought a catcher’s glove, chest protector and a mask and shin guards. Bought 3 bases, home plate and a pitching rubber. Our uniforms were black sweatshirts with Sisters on the back and the number on the front. We had a black baseball cap with an “S” on it, blue jeans and tennis shoes. We got the field built and we started to teach them to play baseball. No kid in this whole school ever played anything like baseball, including softball. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe there is an American child in this day and age who’d never even played, nor even seen baseball.” No television yet.

Our ski club was called SiHiski. We had a neat patch. -Three Sisters Mountains with the skis crossed in front of it. The kids went for it of course. Again, these children were starved for somebody to pay attention to them and do things with them that were interesting and they were learning something and getting a skill.

Then we had the ski patrol. When they got good enough skiing in the ski club, they took the PNSA ski test and first aid test and became members of the ski patrol. Ed Thurston and Ruth Thurston ran Hoodoo Bowl. They just loved those kids. We worked up there on alternate weekends. We were the ski patrol: Phyllis Handley and me, the two adults and the kids.

It must have been very rewarding to turn around a bunch of kids lives.

Yes, so I’m on this baseball field to teach these kids to play baseball and none of them had the skills or the understanding of the game. I’m going absolutely crazy trying to teach these kids baseball and they were so good. They tried so hard. So about the middle of the first week we were having practice after school. Dennis Brocket came by, you remember Alta Brocket? She still lives here. He came by and said “Bill, you’re having trouble” and I said “I sure am Dennis.” He was a logger, a gyppo logger and he said “You know, I used to play semi-pro baseball. Would you like to have me come in when school’s out, like now?” I said, “Dennis, I would love it.” and he said “OK, I’ll come work with your pitchers and catchers, because I was a catcher.” My goodness, so we worked like crazy for three or four weeks to teach these kids baseball. Got them all ready to go. The first game was in Culver. We left our dirt field, no benches, no dugouts, no nothing, blue jeans and tennis shoes and got in the bus and went over to Culver to play our first game. Culver had a beautiful baseball field. Skin in-field, grass out-field, dugouts, big back stop, bleachers. The kids had beautiful baseball uniforms, they had a manager. They had a bag of bats! Our kids got out of the bus and looked around and it was like a bunch of thugs coming to town. You couldn’t believe it. They were all very nervous, very upset. I said, “Cool it kids, we’ll play the best we can. We’re going to get better, don’t you worry.” Well, they whipped us; 30 something to nothing. Just turned us everywhere but loose. We got back in the bus and I said, “OK, we’ll never forget this will we? Our day’s going to come.” Three years later, some of these kids were on this team as seniors. We went to Multnomah stadium in Portland and played for the Class B State championship in baseball. Got beat 2 to 1 by Clyde North.

Once this school got going it almost got to be too good. We’d go to a basketball tournament, district tournament, we’d almost always win the tournament. We’d always win the sportsmanship trophy. We would always win the cheer leading trophy, and it just went on and on like this. We did little things, now don’t forget these kids came from the camp out there which is now The Pines. It was then the Brooks-Scanlon Camp. Most of the school population was from The Pines.

Who lived in town then?

The Forest Service children and the children of the people who had businesses, the ones who ran the service stations and the drugstore. The Days, they ran the drugstore, which is now the Palace.

Most of your kids were from families involved with logging?

May be about 15-20 kids from town. The thing we should emphasize is that this was a classic story of a community that was down and really wasn’t working within itself at all. Then when this thing began to turn around it just went like fire. The parents couldn’t do enough for the school and we didn’t have much money to do things. But what money some of those parents had, they were happy to let their children have to be able to go on a bus trip or buy them a ski outfit. In those days you could get the whole outfit for $25.00, skis and bindings and poles. You’d buy second hand boots and this kind of stuff. There was no money in Sisters but these parents were totally committed to the school program.

Why was the morale of the community so down? Was it because they were running out of work?

No, because in ‘49 the timber was really beginning to pick up. Don’t forget that was only a couple or three years after the chain saw, power saw was invented. People forget that. There was no community sense: people lived in camp, people lived in town. They didn’t do much together because there wasn’t much to do. Go to the taverns on Saturday night, go fishing and hunting. They didn’t have dances, there was no Grange Hall here. The school wasn’t organized to do these things. Then we started doing that. It just turned around.

It’s an interesting precursor to the kind of community spirit there is now surrounding the schools.

Precisely, that’s what made the town pick up and then the school became it’s focal point.

Have you stayed connected enough to town to know whether that spirit continued?

It did, definitely and positively, until the time they lost the school in ‘65 and the kids had to go to Redmond. Then it fell off, and that little cohesiveness, that community spirit was gone. We were overseas and working over there. I came back every two years and I kept in touch with all the friends and the kids. The kids who had been in school were worried about this. But it was inevitable because the school had become the focal point of town. Let me illustrate...the first winter, the first Christmas we got together and said, “Look, we’ve got to have a dance for these kids. A Christmas Dance, we’ll have a king and a queen and get a band.” The kids had never done anything like that and neither had the parents. So we got Duke Warner and his band. Duke Warner, the real estate guy now, had a band, about 7 guys. Duke played saxophone and he had a drummer and a couple of guys played fiddle some others played piano. We started telling the kids how it was going to be and we decorated the old gym with green boughs and red ribbons and we got a great big Christmas tree and silvered it, all the decorations on it. Fixed up the stage, elected the King and the Queen. Told the kids how to dance, borrowed card tables and put them all around the room, got chairs, invited the parents. The kids had dance cards. All these things that they had never dreamed of. Almost all the boys came by my house the night of the dance to have me tie their tie because we said you had to wear a white shirt and a tie and a nice pair of slacks, no blue jeans. And the girls got their little dresses, they were so excited. The adults in town were all invited. The children’s parents and anyone else in town, were all invited into the dance. Well, they all came, of course, it was a huge success. It was called the Winter Wonderland.

