Trees working for Camano family

CAMANO ISLAND — The Kristoferson family is one of four in the state nominated for the Washington Tree Farmer of the Year award.

The century-old Kristoferson farm on Camano Island is now home to the family’s tourism-oriented zip-line business, Canopy Tours Northwest.

The two-year-old venture is a fun one, but it’s also a way for the family to preserve the 134-acre farm and stick to a commitment to managing their 100-acre forest for many generations to come, Kris Kristoferson said.

His sister, Mona Kristoferson Campbell agreed.

“We’re very honored to among those considered for the forest award,” Campbell said. “Learning about forest stewardship led us to entertain a business idea that is low impact and allows us to share the knowledge we gained about our forest.”

Swedish immigrants Alfred and Alberta Kristoferson bought land for a dairy farm on Camano Island in 1912. From lumber milled on site, the Kristofersons built hay and dairy barns, which today are listed on the state’s Heritage Barn Register.

When the Kristofersons moved to Camano, the old-growth trees on their land already had been clear cut. With its 100-year-old trees, the current forest is managed for a small harvest every 10 years under a stewardship plan developed with the help of Washington State University Extension. The Kristoferson family has had plenty of chances over the years to sell their property to developers, Campbell, said.

Other tree farms nominated for the tree farmer of the year award, sponsored by the Washington Farm Forestry Association and the Washington Forest Protection Association, include one on the Kitsap Peninsula, one near Chehalis and another outside of Olympia.

The award is based on the farmer’s stewardship, management plan, timber health, innovation and community involvement. The winner will be announced April 26.

For more information, go to www.watreefarm.org, www.wfpa.org, www.wafarmforestry.com and www.canopytoursnw.com.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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