Red-Tail Canyon Farm is part of an original homestead platted in 1908. Today it is 120 acres of the original 160 acres. The homestead operated as a dairy farm until 1954 when the then landowners, Jack and Mary Stovel, left the homestead. In 1956, all the original homestead buildings were burned down and the homestead sat vacant for 24 years.
In 1978, the Stovels sold the remaining 120 acres to Ross and Marianne Frank. Ross and Marianne had migrated from Michigan in 1974, both graduates of the University of Michigan, with dreams of homesteading and living a backwoods lifestyle. Ross had worked with draft horses in Michigan and his goal was to incorporate them into their new life at Red-Tail Canyon.
In August of 1978 Ross and Marianne brushed and cut their way onto the property, set up camp and erected a tipi. The tipi was their home while they built a log cabin. Nesting on the canyon wall were a pair of Red-Tail Hawks and their young. Soaring over them daily they decided to name the canyon “Red-Tail Canyon” in honor of these native residents of the majestic canyon. The next three years living without power or water they began establishing a home. They developed a spring for water and began making improvements.
In May 1984, Ross purchased his first team of Belgian draft horses, Dan and Duke, and started a horse logging business. That Fall they carved a trail through the forest and in the winter started giving sleigh rides.The following Fall was the beginning of hayrides on the ranch with the eventual addition of BBQs.
With the purchase of a small sawmill Ross and Marianne milled the lumber from their trees and built the cabin addition, lodge, horse barn and new home over the next ten years. With the completion of the lodge in 1997, outdoor weddings became a popular addition to the ranch activities.
As their children, Brent and Brianna, grew so did the draft horse herd and the family became involved in breeding as well as showing draft horses and competing in horse-pulling contests throughout the Northwest.
In 1980 Red-Tail Canyon Farm was registered as a Tree Farm with the goal of creating a sustainable forest. The first timber stand improvement in 1981 was conducted using horses. Sustainable forestry and tree farming is still being conducted today with the horses as the primary power.
The year 2010 finds Ross, Marianne and family celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Red-Tail Canyon Farm. Over the years we have had many adventures and many challenges, creating many great memories. We have been blessed with many great horse friends and mentors. Our journey has many memorable landmarks: from setting up the tipi on our first day at Red-Tail Canyon, surviving the fires of ’94, attending to the births and to the passing of our many horse partners, losing our first horse barn to the winter of ’96 and all the horsin’ around that has occurred along the way.
We are very grateful for the many blessings and opportunities we have had as we continue down the trail towards more adventures at Red-Tail Canyon Farm.
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