David New and Darlina New collect berries on their family lot, Nourse Tree Farm, and will host an open house next weekend to celebrate being the Tree Farmer of the Year for Washington. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

David New and Darlina New collect berries on their family lot, Nourse Tree Farm, and will host an open house next weekend to celebrate being the Tree Farmer of the Year for Washington. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

How a family’s coveted land became a working forest

The New family knew nothing about forestry. Now they’ve been named the state’s top tree farmers.

ARLINGTON — The New family gathered July 3 for a picnic at a favorite spot near the river.

There are years of happy memories there. It’s part of a 160-acre swath of forested land that recently was recognized as a top tree farm in the state.

The News own the Nourse Tree Farm north of Arlington. Recently, David and Darlina New began managing it as a working forest, with timber harvests and replanting.

They’ve been married 42 years and live in Bellingham. They spend most weekends at the farm.

“There’s always something to do,” David New said. “We have a great big huge garden here and an orchard, and raspberries and blueberries and 350 dahlias as well as the tree farm.”

Darlina New’s grandfather bought the land in 1942. Then her uncle owned it for about 50 years. She remembers camping by the river as a child, and growing fruit and vegetables in the garden, she said in a video about the tree farm. Her uncle raised cattle there.

David and Darlina New took over in 2010. They formed a limited liability company to manage the tree farm with their daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Jeffrey Parker.

David works as a civil engineer and land surveyor, and Darlina is a retired teacher.

“I knew about engineering and other things, but nothing about forestry,” David New said in an interview last week.

The News were willing to learn. And this year, the Washington Tree Farm Program named the family Tree Farmer of the Year.

David New was surprised.

“Eight years ago I knew absolutely nothing about this, but I’ve been working at it and the rest of the family has been working at it, too,” he said.

They hired a forester for an inspection. The forester noted an over-mature stand of alder. That became the first timber sale, 60 acres of hardwoods. The area was logged in 2013 and replanted in early 2015 with alder, Douglas fir, pine and hemlock.

“The idea was to create stands that could be smaller and be harvested at different times,” David New said.

The family also restored fish habitat along a tributary of Pilchuck Creek. A biologist pointed out juvenile coho salmon. The News worked with the Snohomish Conservation District to remove grass and weeds around the stream and plant other vegetation to help keep the water cool and clean.

Darlina New bought her husband a wildlife camera one Christmas and they set it up. They’ve added two more cameras now. They have images of bobcats, bear, cougars, deer, rabbits, hawks, mice, owls and coyotes, David New said.

He took classes and worked with the Washington State University Extension Forestry Program on a management plan. Most people who own forested property don’t create a plan, he said. He encourages them to do so. It can help avoid disease and fire hazards.

An open house is planned at the Nourse Tree Farm, 1130 Stanwood Bryant Road, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be experts from the Washington Tree Farm Program, WSU Extension, the conservation district and the state Department of Natural Resources.

David New hopes his family’s work over the past eight years will allow future generations to continue caring for the land.

“We’re trying to set it up so that the property can be working forest in perpetuity, off into the future as long as the family wants to keep it,” David New said.

He likes to take his grandchildren, ages 4 and 6, to spend time on the farm. He wants them, like Darlina, to cherish their time by the stream or in the garden.

“The whole idea is to give them good memories here so they want to keep it,” he said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Nourse Tree Farm Open House

July 21

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1130 Stanwood Bryant Road

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.