Lets see, how did I convince Duke Warner to play what he was supposed to play that for us? He said “I’m not sure I know how to play that one,” they played mostly Western stuff. I said you learn how to play “Winter Wonderland,” that’s our theme song. Anyway, the kids all came and they were so sweet, they were all dressed up and they had their dance cards and they knew what to do and everything. So the dance began, the kids were all there, and they are exchanging dances, they filled out their dance cards and so forth and we had punch and candles on the tables and the kids were dancing and behaving themselves so well. And the parents came and they were having a great time. They were getting drunker and drunker and drunker. Pretty soon it got to be a typical Sisters dance, everybody was fighting each other and so forth. The kids were just mortified and I was pretty mad too. The parents knew it. And afterwards I told them, a pretty good group of them, as they were leaving, that I didn’t like what happened. It was the end of the dances as far as I was concerned. The kids were just sick. They were ashamed. The next morning you’d be surprised how many hung over loggers came to my house and said “Bill, we’re sorry, we’ll never do that again if you’ll have another dance.” Can you imagine? It went that way, it just got to be a big thing.

Beginning with that, and then improving our athletic set up, and these one act plays we did in the new building, the new multi-purpose room. We did them in the round. We normally held about 150 people so many times we’d have to put the play on 3, 4 and 5 times because every body in town wanted to come to the play. That was another thing, when we had a choir and a music night. All of a sudden the school and the children became the focal point of the town and that drew the town together.

Fred Painter was the old city marshal. The kids liked Fred real well because he would go out with us in the conservation class and help us track bobcats. He’d teach all the kids how to read tracks and how to count deer and how to read deer tracks and tell a big fat doe or a little fawn. The kids loved this, of course, and they liked Fred and that took care of the police problem. The kids weren’t going to be bad. They liked Fred you see and it went on like this.

An old gentleman, I’ve forgotten his name, he was really very old at that time. He’s been long, long dead now, from LaPine. He called me up one day and he said, “Mr. Edwards, I hear you have a conservation class there in Sisters and you are teaching the kids to build rods and tie flies.” and I said, “Yes, we’re not very good at it but we’re getting along.” He said “Would you like some help? I’m a professional fly tier.” I said, “Would I ever.” So he’d come up once a week from LaPine which in those days was a long ways. The road as miserable from Bend to Sisters in those days. The first time he came up he brought a great big kit, I’ve still got it upstairs, all full of fly tying stuff. Buck tails, wings, hackles all the threads, everything you needed. Thousands and thousands of hooks, all sizes. And he taught for the whole year, for two years running he taught those kids to tie flies and they loved him and they all got very good, of course.

The thing that I think is probably the most important to come out of all this talking I’m doing is that you could take a community that was asunder that was composed basically of good people who hadn’t found a core to organize themselves around, and give them a reason to come together. In this case, it was their children and their school, and you couldn’t turn them off. It was the most interesting thing to watch over those years. We’d have a football game. The whole town would practically close up. You couldn’t buy gas sometimes. They’d all be down at the football field or the baseball field. Two years after we had that miserable baseball field that’s when we had that famous community work weekend. Harold Barclay brought all of his stuff in, the graders, a front loader, and a dozer and we leveled out that whole field. That is the present playground of the present elementary school. We leveled that, cleaned it up, smoothed it out, rolled it, filled it, planted it and built ourselves a playground. That would have been ‘52. That became our football field, became our baseball field, our play field, softball for the elementary kids. We eventually built a cinder track because we introduced track and many of our kids went to State meets. Lonnie Olmstead, nobody could beat him and these were kids who, 5 years before, never knew what a pair of track shoes looked like. So this is how it goes. We built that play field without a penny from anything. All from volunteer help. A guy loaned us the wheel line water system and we bought it from him later on. Walt Knuckles took care of it. We planted it that spring. I went around to every class room and said, “OK kids, now this is your play field. Your parents have worked hard on it now you’ve got to take care of it. Its got to grow all summer and nobody can go on it. Watch it, keep all the animals of it.” Well, I made a mistake because about 10 times a day some little boy or girl would come running in, out of breath and they’d say, “Mr. Edwards, Mr. Edwards, there’s a dog out on the grass.” I’d say “That’s OK, probably won’t hurt anything.” In the fall we had a magnificent playground. Didn’t cost the tax payers a dime.

Then in 1956, we thought, we should do something different. It was hard to do because I was in love with this place and all these kids. I just felt so strongly about them. But a fellow principal over in Culver the year before went overseas to teach with the Department of Defense and he sent us a card and he said, “My gosh you guys get over here, this is exciting.” So we applied to go over and teach overseas and he recommended me. Bang we were out of here. We spent 20 years over there teaching for the Department of Defense in Europe. But all those years I kept track of the kids here and came home every two years on home leave.

Then don’t forget every three years, the children who were involved in this period of time from 1949 through 65, when we lost the high school, still get together every three years here in Sisters on the Village Green for a reunion. Until recently there were just as many parents, sometimes more, than there were children at that reunion because for those parents, that was a highlight of their life. And that’s why we had the good support. When we had to discipline a child, which was very, very rare, I always hesitated to get the parent involved because they were quite harsh with them because they wanted those children to be good and to succeed and not give us any trouble, and we didn’t have any trouble basically.

