Tree Hunt

What is the Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt?

The Land Trust's 2021 Tree Hunt will take place on Saturday, December 4th from 10am-2pm. In order to attend this year's Tree Hunt, you and your family must pre-register for the hunt. See more details and register.

The Deschutes Land Trust has hosted an annual Tree Hunt at the Metolius Preserve since 2004! What's a tree hunt and why do we cut our trees with the community's help?

A family at our annual Tree Hunt. Photo: Joan Amero
A family at our annual Tree Hunt. Photo: Joan Amero
The Tree Hunt is the Land Trust's annual event where we invite our supporters and neighbors out to cut their own holiday tree at our Metolius Preserve. It’s a fun, festive gathering that typically features hot drinks, kids’ activities, and wreath making.

Historically, the forests of the Metolius Preserve were dominated by ponderosa pines with a mix of conifers growing in wetter areas. Fire suppression changed the forests, leaving much of the Metolius with overcrowded stands and trees like grand fir in areas where they historically were not. To reduce overcrowding and to restore the ponderosa-dominated forests, we spent multiple years actively restoring the forest. In the process, we left a portion of the Preserve unthinned, hoping YOU could help us with the rest of our restorative thinning! Cutting grand fir trees helps us maintain the balance that makes our forests healthier AND gives you a locally grown, wild Christmas tree!

Grand firs (Abies grandis) are classic Christmas trees with soft, flat needles that have a whitish hue on the undersides and widely spaced branches with lots of room for ornaments. They grow in dry to moist conifer forests from low to middle elevations. Grand firs have thin bark, making them very sensitive to fire and they can hybridize with white firs (Abies concolor), making identification between the two trees a challenge! Grand firs were named “grand” by botanist David Douglas because of the height and diameter they can attain. Learn the differences between a grand fir and a Douglas fir (another common tree on the Metolius Preserve), then get to know your local grand fir trees by taking a fall hike at the Metolius Preserve or by joining us for our annual Tree Hunt!