By Nancy Messmer,
Clallam Bay Sekiu Lions
On Saturday morning, May 13, eight members of the Olympic Orchard Society traveled from Sequim to the Cowan Pioneer Orchard at the Hoko River State Park. They came to work with members of the Clallam Bay Sekiu Lions Club/Friends of Hoko River State Park who maintain the orchard. In addition, Lori Brakken, a well-known apple expert, came from the Seattle area to help with advice and pruning.
In 2017, OOS relocated ten heritage apple trees to the Cowan Ranch. They had collected scion from Olympic National Park, grafted, brought them up to size and distributed them to local farms. The Lions/Friends built elk enclosures for each tree and have been nurturing the trees. The group learned by experience not to plant apple trees next to Sequoia trees. The nine remaining trees and fences have suffered from elk damage in the last couple of winters. Although the Lions have worked in each enclosure to prevent weeds with cardboard and thick mulch, all the trees had invasive buttercup growing up right around the trees.
The helpful Orchard Society Members toured each of the trees with the Lions, giving advice and recommendations, and then got right to work; pruning, weeding, and working on fences. For a couple of hours, the usually quiet orchard was a beehive of activity. In the local hard-working spirit of John Cowan and Emil Person, Lion Andy Estes was the last worker working when the crew trailed over to the farm house for a picnic lunch.
The apple trees are looking good; blooming, watered and more secure. The Olympic Orchard Society plans to come back in October to take a look at the apples and give assistance and advice, once again.