I had to go on a lot of trips later on as the school got going and people heard about our little school they’d invite me to come to other schools to talk to them and I’d be gone sometimes for a day, a day and a half. And when I’d leave, I leave the school in charge of the student council. They’d take care of the school and they did a better job than I did many times.

You asked me that question, how did the Community look now and then. Totally different. This was a logging /mill town. People of moderate education. Very moderate means, modest, modest means but boy they gave all they had for the school.

They still have that strong feeling about the school and the community feeling, even though it’s a completely different bunch of people. This town has a better sense of community because the community activities have expanded so much more than we could do in those days. As far as meaningful, it’s about the same because whatever we did in those times with this community it was a blessing and a joy and its the same thing today but its much more blessings and much more joy.

A lot still centers around the school in Sisters.

Yeah, concerts and conservation activities one of the teachers comes down on Indian Ford Creek. The same idea. We prove a point and this is very important. The time and the place, the money, the social economic status of the people all these things, it doesn’t make any difference as long as you have a core on which to build a community spirit and it can usually be a school and the children. Boy if you can foster that and maintain it. You always have a few outsiders and there’s more here now because there are more people here. We had almost no outsiders. Everybody was there. There were about 650 people in the whole area. The sign said 760 I think. There were more like 700 people here and that was it.

Some things we remember. There were some exciting things in a little town like this. The winter of 1949-50. That was the first year we were here. That was the winter of the big snow. We had a heavy, heavy snow. I would say 3-3 1/2 ft drifting to 4 and 5. My car parked outside the Miller house was covered completely with snow. That’s how much snow we had. Most of the cars were snowed in and we didn’t have any snow plows. We had an old grader that used to grade the gravel. Gary Benson used to run it, Helen Benson’s husband, and we couldn’t get out of the snow. We were snowbound. I walked up to school that morning and I went by the old Post Office. The Eveready Battery thermometer was on the wall. I’m all bundled up, I knew it was cold because my noise was sticking together when I breathed. I stopped and looked at the thermometer and it was registering 38 below zero. I can’t believe that but I saw it with my own eyes. I got up to the school and the furnace was running full boar and it was about 40 degrees in the school so I got on the phone and called into the county and into the radio and KBMD and said, “Get on the air and tell everybody in Sisters there is no school until further notice.” That was a big exciting thing.

Then probably in 1952 maybe, that’s when the big barn burned down over here which was where the Shell Station is in this end of town. There was a huge hay barn back in there, Pine Meadows. That caught fire. For awhile it was going to be history over again because this little town nearly burned up twice you know. Georgia can tell you all about that. I can remember the sirens ringing about 3 o’clock in the morning. There was hay in it. It was spontaneous combustion. I think everybody in town as there. But the fire department was pretty limited. It was volunteer you know, we didn’t have the big pumpers and stuff like that. There was almost no wind that night, otherwise it would have gone right down through town, with a normal west wind.

So what were some of your favorite creeks and lakes around Sisters?

For our children, Suttle Lake was important. I wrote a nice note to Bill Anthony about the new development at Suttle Lake. First of all, it’s not economically viable. But I wrote to him and said my early memories, 1938, the first time I saw Suttle Lake. I was 14 years old then. We went up there from Madras camping for the weekend. To me that was one of the most beautiful places in the world. Black Cinder beach, looking up at Mt.Washington. Fishing and catching fish with my Dad in that lake and camping there and having that gazebo. The gazebo had just been finished and the toilets. To me that was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen in my whole life. I still remember that. There is no reason why we can’t keep it within limits of what’s happening today and I think its worth the effort to do that. I think Bill’s kind of got that sense.

Then, of course, the Metolius. I loved that. I fished it in ‘38 as a young boy and then came back after the war and came here to live and fished it. In our Friends meetings I always bring up the fact, I know we are testing and we are not finding much but something is getting in that river because the rocks I used to walk over with my hip boots were not slippery and all the rocks now I walk over are slippery. That tells me there is something coming in that river: phosphorous and nitrates and other nutrients. That was one of my favorites to fish.

I used to fish Squaw Creek. I’d drive up and hike up towards the falls fishing Squaw Creek. In those days nobody went to the high country. Nobody was running horse packs much and there weren’t any llamas here yet. You packed your stuff in. I’d go with my logger friends that had kids in my school. Joe Sully was one of the guys I used to go packing and fishing with on the weekend. He was about 6’4”. A very big French Canadian guy. A wonderful guy. We’d pick these big packs up and we’d divide the load up. I never understood this. I’m 5’10” 145 pounds sopping wet and Joe’s 6’4”, 250 pounds and we’d divide the load in half and away we’d go. We carried 40-45 lbs. We took a boat with us, and sleeping stuff. We used to take a jar with a dozen eggs in it, cracked in the jar. We’d take potatoes already cut up and cooked and a frying pan and we’d hike in early Saturday morning. We’d go up to Matthieu Lakes, up in there, Santiam Lake. All that stuff along the foot of Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack. We’d pick a different one each time and sleep out on the ground underneath the trees. Saturday night, if we caught any fish we’d put the big ones in gunny sacks and keep them cold in the lake and the smaller ones we’d fry. We’d fry those fish crisp, almost with no oil, just almost burned. Put the potatoes in there and dump half the eggs in because we had to have the other half for breakfast and we’d fry those eggs and fry those fish and have those potatoes and in the morning we’d have potatoes and eggs for breakfast. We’d be back there all by ourselves.

