School Groups and Education
Willow-Witt Ranch has a rich geologic history. There is evidence of Native American summer settlements in this valley as long as 8,000 years ago (Crater Lake formed 7000 years ago). This valley was the result of volcanic eruption in the Southern Cascades, followed by landslides. Fracture lines in the volcanic rock surrounding the valley developed into 10-12 distinct springs; this formed a fresh water lake where Native Americans came to hunt and gather in the summer months. The fresh water lake has evolved to an active wetland. The springs form two headwaters that eventually reach Bear Creek and the Rogue River.
Euro-Americans began to work this land starting about 1850. There are remains of an old barn with mortise and tenon joinery, cedar shake roof, and hand hewn beams; and an addition had square nails. The ruins can be visited one one of the hiking trails we have developed on the Ranch.
In the early 2000's we began restoration of approximately 80 acres of wetland. Cattle had been grazed in the wetlands during the summer for more than 150 years. We have documented the erosion and loss of a living wet land. We have excluded cattle from our land since 2008 and have witnessed the healing and restoration of an intact ecosystem. We now have Western Pond Turtles that came with renewal of the perennial water way.
We have gradually restored the surrounding forests over the last 30 years. There is now a thriving balanced multi-age, multi-species conifer forest which serves as an educational model of forest diversity, fire resilience, and sustainable harvest management.
The area where we live and farm was developed in the 1920's. We have restored the original barn and farm house. We built an additional timber-framed barn which is used as a classroom or sheltered gathering place.
The goal of our farm is to provide education about "where food comes from" and to provide organic milk, meat and vegetables to our local community. Visitors are able to watch goats being milked, collect eggs, and gather vegetables from the garden.
Our Campground is available for overnight stays from Memorial Day through late October. We offer special rates for school groups.