Washington Farm Forestry Association Annual Conference

“Am I crazy to own timberland? The good, the bad, and the ugly”

May 3-5, 2012 : Mirabeau Park Hotel, Spokane Valley

The Spokane and Northeast chapters will host the 2012 annual state conference and meeting of the Washington Farm Forestry Association May 3-5 in Spokane Valley.     The meeting will be conveniently located just off Interstate 90 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Road.  Details on lodging and nearby RV sites will be included in the registration brochure or online at the WFFA website: www.wafarmforestry.com.


Events kick off with Thursday afternoon’s Executive Board meeting (general members are encouraged to attend) and the evening welcome reception with light hors d’oeuvres at the Mirabeau.

The keynote address on Friday morning will be by Dave Roseleip, president of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation.   Along with Patti Playfair, a recent graduate of the program who is from a tree farm family known to many, Dave will talk about the program to develop leaders in forestry and agriculture from family forest operations, farms and ranches, and industry and government.

Educational sessions on Friday are designed to appeal to newbies who have recently acquired their forestland as well as to old hands with the theme:  “Am I Crazy to Own Timberland? —- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”  The good is obvious to family forest owners with every walk in the woods with friends, family members, and the family dog as well as in opportunities for fellowship with other tree farmers at events such as this.

Charlie McKetta, retired University of Idaho forestry economics professor and popular speaker, will discuss forest markets.  He also is expected to offer some tax tips especially for forest owners.

Also speaking will be Chris DeForest, director of the Inland Northwest Land Trust, who will address legal and succession planning, including the option of conservation easements. 

Dennis Parent, forester with Inland Empire Paper Co., the Inland Northwest’s largest private industrial forest owner, will tell about the company’s experiences with Douglas fir.  Some potentially ugly experiences with Eastern Douglas fir defoliators will be discussed by entomologist Mike Johnson of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

To address work safety, chiropractor Bo Tucker is expected to share tips on working smart in the woods and minimizing stresses to the body.

Guy Gifford, moderator of the Friday sessions, has asked that those attending consider questions for the presenters and e-mail them to him at: guy.gifford@dnr.wa.gov.

The Friday luncheon will include naming of the Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year.  The Friday dinner will include other WFFA awards, with entertainment to follow.

Field tour

A field tour on Saturday will feature the nearby Henry-Chapman Tree Farm, a multigenerational historic tree farm on Mt. Spokane that was honored as the Washington State Tree Farm of the Year in 1981.  Third-generation hosts Leon Henry and Ted Chapman will share their experience in enjoying the good and managing the bad/ugly.  Tour participants will see the results of their hands-on management in optimizing forest health in a mixed conifer forest and learn about their management plan utilizing diverse markets.  Lunch in the field will be provided by Smokie’s Log Cabin Barbecue and owner/pit master Nancy Bonser.

Reputedly it’s always sunny in Eastern Washington, but just in case a few clouds slip over the Cascades, conference chairman Ed Miles advises participants to bring their rain gear.

Other attractions

For conference attendees young and/or energetic enough, the weekend will allow the opportunity to participate in or see the 36th running of the world renowned 12K (7.46-mile) Bloomsday run on Sunday morning in Spokane (www.bloomsdayrun.org).  To get the latest information on other regional activities over the weekend, visit http://www.visitspokane.com/visitor-info; e-mail: visitors@visitspokane.com; or call (509) 744-3341, (509) 747-3230 or toll-free (888) 776-5263. And, of course, there is always the opportunity to drive east with a side trip to Idaho Panhandle lakes or the Big Sky of Western Montana, or turn north to the grandeur of Canada (bring your passport).


For more information and registration information on the conference, please visit the WFFA website, www.wafarmforestry.com or contact meeting chairman Ed Miles at (509) 710-4230 or spforester@msn.com.


To reserve a room at the conference site, please call (866) 584.4674 or visit www.mirabeauparkhotel.com.   Reservations must be made by April 3. Reservations after this date will be accepted based on availability.  Attendees are strongly encouraged to mention WFFA when making reservations.

To reach the hotel, follow Interstate 90 to Exit 291B (Sullivan Road).  Mirabeau, at 1100 N. Sullivan Road, is south of I 90 and on the east side of Sullivan about one block south of the convergence of the exit and Sullivan.

RV spaces

RV’s may be parked in the Mirabeau Hotel parking lot at no cost.  However, no electrical, water or sewer hook-ups will be available.

The Spokane KOA site, 3025 N. Barker Road, is less than 5 miles away.  To reach it off I-90, take exit 293 (Barker Road), and then go north on Barker Road 1.5 miles. To make reservations, call (800) 562-3309 or go to www.koa.com/campgrounds/spokane.  For more information from the campground, call (509) 924-4722 or send e-mail to koaofspokane@yahoo.com