1996: Rancher works to improve fish habitat on Willow Creek
100 YEARS AGO
October 6, 1921
Old time deer slayers of this community may be a little sanguine regarding the deer which Deputy Sheriff H.M. Franklin slew last Sunday, but we have the information straight from Sheriff Topping that our version of the affair (guess you would call it an affair) is correct. It seems that Franklin was out at his place on Grandview Sunday, rounding up a band of cattle which he owns, and that he took his gun along in the good old fashioned story book manner.
Franklin says the cattle out there are so wild that a panther or cougar seems tame along side of them. Finally, he discovered the cattle and headed them for the corral. He got off his horse to walk awhile behind the cows. He thought he felt something tugging at the back of his shirt, but he was so busy hollering at the cows that he didn't pay any attention to it. Finally, he was forced to stop on account of both back suspender buttons having been bitten off and immediate repairs became absolutely essential.
Imagine his surprise, as with the back of his pants clutched tightly in his hands as he looked around, to see a large buck deer enthusiastically munching a portion of the back of his shirt. It made him so aggravated that he shot the deer on the spot. Making the necessary repairs to his clothes with his pocket-knife and some six penny nails which he always carries for emergencies in his right-hand front pants pocket, he slit the neck of the deer and loaded it across the horn of his saddle and came home to eat. Topping ate some of the meat and he says this story is true. It is also reported that Franklin was the first purchaser of a hunting license from Sid Percival on Monday morning, however we don't vouch for this part of the story. We also understand Franklin's wife refused to sew the buttons on his pants when he got home.
75 YEARS AGO
October 3, 1946
Central Oregonians, who Tuesday, shortly after 9:30 a.m. were scanning the skies for the first of the United Air Lines mainliners, enroute to Redmond's Roberts Airport, where residents from Jefferson, Crook, and Deschutes counties had gathered for a Central Oregon Transport celebration, had their attention dramatically alerted by the honk of a huge V-shaped flock of wild geese. The scores of honkers crossed Jefferson County and the Crooked River Canyon and passed directly over the Redmond airport some 10 minutes before the arrival of the first plane.
Disappointment was expressed by sponsors of the Redmond celebration, who had announced that the event would inaugurate service by air over the "Sunshine Trail," at the first day of the season characterized by a heavily clouded sky. The only sun of the "Sunshine Trail" was witnessed in Jefferson County, where the rays played down over the great Madras Airbase, one of the largest of the west, built during the war for bomber training and now in process of disposal by surplus ware assets agencies. A joint petition for sufficient of the facilities for use as a civilian airport has been placed before the federal agencies by the city of Madras and Jefferson County.
Geo. T. Bragg, vice president and general manager of the Pacific Power & Light Co., Portland passenger on the southbound plane, however, declared that the clouds seemed very appropriate to west-of-the-Cascades residents, making them feel at home.
In the absence of Mayor Purl F. Lytle of Madras, who was unable because of press of business to be at Redmond, Howard W. Turner represented Jefferson County in greeting United Air Lines service. Prineville was represented by its woman mayor, Mrs. May Barney, and Miss Stella Hodges, who has been a member of the post office force there for 40 years and is now assistant postmaster. Guy F. Wade represented the Madras Chamber of Commerce.
50 YEARS AGO
October 7, 1971
Two Madras boys suffocated at the bottom of the grain tank on a big bulk grain truck Sunday evening at their home on North Adams Drive, Larry Adkins, Oregon State Police, reported. They were 15 and 13 years of age, respectively.
The investigating officer aid the suffocation deaths occurred as grain was being unloaded from the bulk truck. The two boys had been in a grain shed, and had been warned away when they came around the grain truck. It was believed the boys had left after they were no longer seen near the truck.
The state police officer said the two had evidently climbed on top of the bulk tank, the top door of which had been left open to allow ventilation. He stressed that in view of the fact the boys were not actually seen he could only conjecture that they had gone to the top of the truck and fallen in.
Both the driver and the boys' father had looked earlier into the bulk tank, but only after all the grain had been removed were the bodies of the two boys discovered.
The investigating officer said that grain in a bulk tank is "just like quicksand." A person falling into a such a tank is almost helpless. Patrolman Adkins also noted that the auger used in moving the grain is powered by a gasoline engine. He surmised that the noise of the engine would have drowned out any shouts of help.
25 YEARS AGO
October 9, 1996
At his ranch in eastern Jefferson County, Galen Wunsch has been working to improve fish habitat along the stretch of upper Willow Creek that runs through his property.
Wunsch has fenced off part of the creek to keep livestock out. He's planted pines, willows, aspen and other vegetation along the bank. He put rock structures in the creek that in time will build up the stream bed.
The grass and other plants along the improved stretch are lush, providing shade and keeping the water cool. Trout can be seen swimming around in some of the deeper areas.
A little ways downstream from Wunsch's property, the creek is not fenced, and the vegetation along the bank is sparse to nonexistent. As the creek flows through this area, it is exposed directly to sunlight, heated up, and made uninhabitable to trout. As Wunsch's project shows, though, the creek when treated properly can be restored.
Wunsch's property is just about at the headwaters of Willow Creek. He and his family own about 1000 acres. They graze 30 or so pair of cattle on the land.
The area where their ranch is located has likely been used for cattle grazing for more than 100 years, probably since the pioneer days. Wunsch started the restoration work about eight years ago.
Some of the property owners downstream of Wunsch â€“ Gordon Monroe and Andy and Bob Morrow, for instance â€“ have also been working on restoring the creek. Keeping cattle away from the riparian areas is a key part of such projects.
At his ranch, Wunsch put up New Zealand high-tension fencing wire along the creek. "I found that it's cheaper than barbed wire," he was saying recently. "And I haven't had an elk break it yet."
Students at the Madras High School forestry class helped put up the fence, which has two narrow water gaps in it where the cattle can reach the creek to drink.
The water gaps can be gated off to keep the cattle out altogether. The gaps are narrow to discourage the cattle from lingering around the creek. "They don't have a reason to congregate in the area," Wunsch said. "They go to the gap for a drink, and then generally leave. If it were wider, they'd probably settle in more."
There are means other than fencing that Wunsch is employing at his ranch to improve stream habitat. One method, for instance, involves rotating the cattle to different pastures every couple of weeks.
When the cattle stay in the same pasture for a long period of time, they deplete the grass, and then they start eating the leaves on vegetation near the creek. To avoid this, Wunsch tries to rotate his cattle every couple of weeks or so.
Another way to keep the cattle from grazing in riparian areas is to make water available to them at a location away from the creek. On his property, for instance, Wunsch has built two spring boxes â€“ large metal boxes that are inserted several feet into the ground at an area near a spring.
Water fills up in the box, and then flows down a couple of hundred feet of pipe to a water tank, which cattle and wildlife can drink from. "We get a constant flow of water that drains back to the creek," Wunsch said. "We have fresh water for wildlife and cattle. I think that is ideal."
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