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Vandevert Ranch
Natural Resources Description

Introduction to the Web Version (2006)

The following description formed part of a Natural Resources Management Plan prepared for the developer by Earl. E. Nichols, Professional Forester, S.A.F.-A.C.F. and signed by the developer, Jim Gardner, on November 7, 1991.  It was provided as an Exhibit to a Fisheries Agreement between the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the developer who signed it on January 9, 1993. 

Comments interjected in November 2006 are enclosed in [brackets].

Land Description

Legal – Parcel 1 W SW Sec. 17, E of SE Sec. 18, E of NE Sec. 19, W of NW Sec 20, T20S, R11E W.B. & M.

W.B. & M.                              320.0 acres

Parcel 2 – W of NE Sec. 19 T20S, R11E

W.B. & M.                              80.0 acres

[Parcel 1 is the original Vandevert Ranch, on both sides of the Little Deschutes.  Parcel 2 is where the barn and pasture are today.  Parcel 2 is apparently the land that once belonged to “Uncle Bill”.  See the History Section of this web site and find the arrow to Uncle Bill’s cabin on the 1935 Map.]


The north boundary of Parcel 1 is 1 miles south of Sunriver and is one mile long [North/South] by mile wide.  Huntington Road [actually South Century Drive] traverses the east boundary.  Parcel 2 is X mile wide and adjoins the South of the west line of Parcel 1.

All exterior property corners are U.S. brass caps except one set by C.W.E at the N.W. corner of Parcel 1.


Parcel 1 – The Little Deschutes River splits this parcel, 187 acres being east of the river and 133 acres west.  Adjacent to the River is a 90 acre sub-irrigated or riparian zone of which 48 acres is on the east side and 42 acres on west.  The Forest Zone (F-3) east of the riparian zone comprises some 139 acres and to the west 91 acres also are zoned F-3.  [The ranch is apparently now zoned F-2 instead of F-3.]

According to the Corps of Engineers survey of 1984, the Little Deschutes River is slightly over 2 miles in length as it meanders within the north and south boundaries of Parcel 1.  The river drops about 4 feet in elevation in the 2 miles.

[There is no description of Parcel 2 in the “Conditions” section.

Historic Factors

The Vandevert’s homesteading on Parcel 1 took place in the 1880’s when land clearing took place on some 40+ acres east of the center of the parcel.  [Actually W.P. Vandevert bought the land in 1892 from a party or parties who may have cleared some of the land.]

An old photograph shows a number of stumps still conspicuous in this area.  According to Jeanie Vandevert, the cleared area was used to raise hay to sustain 80 cows and calves through the winter.  The field was not irrigated.  The cattle were put on a government allotment, Spring River, June through October to allow the home place to provide enough feed for the rest of the year.

Only minimal logging of Parcel 1 occurred until 1989 when beetle infested and existing dead trees were removed.  Historically [the] Vandeverts removed only trees for products needed for the ranch: fence posts, house logs, bridge timbers etc.  In the 1970’s some trees were removed and cut on site for railroad ties on the west side of the river, which appeared to be very selective high grading.  Some poles and posts were also removed in a glorified thinning type operation on the east side in the early 1980’s by a previous land owner.  This was not effective.  Parcel 2 has never been logged, though there has been some heavy beetle kill in recent years in the Lodgepole.  Some salvage of older dead trees has been undertaken over the years by woodcutters throughout the property.

Climatic Factors

The climatic factors of temperature and moisture combined with soil conditions (light loam) create some severe limiting conditions for desirable vegetation.

The poorly drained areas of the ranch are not suitable for the establishment of Ponderosa Pine, a less freeze resistant species than Lodgepole Pine.  In the tree covered areas where the snow lasts longer, Ponderosa Pine has a better chance of survival.

The ranch receives approximately 18” of precipitation per year, mostly in the form of snow in January and February and occasionally into March.  [Recent records show the total in La Pine is 22.03” per year with the greatest average precipitation in December (3.56 inches) followed by January (3.46 inches).]  Once the surface (top 4” or 6”) becomes dry, subsequent moisture to the soil surface is of little help to tree needs but will do much for grass and shrub vegetation vigor and fiber production.  Thundershowers in June, July, and August fall into this subsequent moisture category.

Once tree roots penetrate more than 4 feet into the soil they are into layers of high suspended moisture content and are able to maintain a fair rate of growth.


The soils on the ranch are primarily forms of loam [loam is “a rich soil composed of clay, sand, and some organic matter” – ranch soils tend toward the sandy] and generally are very well drained.

The upper terraces on each side of the river have an alluvial type loam with fine medium rock in smaller amounts by volume.  Few rock outcrops are found on both parcels.  The lower elevations, below the terraces, have Mazama Pumice to a depth of 36”.  This is more of an ash type loam with very little rock.  [Mazama Pumice is from the eruption in 5650 B.C. of the volcano (Mt. Mazama) that formed Crater Lake.]   

These soils are easy to work for all types of construction, agriculture and forestry.  The primary drawback is the surface drying effect making grass and tree establishment difficult in dry years.

