Willamette University at Zena

What is it?

  • 305 acres of ecologically diverse and historically significant land
  • Part of the largest remaining contiguous block of forestland in the Eola Hills west of Salem
  • Habitats include oak and mixed species woodland, riparian areas, grassland areas, wetlands, freshwater aquatic areas and forest plantations
  • Contains prominent, viable farming land

Mission and Goals

Zena is a unique and significant piece of land, and Willamette manages the property as an educational facility. Guidelines for this management include:

  • Willamette University will protect, restore, manage and enhance the natural resources and ecosystem services of Zena, following an adaptive ecosystem management model in conjunction with community partners.
  • The educational mission of Zena will be the primary focus. Revenue generation from forest and facilities will be a secondary focus, it will be driven by ecological and educational objectives, and it will be used to support the educational mission of Zena and the university's sustainability efforts.

A Brief History

In 2008, Willamette University purchased this land from the Trust for Public Lands. As part of this purchase, Willamette University entered into a conservation easement which protects the property from development into other land uses (such as viticulture), promotes conservation efforts and supports economically viable sustainable forestry practices. With this easement in mind, the Willamette University Forest Stewardship plan was created by Trout Mountain Forestry to guide the efforts of future use.

Prior to acquisition by Willamette University, this property was managed under German scientific forestry principles, including elements of uneven-age management and selective cutting. During this 20 year time span, the current Willamette University property was managed as part of the entirety of Zena Forest, approximately 1,640 acres total.

Read the full history