“Wonser Woods, LLC is a 622-acre tree farm established in 1990. Our ground covers an elevation range from 500 to 1000 feet, and is tucked neatly into the foothills of the Cascade mountain range. Several miles of Clear Creek, and two of its tributaries, run through our property. It is a major tributary of the Clackamas river, and breeding ground to the steelhead and Coho salmon populations of the river. From our location we have excellent views of Mt. Hood, Goat Mountain, the Willamette Valley, and Mt. St. Helens & Mt. Adams are visible from remote portions of our property.
We are a family owned and operated business. The Wonser family includes Mark & Jean and our children David, Stephanie, Steven, and Kevin. Kevin passed away in December, 2008.
The primary sources of income on our farm include Christmas tree sales, sales of timber as logs or firewood, the rental of two large barns, an auto shop and a guest house on the property, and most recently the use of our 14,000 sq. ft. main building as a wedding & event venue and 5 bedroom B&B.
The maintenance of our land requires the use of several tractors, ATVs, a bulldozer, dump truck and a firewood processor. The firewood processor is a fantastic piece of machinery. It uses a winch to pull up to a 16” diameter log into the machine, and with a hydraulic system, a John Deere diesel motor, a guillotine and a splitter, it is able to completely process the log and spit standard sized firewood out its back end. Its creator calls it the “Chomper.”
Douglas fir is the predominant native species in our area and this is what constitutes the bulk of our timber ground. We plant Western Red Cedar in the shady and wet areas that require reforestation, adding a few Giant Sequoia to dot the landscape. Most of the logging we are now doing is thinning already established stands. We try to work our way around the farm logging a small patch each year in order to provide continuous income.
As the native species of this area, Douglas fir grow incredibly well as Christmas trees in all types of soil. We have found that Noble fir grow best at our higher elevations in well-drained areas. Our Grand fir plantations grow well in areas of our farm with moister soil conditions. The newest addition to our Christmas tree crop is Nordman fir which will grow well in just about any of the soil conditions present on our farm. It is a tree native to Siberia and takes about 10 years to grow. Our first Nordman fir crop was planted in 2002.
We do not employ full time help. We do as much of the work as possible ourselves and use contract labor to supplement when necessary. We call on the same contract crews when we need them so we know what to expect. We have found that “hands on” is the best way to achieve the results that we want. Mark does most of the logging and as much of the Christmas tree work as possible, but will hire outside help if the job gets too big.
Mark, born in 1953, grew up in the Gateway district of Portland, OR and married Jean, born in 1959, in 1983. Jean was raised in the Mid-West. After studying finance at the University of Oregon, Mark, moved to Chicago in 1978 to work in the commodity markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He managed all trading floor activities in the interest rate sector of the market for E.F. Hutton from 1978-82. He was especially proficient at trading and timing trades in the Eurodollar Futures & Treasury Bill futures markets, and because of this, he left E.F. Hutton to purchase his own “seat” on the trading floor, and become an independent trader.
He was able to put together enough capital as a trader to “move home” in 1990. After a long search and many hard decisions, Mark & Jean decided to purchase the tree farm we now live on in Estacada and build our dream home. While working the farm, Mark returned to school at Mt. Angel Seminary in 1995 and graduated at the top of his class with a Masters Degree in Theology with concentration in Sacred Scripture in 1997. Mark enjoys bowling, camping and playing guitar in his spare time.
Jean was born in Bloomington, MN but spent most of her youth in Decatur, IL. She graduated from Eastern Illinois with a degree in Home Economics specializing in Fashion Merchandising. She was working as a Fashion merchandiser in downtown Chicago when she met Mark at a Catholic singles retreat in 1982. She now spends most of her time helping our children, and now grandchildren, and volunteering wherever she is needed. Jean also loves camping, attends church regularly and is in a bible study group that meets once a week.
Our children have all grown and left the farm. They are each successful in their own way. It is our hope that one will develop an interest in the activities of the farm and return to relieve mom & dad. :)”