In 1936, Bernice Martha Petra Hansen took a teaching position in a one room schoolhouse called the Red Oak School near Fern Ridge. Lloyd Bangs, a 19-year old cattle farmer who owned the land across the street from the school, had a terrier named Buster who would cross the road to visit the children. Lloyd went over to retrieve his dog and met the young Bernice. The rest is history. Bernice and Lloyd were married 1939.
This love story represents only a moment in the history of the Bangs Farm which was established in 1903 and designated a Century Farm by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in 2006.
In December of 2010, Larry and Paula Bangs donated a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust on 82 acres of their farm. Bernice and Lloyd were Larry’s parents; his grandparents, Frederick and Daisy, settled the land and were its first farmers.
“Our property has lakefront wetlands, open meadows, oak savannahs, and a small forest that could be encroached upon by development. We feel strongly about protecting these open places to provide for all the wildlife and plant life that our land sustains,” said Paula Bangs.
In addition to the agricultural land that is now protected by the easement, the property’s location adjacent to Fern Ridge Reservoir makes it a haven for wildlife, especially migratory waterfowl, songbirds and the occasional large mammal. The easement restricts future development or subdivision of the property but allows for the continuation of farm activity.
“I hope that others along our unique waterway will consider joining together with the McKenzie River Trust,” says Larry. “My grandfather would have been happy to see this land protected.”