Did you go up towards Three Sisters much?

No, we didn’t do that drainage up there too much because the better fishing lakes were in this area. When you get up high up there high on the slope of the north and the middle Sister those lakes are pretty much moraine lakes and they’ve got a lot of sediment in them and snow melt and they don’t produce fish. They don’t stock them, they’re not big enough.

But you did fish in Squaw Creek?

Oh yeah.

What did you catch there?

We got rainbow; some pretty good size ones. And then a number of times I would be up there fishing and I would see steelhead spawning in the upper Squaw Creek. This would be...

Where?

Well, it would be in an area from a mile south of Sisters, a mile and a half all the way up to the falls pretty much. Many, many times I was lying right on the bank on my stomach and a pair of these steelhead would be five feet from me, two feet from me in the spawning red. She’s digging a hole with her tail putting in the eggs, he’s fertilizing the eggs, circling around, and they’d be surrounded by trout trying to get those eggs. He’d be fighting the trout and chasing them away. I’d spend a couple of hours sometimes watching that going on. It was very common.

So you saw them really go up quite high?

Sure, oh yeah, because the water was always flowing in there then. Indian Ford Creek was pretty strong and that’s before very much was done with Black Butte (Ranch) here, of course. So this whole area fed Indian Ford creek, this swamp. This place used to be called Swamp Ranch you know, it wasn’t Black Butte Ranch it was Swamp Ranch. I still say a lot of the water that comes out of the Head of the Metolius comes right out of this swamp, right here. There’s a pretty high coliform count at the head of the river, not much nitrate or phosphorus but a fair coliform count.

At the head springs of the Metolius?

Yes, and that’s coming I think, from here (Black Butte Ranch) it’s the cattle on the meadow and the geese. It’s not from our sewer system because we have sand filters now and first rate treatment, so the water we’re spraying out there is in effect chemically pure. But there are a lot of other nutrients that are on the meadow which are put there by the cattle and the horses and the geese. Who knows, but that’s another story.

That’s interesting, OK back to Squaw Creek fishing. Did you see Bull Trout or Dolly Varden’s?

We called them Dolly’s in those days.

We’re very interested in that because you know they just got listed?

Yeah, they just got listed.

We don’t have good records on people seeing Bull Trout. The only records I have are Jesse Edgington and Georgia Gallagher saying they’d seen some below the irrigation dam bridge. That’s the only two accounts.

I can’t tell you how high I would have been up there. I never did any fishing above the falls but that’s along way up there.

But you saw Dolly Varden in Squaw Creek?

South of town. Absolutely.

What kind of numbers, were they common, occasional, rare?

Oh, you’d be fishing for trout and you’d maybe catch two trout and you’d catch a Dolly. Unless you weren’t getting very good rainbows, you’d just step on the head of the Dolly and throw it away. Sorry, we old time fisherman used to call it a scavenger fish, not a scavenger but a fish we didn’t want in the river. They weren’t that good to eat. The flesh tended to be more yellow colored and softer and didn’t fry up well.

Jonas used to go with me a lot, their kids used to go with me most of the time. That was the nice thing about those years here. The kids fished with me. We’d go down on the Deschutes, on the Metolius together; two, three or four of us. We’d get in one of their cars or get in my car and we’d go down there after school and fish together for a couple of hours. We’d go up to Squaw creek and up to Suttle Lake. When I was serious about it (went to Blue Lake). The kokanee weren’t there at all (Suttle Lake). Well, Blue Lake was strictly a put and take. They put them in, we took them out. There was no spawning there, they don’t even grow there. They put them in, we’d take them out. There’s no feed in that lake.

What about salmon, spring Chinook, have you ever seen salmon?

I’ve seen salmon roll in that big hole above the Wizard Falls bridge.

On the Metolius, but you’ve never seen them in Squaw Creek?

No. Steelhead yes; no salmon.

We don’t have any reports that they were there but they’re supposed to be in the lower Squaw Creek area.

Could have been, I never got down to that lower part. One, because I didn’t have time, I was fishing half-a-day, or after school. I mostly fished in the Metolius, and Blue Lake and Suttle Lake too. We used to go up to Three Creeks.

But the salmon were in the Metolius. I never caught any because they weren’t interested in anything we were fishing with. I remember I saw one roll in that big hole just above the bridge. That’s a beautiful stretch in there. Deep. And this thing turned up as big as a boat. We worked with the game commission, we worked with the game commission when they built that trap down on lower Squaw Creek, not too far down from Sisters and trapped steelhead. And that’s where Gene Morton and the boys in the conservation class got together and brought those fish, put them in big 50 gallon drums and brought them up to the hatchery, Wizard Falls hatchery, stripped the eggs, stripped the milk, fertilized the eggs, put them in the hatchery and hatched the steel head we took out of Squaw Creek. Then the kids went up there when they were about 4”, 5 1/2” smelt and fin clipped them. We must have fin clipped, I don’t know how many thousands, and we put them in the Metolius at the foot of the settling basin where the bar is. There’s a screen there. The fish can’t come up into the settling basin but the water can go out. We put them in right there and a few years later they came back.

A lot of them?

The first one came back, and then a number of them followed. Suddenly we have proof that we can have an androgynous fish run of steelhead in the Metolius. There was one already in Squaw Creek and I’m sure there was one historically in the Metolius. Gene and I, Oregon Trout and everybody here in Central Oregon fought that dam tooth and nail.

Did they actually ask you what you thought about building the dam? Was there actually sort of a scoping process where they said to the public, “What do you think about it?”

