UPDATE: On October 30, 2018,the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) announced that Dover Township residents Randy and Koral Clum had been named the 2018 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. Click here to read the full announcement.
In 2017, Hepatica Falls Tree Farm, owned by Dover Township residents and business owners Randy and Koral Clum, was named Ohio’s Tree Farm of the Year. Earlier this year, Randy and Koral were designated the North Central Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year, making them owners of one of the top four tree farms in the entire United States. Now the couple, their daughter, and team at Clum Forestry Consultants wait to hear if the American Tree Farm System named them National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year.
A Columbus-native, Randy graduated from The Ohio State University in 1977 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Forestry. Born and raised in Iowa, Koral graduated from Iowa State University in 1980 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Forestry. That summer, the two met at the 1980 Ohio State Fairgrounds during a fair workers appreciation picnic. They went on to work together at Shawnee State Forest and married in October 1981. In her position at Shawnee, Koral was the first female forester to work on a State Forest in Ohio.
In 1985 the pair began working for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) as service foresters, covering three counties each. Koral covered Holmes, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties while Randy covered Carroll, Harrison, and Stark counties. They purchased their home in Dover Township at this time, and their daughter, Casey, joined the family a year later.
“We previously lived at the edge of a 63,000-acre forest, and we fell in love with Willow Glen’s dense trees and rolling hills,” Koral said. “Dover provided easy access to the counties in which we were working at the time, and we loved the school system and the strong sense of community here.”
Eight years later, in 1993, the couple purchased a 149-acre property in Harrison County, founding Hepatica Falls Tree Farm. Randy started his own business, Clum Forestry Consultants, a few years later in the basement of their home. Koral joined him at the company three years later, and they celebrated 20 years in business in 2017.
Since purchasing the farm, Randy and Koral have had four timber harvests at Hepatica Falls, affecting 100 of the 149 acres and producing more than a half-million board feet of timber. If you’re wondering what that amount of timber looks like, it’s almost 95,000 8-foot long 2x4s. If you stacked those 2x4s, the pile would be as high as the Eiffel Tower—stacked on top of itself 16 times. If you laid them end-to-end in a trail, it would stretch from Cleveland to Columbus.
Sure, that’s a lot of harvested wood, but the Clums still have more than 700,000 board feet of growing stock in 30 different tree species on their farm. That’s a big part of why they’re being considered for this award. Hepatica Falls is also home to more than 50 different species of wildflowers, three waterfalls, bobcats, coyotes, otters, deer, and nearly 20 more wildlife species. They count among the farm’s most important successes the memories they have made there with their friends and daughter—including stick forts, tree swings, mushroom hunts, campfire meals, and sled rides to name a few.
The American Tree Farm System will announce the recipient of the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award in October. The decision will be announced at: treefarmsystem.org