In 1941, William D. “Bill” Hagenstein was a young forester working for the West Coast Lumbermen’s Association (WCLA). One of his assignments was to survey the land for the association’s first forest seedling nursery. Bill found a property of 40.5 acres just eight miles north of Olympia Washington with excellent soil for growing trees and a maritime climate. And the land was located alongside the highway that would become Interstate 5.
On January 20, 1942, the Nisqually Nursery was inaugurated with the first crop of Douglas fir seedlings used in 1943 to replant 4,000 acres of burned lands in Pierce County. In the early 1970s, the Nisqually Nursery was converted to a greenhouse facility that still supplies seedlings to forest landowners through the Northwest.
In 1948, at 32 years of age, Bill became the executive director for the West Coast Lumbermen’s Association. In 1952, several forest industry groups including WCLA merged to become the Industrial Forestry Association (IFA). Bill Hagenstein served for the next 28 years as IFA’s Executive Vice President. Throughout his career with IFA and beyond, Bill Hagenstein has been a booming voice supporting sustainable forestry and responsible forest land management. He has earned the title of “America’s greatest living forester”.
At noon on August 12, the IFA Board of Directors will honor Bill by renaming the Nisqually Nursery to the “William D. Hagenstein Forestry Nursery”. The event will be held on site at the nursery with many notable members of the forestry profession attending.
Since its inception in 1942, IFA Nurseries has grown to become a major supplier of forest seedlings in the Northwest with facilities in Oregon at Canby, Klamath Falls and Elkton and the corporate office in Wilsonville. IFA nursery facilities in Washington include the newly named William D. Hagenstein Forestry Nursery and the Toledo Nursery. The IFA nursery system can produce up to 30 million seedlings per year.
For more information about Bill Hagenstein, refer to Corks & Suspenders; Memoir of an Early Forester by William D. Hagenstein.