There was no such thing as an EEA and this kind of stuff, there was no such thing as a scoping process.

How did you find out about it?

The permit had been applied for and they asked for comment. It was all grass roots. We just got together and said this is wrong, this is the most beautiful river in the world, accessible to everybody for 150 miles, trout, salmon, steelhead. It can be an unbelievable fishery. Gene and I said this has got to be preserved, and we can’t dam it up. And then we got everyone in support and excited about it and wrote these letters and made speeches, wrote articles.
Actually the Governor disapproved it, every body disapproved it. It came back from the federal government that it was OK. Every body except Lorine?, all the counties, all the county officials, the state officials, the Governor: No dam.

Then PG&E went to Washington to the Power Commission and overnight they were granted the permit. A good lesson for Gene and I because we worked so faithfully and so hard and everybody around us...

So were they promising that fish ladders would solve the problem?

Yes, oh yeah.

And you didn’t believe it?

No, we knew it wouldn’t be true because Gene and I knew you could get the fish up, because we’d seen the fish coming up things bigger than fish ladders, but you can’t get them down. Everybody else knew that...

Tell me about your Conservation Plot …

As this conservation class got going, Gus came to me and said, “Bill this is getting pretty big, would you guys like to have a demonstration plot out here on Indian Ford Creek? I can deed you a use permit for that,” and he gave us 80 acres right out here and it was rock pile, burn and some old growth and some logged over stuff.

So, where was it?

When you go out of the ranch and go up the hill to the right there’s a little road. It was down in there where the big rock pile (is), full of porcupines. We had about 800 yards of Indian Ford Creek and we planted fish. We did riparian work, we thinned, we pruned, we planted trees, we practiced fire fighting, we did surveys. The kids could run rods and chains. You’d be surprised how good those kids were. At that age they’re interested, they’d do anything.

Gus would come out with us. Don’t forget the Sisters Ranger District then, I think there were seven people counting the warehouse man. Because there were no appeals, there were no EA’s to write. There was no scoping problem. There were no public relations. If Gus wanted to cut some trees, he went out and marked them, cut them and sold them. It was very easy. And it was run pretty darn well. He would come out, or Gordie Hagen was his assistant, he’d come out with the kids. The kids loved it. We’d go out on the weekends and we’d come out after school. We’d get out sometimes at 2:00 and go out there and work. You just couldn’t keep them out of there. This conservation class was a wonderful thing for the kids, for me and everybody involved. Most of the time (when) I got an offer it would be a phone ringing, “Hey Bill, this is the county agent in Redmond, can I offer you any help?” “Darn right, get out here and tell us about this blue grass, about the soils and stuff.” Then he’d take the kids on field trips. The State Police would come out. Very good for the kids to sit and talk to the State Policeman who was in Game Division, Kenny Roach. Neatest guy, the kids loved him, and he was the State Game, the State Police. All of a sudden the kids would realize this isn’t a cop, this is the guy who is out there worrying about the deer and it worked.

What kind of changes do you think you’ve seen in wild life populations? Have you noticed anything in particular that worries you?

I think we’re compacting our migration routes to the winter range and I think we’re losing quicker than we’d like to admit winter range. That, I think, is a big problem and we ought to get on it and try to get a political consensus that would say, “enough’s, enough.” The whole area around Grandview, Squaw Flats, Little Squaw Back, Big Squaw Back, that stuff. We’ve got to stop the building going up there and the break up of that stuff. Summer range; no problem. Physically they get compressed on the migration route and that’s too bad. A lot of these used to go around Sisters the other way. On the other side of the Lazy Z Ranch. A lot of them came right through here over the saddle between Green Ridge and Black Butte or along the foot of Black Butte and now Indian Ford Meadow out there. The deer hunting was better, of course, because there weren’t so many people and there were many more deer.

So you think there were more deer?

Yeah, that’s my impression.

That’s interesting because I’ve heard both. I’ve heard Georgia Gallagher and Jesse Edgington say there’s more deer in town but less deer in the woods.

Yeah, because they’re acclimated now to being where lawns are and geraniums and petunias. That kind of stuff. They’re here on the ranch. The ranch is loaded with deer and bucks hang in here now. Bucks don’t hide, younger bucks, they spend the whole summer here and hang with the does. Very unusual. You don’t see any big mossy backs in here but you see 3 or 4 pointers a lot and now and then a 5 pointer, right in the middle of summer time. They know a good deal when they see it. Water, nobody’s going to bother them. They go out on the golf course at night and eat that fresh grass that’s been fertilized

Is there anything that you used to see that you don’t see anymore?

I don’t see as much raptor-type of bird life and I don’t see the abundance of quail that we used to have around here. Particularly north of town, east of town and along Big Squaw Back, Little Squaw Back, that area out there. That used to be loaded with quail. The turkeys are new but the grouse were always up on Green Ridge. Good grouse were up there, more than there are now, I would say. Again, none of this is scientific.

What about elk?

No, none of us ever saw an elk when we were hunting deer, not even up by Three Creeks Lake and that’s where they began to appear a number of years ago.

So this was in the 50’s, and nobody ever saw elk?

No, we didn’t find elk along there. We see elk up on Green Ridge we see elk up there a lot lately. As far as I knew there were never elk up there when we were hunting deer.

What about Bald Eagles?

Bald eagles, more as far as I’m concerned.

There’s more now?

