The ranch is a combination of Oregon White Oak draped with Spanish Moss (lichen) mixed with Ponderosa Pine at the lower elevations, becoming mixed with Douglas Fir and ultimately becoming mostly Fir at the upper elevation. From the 1200-foot elevation up there are areas of dense brush. Grassy meadows are found throughout the ranch. There is a continuous state of transition from one habitat to another. Our cattle browse steep ravines, many hills and a few flat areas.
To maintain the health of the forest, the ranch is constantly working to reduce “fuels” that may create forest fire risk. The primary source of forest fire fuels is overly dense stands of Oregon White Oak. The ranch works to maintain proper density, conducting ongoing “fuels reduction” projects. The Oak is then processed into firewood and sold locally to people who heat their homes with wood, to restaurants that have wood fired ovens or to folks who just want to enjoy a night with a fire in the fireplace.
Another forestry activity is keeping ahead of the Pine Bark Beetle, which attacks Ponderosa Pine trees. In dry years, a tree has a hard time defending itself against this new threat and each year the ranch must take down the trees that have been damaged or killed by these beetles. These trees are processed by the Little Seven Seven Ranch’s own sawmill and the lumber is used for building projects, including corrals, barns and cabins on the ranch. The beetle is a relatively new problem in the American west and has invaded due to the warmer and drier climate.
The ranch thins out stands of Douglas Fir as needed to maintain proper tree density and forest health. The larger trees are milled by the ranch and used for lumber, while the smaller trees are sold as firewood to those who want a Douglas Fir / Oak mix.