The ground slope is gentle to very gentle each side of the river.  The greatest drop is approximately 19 feet in the NE portion of Parcel 1.  The balance of the land is almost flat until it joins the riparian zone where there is a gentle slope to the river.

Vegetation – Parcel 1

The easterly portion of Parcel 1 (about 77 acres) which is adjacent to Huntington Road [actually South Century] contains Lodgepole Pine with a scattering of Ponderosa Pine.  The majority of these trees are over thirty years old.  A light cover of bitterbrush and grasses are found under the trees.  Between this timber strip and the Riparian area is a 42 acre field of grass; this is located in the northerly 2/3 of the east side.  Grasses [and other plants] found here are Fescue, Stipa [bunch grass], Stitanium [can’t find any such plant], Brome , Lambs Tongue, Lupin, Strawberry, Yarrow, Eradium [can’t find any such plant], and Indian Paint [perhaps the author means Indian Paintbrush which grows in the wetter areas].

Brush species are Bitterbrush, Rabbit Brush, Currant, Vetch etc.  Most of the Bitterbrush are younger plants.

Ponderosa Pine is generally found on the better drained soils and are of mixed age from saplings to larger trees.

In the Spring of 1988, two-thousand Ponderosa Pine and one-thousand Lodgepole Pine seedlings were planted in the easterly portion of the 77 acre area (west of Huntington Road [South Century]).  [Obviously the vast majority of the ponderosas did not survive.]

Parcel 1 would generally be described as “Lodgepole-Bitterbrush-Fescue” under the eco-classification system.

A sampling of 3 dominant Lodgepole Pine trees indicated that the trees could reach 100 feet tall, 24” D.B.H. at 100 years.  This would indicate Site Class III for this species, an above average growing site.

Stream side vegetation in the riparian zone is important to water quality (purity and temperature) and wildlife (food and cover), and should be managed accordingly with guidance from State Fish and Wildlife to protect these values.  Sedges, wild iris, rushes, needle grass and other water seeking species are in the riparian zone.  In this zone, due to the lack of grazing, the willows have increased considerably to where they are a detriment to viewers, river access and grazing.

Vegetation – Parcel 2

This 80 acre parcel is mostly Lodgepole Pine with a very light scattering of Ponderosa Pine.  Mountain Pine Beetle has killed over half of the merchantable volume, half of which remains standing and a very serious fire hazard.

The younger stands in the westerly portion of this parcel are not as severely infested as the rest of the parcel, however, growth is becoming stagnated because of the dense nature of these stands.

This parcel is critically in need of treatment similar to that given Parcel 1, i.e. removal of beetle infested trees, salvage of dead material and burning of the remaining debris.  [Apparently the developer did this.]

Grass – Browse

Parcel 1 has ample grass and browse to sustain 70-75 head of cattle for a year-round sustained commercial operation.  However, only limited grazing of horses is planned for recreational purposes.  A stock pond will be constructed to prevent the need to encroach the wetlands for water.  The recent logging on this parcel should improve the quantity and quality of available grasses by providing more sunlight and surface moisture for plants.  Basically, there are just two principal pastures, one on each side of the river.  Gophers are causing considerable damage to the grass and browse, particularly in the open areas.  If grass cover is to be maximized, control of gophers will be necessary.

In Parcel 2, grass and browse production can be improved with selective logging to maintain an open tree stand.  Seeding and appropriate land management can produce adequate quantities of grasses for grazing and wildlife.

Wildlife – Parcels 1 and 2

There are no limiting factors for the major wildlife species on these parcels.  There is ample protective cover in timber and willow patches.  Year-round water is running through the property.  Food is ample to plentiful in form of grasses and shrubs for browsers.  Birds have a good variety of seeds and fish.

Except for elk, most animal species can be found either resident to, or frequenting these parcels.

Ample snags and green trees are in use by cavity nesting birds and sufficient potential trees and snags have been saved by owner in the timber areas which have been treated.

Of the large birds, eagles, ospreys, a number of hawk species, great blue herons, and crows have been seen on the property.  [The Sunriver Nature Center list of local bird species includes ravens but not crows.]  Rabbits, bobcat, and coyote have also been observed.  This area is transitory range for deer and therefore their use is light.

The Little Deschutes River, which is just over 2 miles in length, is all in Parcel 1.  It is potentially a good fishery and should receive proper protection and enhancement to maintain this quality.  [Enhancement assumed the placement of rock jetties in the river which the developer was not able to do.]  Numerous riparian animals are along the river, i.e. beaver, mink, otter (and possibly others) are obvious from sightings and evidence found.


Trespass by humans and cattle has been prevalent in the past.  This has been accompanied by open fires, theft of forest products, illegal taking of wildlife, dumping, and other activities that degrade the land.

Copyright 2004-2010 The Vandevert Ranch Association Neither the Association nor its members guarantees the accuracy or completeness of information or representations on this Web Site. Buyers should obtain definitive information from their real estate agent.