Absolutely, because if we saw a bald eagle that was extremely rare. There used to be a great big nest up above the pass, straight north of the junction between Suttle Lake and Blue Lake. You turned, went north right from there on top of the mountain. There was a huge old ponderosa snag up there, there was a big nest in it and that’s about all we saw. We didn’t see any osprey down on the Metolius and we didn’t see any bald eagles down on the Metolius. We didn’t see them up Three Creeks area, those kinds of places.

Did you see an eagle at Suttle Lake when you were hanging out there?

Yeah, that’s the only one I saw. I was fishing one time up there by myself in my little rubber boat after school one day. There wasn’t a soul on the lake. And that’s the thing I miss the most. I could go up to that lake in the fall, September, Wednesday at 3:30 in the afternoon. Take my little boat up there. Pump it up. Go out 200 yards. Drop a rock down and catch myself 4 or 5 trout and sit there and there wouldn’t be a soul in the whole place. Not even anybody going up the pass on the highway, hardly. I was fishing there and all of sudden I heard this scream and I looked up and a pair of eagles were over me. Male and female. Little male and a big female, circling. Then they went away about 200 yards or so and circled and then they split and the male dove down and came in and took a fish right in front of me. They flew up then together screaming. Unbelievable noise they were making. Got up maybe 150 - 200 feet. Split, flew apart, back together, the male flipped that trout, the female caught it. She took off for the nest and he went back to fishing. I saw that whole thing and there wasn’t another soul in sight to see it. I about fell out of the boat, I couldn’t contain myself.

There weren’t as many osprey, all these have come back, all the raptors, as I remember it. Red-tails, sharp shins, the whole works. That was at the big height of the DDT thing and their eggs weren’t hatching. Deer numbers are about the same, as I said, but the patterns of migration have changed. We’ve got to work something out on this or we’re going to be in trouble. If you don’t keep that winter range and let these migrations alleys stay open. There’s just apt to be a point, they’re existing, then all of a sudden, the plug’s in the bottle and that’s the end of it. And it happens that way with animals doesn’t it? They survive, they survive and then all of a sudden they’re not there. It isn’t a gradual “not there,” it’s a very sudden “not there.” And all it takes is a lack of winter deer range; lack of migration area and three winters in a row that are cold, frosty and heavy snow.

Do you have any other wildlife or fish concerns?

I think we aren’t accepting the fact that we continue to pollute most of our waters and its going to take a lot of courage to stop this. For example, on Suttle Lake, no more two-cycle engines on the lake. Why do we think that we can take an exhaust that’s full of oil, bubbling through the water, come to the surface and evaporate and not do something to that water? How can we think that? But you start going up there and taking away those motors and you’re going to be in big trouble. But that’s going to have to be done or replace them with four cycle engines, self-contained. Water-cooled contained motors and that’s going to be expensive. These ski-doos and that kind of thing, junk that’s on our lakes; out of here, because they really pollute.

All these woods I hiked all those years, out with Gus, I knew this country, I knew almost every road it in, all this whole district right through here. In the hunting season Gus would call me up and say “Bill, I got another one (lost hunter).” and I’d say “Where was he last seen?” Up by Bear Springs, or he was heading for Three Creeks. But he never got there. So we’d go out and look for lost hunters and we could always find them usually because we knew the country, of course. You never saw any tracks off of those high roads, off of those forest roads. We didn’t have off-road vehicles. I just can’t accept those scares (from off-road vehicles) because I didn’t grow up with them. And that’s the difference, that’s why we don’t get all of this public indignation. They don’t know what those two-cycle engines are doing to the lakes. They don’t know what those four-wheel drives are doing to forest; to the chance for wild life. But it’s going to take an unbelievable amount of courage and political skill to solve this one. We are a culture of doing what we want to do pretty much. We’ve got the money to spend and they’ve got the machines to sell.

You and Becky Johnson practically said the same thing. Becky said, “Now our theory is this land is your land and this land is my land and I’m going to do, by George, what ever I want to.”

And, of course, we have to strike a balance between that and what they have in Europe now which is very, very strict accountability. German foresters are king in the forest. I hunted one morning with a young forester, just before dawn. We were walking up this beautiful trail, had our rucksacks, our guns, our dog. Everybody has to have a blood dog over there when you hunt. Down around the corner came a couple, big rucksacks, beautifully dressed and you have to understand, very expensive felt Bavarian hat. Beautiful lodenfry hiking outfit. Beautiful socks. Beautiful boots. Nice looking couple. You could tell; really classy people. In the rucksack they had two big sprigs each of this German mountain pine. It grows up high in bush form and it’s there to protect from avalanche and you don’t touch it. The thing that’s nice about it is, if you cut a couple of sprigs and bring them down to your house and put them on your gun rack, they stay green and smelling all winter. Beautiful things. So when I hunted with my German forester we’d sneak a couple for my house, and he’d bring a couple for his house. But they weren’t for the general public and this couple had them. We stopped and looked at them and he started chewing them out in German. I was embarrassed. This was a young forester giving those people what for and they both took their hats off, including the lady, and were bowing and apologizing. You thought he was going to shoot them. That’s the difference in how they run forests over there. That’s extreme. We’ve got to find a balance somewhere, where our forest people can go out and say, “No, you don’t do that in this forest. This belongs to all the people and you’re not going to come out here and tear it up, or burn it up or spill it up, or pollute it. If you can’t do it the way you are supposed to do it, you’re going to get out.”

What do you hope will happen with this area’s fish and wildlife and forests?

