A WALK IN THE WOODS
You are invited to enjoy a walk in the Oultons’ well managed forest. Mike and Dianne Oulton and family have been stewards of their land for several family generations. Mike has been working on improving their woodland for more than 40 years. The Department of Natural Resources is organizing a public field day at the Oulton woodland Saturday, September 19 in Martock, just outside Windsor. (read more)
Included will be a wide variety of family fun activities and educational opportunities for woodland owners and others interested in the forest. Visitors will see: horse logging, non-timber forest products, 200 to 400 year old hemlock old-growth trees, nature hiking trails, pre-commercial thinning demonstration, protected areas program, small forest equipment and firewood harvesting, estate planning information, wildfire prevention and suppression, pond life, and wildlife issues. A tasty lunch will be available to purchase for $10, followed by a ceremony to celebrate Mike, Dianne, and family having won the Central Region Woodland Owner of the Year Award for 2015.
The Oulton family farm consists of Mike and his wife, Dianne, their two sons and their children. The oldest son, Victor, and his wife, Novadawn, a local teacher, first joined the family in farming. Their son, Wyatt is attending Dal Agriculture Campus and he will be the fifth generation to graduate in succession from DalAC. He works on the farm in his time off.
Second son, Wayne, joined the farm a few years later along with his wife, Nicole, and their five children, Ty, Josee, Chet, Jorja, and Nate. The youngest Oulton son, Robert, is a Veterinary Doctor and practices in England. The Oulton’s daughter, Mary, teaches nearby at Kings Edgehill School. The farm operation also employs many local, talented people.
The woodlot has provided Mike and family with extra work to keep their employees working when farm work has been less busy. Most of the woodland has been thinned or patch cut at least once, and some areas two and three times over the last 50 years. As a result, most of the woodland has more commercial value growing today than when they purchased it or any time since then. Mike’s overall management objective is to improve the quality and increase the commercial value of the trees and forest stands that he leaves standing while harvesting the poorer quality trees periodically.
Mike and his helpers use a four-wheel drive 1996 Landini tractor with a skid plate to do the woods work. They built a power trailer from an old truck rear end to create a tough six-wheel drive vehicle that can handle woods use. They mounted a log loader on the trailer.
The main farm is currently in the fifth generation. Over the years, Mike and Dianne have purchased five surrounding farms and some other acreage since they started farming in 1965. Today they farm comprises about 1,800 acres, half of which is in agriculture farm land and half in woodland. The family operates a mixed livestock operation and a woodlot where they harvest firewood and logs to sell. Mike considers the firewood part of the “weeding process” in creating potential sawlog stands or a stand conversion on small patch cut basis. Some of this is done by horse to be environmentally sound and efficient.
Mike has managed to have an amicable relationship with a couple of local sawmills because they require mill byproduct – sawdust and shavings – for the farm operation. They also cut logs for orders for certain species and size. Mike harvests logs based on commercial thinning principles to allow only healthy trees to grow for future harvesting and regeneration. The woodland has benefited the family financially and provided many hours of recreational fun for family and friends.
The Saturday field day will go from 9am to 4pm. Wagon rides will be available to travel through the property. The woodlot is located at 471 Windsor Back Road, Martock.