Owens Farm, located just north of Corvallis, was acquired by Greenbelt Land Trust in 2002 through a significant community campaign. Greenbelt Land Trust acquired 95 acres of this 312 acre property, with the City of Corvallis and Good Samaritan Hospital purchasing the remaining portions. This property has both ecological and cultural values. Willamette Valley prairie, oak savanna and riparian habitats and species will be restored and managed at Greenbelt Land Trust’s Owens Farm property, providing a key link within a system of restored, functional habitats in the area. Owens Farm provides unique opportunities for environmental education, nature-oriented recreation and natural area research for generations to come. This significant natural area is a focal point for partnerships between Greenbelt Land Trust and nearby landowners, public agencies, and private organizations to conserve and enhance the natural values within the Jackson-Frazier watershed.
Prior to settlement in the early to mid-1800’s, habitats at Owens Farm were much more open than at present as a result of frequent burning by the native Kalapuya people. Surveyor’s notes from the General Land Office (GLO) survey of the area indicate that most of the site was occupied by oak savanna. Owens Farm has been used agriculturally since the 1850’s. Aerial photos from 1936 to 1969 show increasing encroachment by woody vegetation except in cultivated areas, eliminating nearly all prairie and savanna.
Focal and priority species that might be expected to use this property include prairie plants, western pond turtle, red legged frog, western gray squirrel, western bluebird, acorn woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, waterfowl, and native fish. Native plant species on the property include Nelson’s checkermallow and camas.
Owens Farm is adjacent to Jackson Frazier Wetlands, creating a swath of 235 acres of protected landscape at the city limits. Jackson- Frazier Wetlands is an incredible local spot to observe native wetland plants, as well as birds and wildlife. This unique urban wetland was never intensively farmed due to its wetland characteristics, like poorly drained soils, although it was grazed until the 1960s. The wetland provides an opportunity for the water to drop out its sediment and for the diverse life of the wetland and hydric soils to transform the water to a higher quality.
A number of important partners came together to support the acquisition of Owens Farm, including the prior landowner Tom Owens, private donations from over 250 community members and grants from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and US Fish & Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
Owens Farm has a comprehensive Management Plan, adopted by GLT in 2005 that has guided multiphase projects to restore agricultural areas to wet and upland prairie, and restore overgrown oak woodlands to oak savanna.
GLT’s portion of Owens Farm is only accessible through GLT-led tours and events at this time. However, a light-impact trail system is slated for the property.