We have to have some way to instill in the people who are using our forests that, one, it belongs to them. They have the responsibility to use it right. And if they don’t, we have to have a concept developed where we can enforce that right. And it has to be done without any law suits, any Hail Marys, or anything like it. We just simply have to accept that as a way of life in America, in our beautiful forests. If we’re going to keep them that way, we have to make some changes. We’re not pioneers anymore. There’s not 10 people out here on the Metolius River now. There’s 10,000 on a summer weekend in this area. We have to learn to live with that. If we can get over that hump and learn to do it, everybody will be happier. They won’t think they will when you broach it to them. Like a gut-shot cat, they’ll be screaming. But if it ever gets to pass, they’ll realize how nice it is. I lived in Germany, I hunted all over. I spent thousands of hours in German forests fishing and hiking with my German friends and my German forestry friends, and it works. And they have, in a given weekend out of Munich coming up into the ?? area, which is a beautiful hunting area, 3 and 4 and 5 and 8,000 people in a place as big as Black Butte, Green Ridge and the Metolius Basin. All on nice trails, all maintained, they are all staying on the trails. They have Guest Houses to go sit down and eat their horse and drink their beer and sing their songs and when evening comes they go back to Munich and you never know they’d been there. Isn’t that nice?

Kind of, “ no trace” recreation.
How do you think forests have changed in the time that you’ve observed them?

We’ve made a tragic mistake on the fire suppression and the high-grading that went on in the 50’s and 60’s. All we left behind was basically an undesirable forest and no money was set aside to take away that undesirable forest and it was allowed to propagate and grow. No, we’re faced with almost an over-story of undesirable species. That should never have happened. On the East side we should have stayed with the open, selective cutting program. It could have been done. We could have gotten out the fiber without the damage and part of that money, not KV money, but money in addition to KV money, should have been used for forest health. Take out that white fir, thin out those dog hair snags, burn that brush and so forth. It should have been done at the time before it got away from us so badly now. So that’s what I see and it just makes me sick to see it.

But I think we’re on the right track. There are a huge number of people know who know the condition of the forest and that want to do something, even if it means cutting a lot of trees. It’s simply going to have to be. One, to pay for the jobs and two, to get the forest thinned out and back into the natural desirable condition. It will be a resource job and a political job, public relations probably most of all. I think everybody down on the Metolius that the Friends are working with are beginning to realize that basin has got to be treated and treated very severely. I think we’re beginning to get a lot of people that count on our side. Not many years ago, the Becky Churchill’s, even Becky Johnson, bless her heart, would say, “Logger, don’t you touch that tree.” Well, those trees are going to have to be touched and in some cases pretty severely. Get them out of there. I think it’s going to be good. I think that Bill (Anthony) will realize that we all have to work together on this. If we can find away to get John Shelton and several of these people in here and we say, “Look John here’s 20 acres, you’re going to get probably 20-25,000 board feet out of here. Isn’t it worth it to do that and knock this brush down mechanically and get out of here?” And I think he’d say yes because he’s got a little small log mill now. There’s nothing wrong with an 8 or 10 inch pine that’s been growing there for maybe a 100 years. That’s tight grain, not many knots in it.

So your hope is that some of the 8-10”diameter trees will be cut?

It’s got to go. You’re going to have to find something to fill a log truck up with. Some of the Doug Fir that are down there, they’re valuable. There’s nothing wrong with some of those White Fir. Take them in, chip them up. Chip them here on the ground.

Let’s talk about the water. You should know this. Indian Ford Creek flowed a lot heavier than it does now to the point where it came around down by Willow Ranch. Flowed down on the east side of the air field, down through there and down to the Perit Huntington House which is down straight east of where the school is located, that’s the old Perit Huntington place down in there. That bordered on a pretty good size wetland. People don’t even remember that that was there and it was wetland all year long. In the spring run off it was quite big. It stayed all summer, and all fall and all winter. There were muskrat mounds there; dozens of them, and cat tails. It was a beautiful wetland and in the fall I’d go out after school. I’d go out with the kids or a couple of the guys I knew in town and we’d go down there with our shotguns and sit on the muskrat mounds and shoot ducks. I’ll never forget that time from ‘49 through the ‘50’s when I was here, was a wet cycle. There was a lot of snow in the mountains, big snow. Nothing to have 10 feet of snow on the bottom of the bowl at Hoodoo. That was it, that was normal and so there was a lot of water in this country in those days and the springs all ran very heavily. Paulina Spring, here, always ran heavy and McKinney Spring over there on the other side of the ranch, Captain Jack Spring down here was a big spring; flowing real heavy all those years. I hunted this country all along here when it was a ranch. Carl Campbell and Virginia Campbell (managed Black Butte Ranch in the 1940s and 1950s.) Virginia died last year and her daughter is Carol Campbell, she lived out here as a child, went to school. Carol and Nancy, they were in our school. They were the cowgirls. They were the foreman of the ranch. I knew Carl very well and I knew the kids in school and liked them and they liked me and I’d come out here and hunt with them all day. We used to always shoot bucks, right over there by my house. We’d shoot bucks right up here on this hill. They were just thick up there.

Were there more willows associated with Indian Ford and Big Meadow then? Was it kind of swampy?

Yeah, that was no good for anything out there. Where we have the pasture now, what we call the meadow - that was unusable. They didn’t run any cattle there. You rode a horse through there in the summer time. You couldn’t believe the mosquitoes that were there. You didn’t breathe, hardly. You tied your shirt sleeves together with rubber bands, wore gloves.
It was a big wetland?

