by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Chris Kleps and Gilbert Shibley discussed tree farming with Chamber Lunch Forum goers on Thursday, Aug. 22.Oregon State University Master Woodland Managers Chris Kleps and Gilbert Shibley led a "tree tour" on Aug. 22, featuring a discussion of the demands, benefits an future of tree farming in Western Oregon.

The tour of Kleps's tree farm was part of the Estacada Chamber Lunch Forum.

Kleps and Shibley have each been honored as “Woodland Farmer of the Year” in their careers.

Kleps told the guests of the history of his property, which he bought in 1982.

Before purchasing the property, Kleps and his wife started the Timberland Animal Clinic where the Eagle Fern Veterinary Hospital is now.

He enjoyed growing trees and bought the property he now owns as soon as it was available.

Chamber guests learned of alder, black walnut and other species.

Kleps and Shibley pointed out where deer had and elk had damaged young trees by nibbling or scratching their antlers.

“Deer are nice, but they’re a pain when you’re trying to grow trees,” Shibley said.

As the tour continued guests learned how to spot poison ivy and heard of healthy thinning and parasite prevention techniques.

They also heard of how the tree farming industry has changed over the years.

Kleps and Shibley made clear that successful tree farmers have to have an eye to the future.

“The key distinction for tree farmers is they have to think multi-generationally,” Shibley said. “Trees grow so slow.”

Kleps pointed out 10-year-old trees that won’t be mature enough to harvest for decades. He’s raising them for his children or grandchildren.

by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Gilbert Shibley pauses to answer a question.Kleps and Shibley are volunteers for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

They mentioned that “Tree School” is a great way to learn about the tree farming industry. “Tree School” offers a day of classes, vendors and informational booths.

To learn more or register for Tree School 2014 go to

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