Under cloudy skies, six of us began our hike at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce office on 2nd and Main, walking approximately one mile over Second Street to Dorris Ranch. Costumed pioneers greeted us near the front gate. Of course, they weren't actually waiting for us--they were waiting for a busload of school children. But we enjoyed talking with them about the living history program that has engaged so many school children over the years. Non-member Charles Burkland had worked at Dorris Ranch as a tour guide a couple of decades ago, and we also appreciated learning more from him about the Dorris family and their early efforts in the walnut, and then filbert industry, on this 258-acre ranch. The filbert orchards are still well groomed; the property is said to be the oldest working filbert farm in the U.S. Several original structures such as the pump house and barn are in excellent condition. Compared to the manicured orchards, the riverfront forest is still rather wild. Birdsong accompanied us as we walked along the gravel trail. Graceful bleeding hearts and larkspur were blooming--a stark contrast to gigantic cow parsley and prehistoric-looking horsetail stems. As we wound our way back, we stepped lightly over an old bridge to take a peek at the Dorris home, which Chuck said hadn't really changed over the years.
This urban outing offers a nice blend of local history and varied natural habitat.Members: Chris Cunningham, Margaret Prentice, Les Benoy, Barbara Sutherland, Dick Hildreth. Nonmembers: Charles Burkland.
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