With a lot of willows, a lot of standing water. When the ranch (resort) came in, of course, they dug the lakes and then dug the drainage fields and that all went down. In the old days, that wasn’t worth anything for cattle. They cut hay, they didn’t do much grazing, they mostly raised hay. That area around there were the corrals are now, and the store, around where the lodge is now; on from the lodge down to the golf course. They kept those pole pines out of there. That was all grass. All around where the driving range is now and the pro shop. That was high enough that it produced very good hay. They’d cut that a couple times per year, wild hay; mostly fescue, tall red fescue and regular fescue. But the meadow itself, you couldn’t raise a rabbit out there.

We’ve noticed that most of the meadows in this watershed have been ditched and altered. We’re proposing to try and get some of those back into a more natural condition so they start functioning as wetlands.

We need to bring back this wetland set up in this country, especially. When things run off through these lava tubes you’ve got a ton of water in March and April and you’re bone dry in July and August. If you have the wetlands, its not so much for flood control, we’ve never had that big a deal here with floods, other than if you had a heavy snow pack and a big heavy rain. That will flood anywhere, but the problem in this country has been the steadiness of the water flow all year long. That came from these wetlands starting up there at Three Creeks Lake in the horse meadow and all the way down. We drained them, ditched them, to get the water out to go into the irrigation ditches.

The head of Indian Ford comes out of the ground cold and crystal clear but is now about to be listed as a water-quality limited stream for the water temperature, the nutrient enrichment and the habitat modification. In many areas people have removed all the willows on blocks of private land.

That’s why I brought it up. Stream flows vary, I can’t attest to the purity of it. We didn’t do those things in those days. But it was a good source of water. As far as I was concerned, it was good. Don’t forget in those days, too, if we were out hunting, or fishing or hiking and we were thirsty we just bellied down on the bank and drank it. Didn’t have giardia in those days.

You drank out of Indian Ford?

Heck, we drank out of Indian Ford Creek, out of Three Creeks.

One of Jesse Edgington’s concerns about water was that when he was a kid you could drink out of any creek or any irrigation ditch around here and now you can’t. Is there anything else that’s really burning that you want talk to me about? Concerns you have, particularly the Sisters watershed area: whether its forests or wildlife?

I think that we should really get serious about the riparian concern. A good example, a number of years ago, I talked to Tucker Williamson, remember Tucker who lived on this side of the mountains from Willamette? He was really a great guy and he and I became very good friends and I learned so much from Tucker. He worked very well with the Friends. If he’d been here now, I think we’d had a lot more progress. We were really beginning to fire on all cylinders when he was here. We were up on Trout Creek, heading up to the trailhead on Scout Pass heading for Yapoah Lake. We’d go up there. We liked it up there. In fact, I don’t tell anybody because that’s supposed to be a secret lake. But everybody in the world knows about it now, darn it. “Tucker, I said, “You guys blew it on that harvest you did up there, that clear-cut along both sides of Trout Creek, about a mile, mile and a half from the trailhead.” He said, “Boy did we ever, Bill, and we’re having a heck of a time getting regeneration, some of that we’ve replanted three times now.” I said “What concerns me most of all is that you’re right down to the stream bed and that stream bed is bald-faced. It’s in the sun all day long.” He said, “Tell me, tell me that was done before we got all this but together.” So then we went later on with the Friends and went out to actually see this and then went downstream to where they had proposed another clear-cut. You see, that was still their timber. And Tucker said, “We’re going to go back 30, 40, 50 feet. I said, “How about 50 yards, Tucker?” and we paced that off. Well, 50 yards is a long ways. I said, “OK, you’re right” because it’s basically flat in there. There’s not very much slope. But he said, “I hear you Bill and you’re right, and we’re not going to do that again.”

There’s got to be a consensus among public lands and private lands. This is the stickler and that’s what’s happening with the salmon thing on the coast; depending on the slope, the speed of the stream, the size of the tributary. You take a definite distance from that water, so far back and nobody touches it. If its been touched you rebuild it. If you don’t do that, we’re not going to have any salmon. I don’t care what they do about the dams or the hatchery, barging or whatever the hell they do with them. The riparian areas have got to be able to take care of the stream bed. And up there at Trout Creek is a classic example and I don’t think it’s grown back. I haven’t been up there for 3 years. But I know it hasn’t.

That’s true and Trout Creek has a nice run of native rainbow on it.

Yes, the little red-sides, they’re up there. So that’s a concern to me, and too, we’ve got to get this forest health thing done before we all burn down. I still don’t think the average person realizes that we’re just living from year to year with this forest. If it ever gets into a bad fire with our classic storm-driven northwest wind, look out. Those years up at the lookout, those hot afternoons, we’d look out over that Basin. It was just shimmering and you’d think, “Geeez, one match and this thing will go up like a firecracker. It hasn’t so far, but we’ve got to get in there. We’ve got to find way to get the people more willingly involved in taking better care of their forests. We have to have the concept that this is a precious thing and it’s a privilege to be in it. You’re going to be the caretaker of it. If asked to restrain yourself, refrain from doing something, you’ll do it. You’ll do it gladly and happily, as is done in Europe now. The Germans love their forest, they love their animals. They use them to death, yet, you’d never know it. West Germany, when I hunted up there, was as big as Oregon. We would commonly take in a hunting year 35,000 to 40,000 elk, their red stag. 35,000 in a place not as big as Oregon, with 62 million people living there. We’d take over 300,000 of those little small deer. But that’s because they care for them, they love them, they feed them, they maintain their forests. They have winter ranges, they feed in winter time. And they have a concept of forestry that we have to come to someday. It’s going to be tough because it doesn’t correlate with the old pioneer spirit.

Thank you for all this great information.


Copyright © 2006 Sisters Country Historical Society