Scott Dano coaxes sparks to flame in dry timber.
Every April, Dorris Ranch in Springfield, Ore., transforms from a filbert farm into a Paleolithic site for its annual Stone Age Day celebration. Historical interpreter Scott Dano helps visitors understand the ins and outs of surviving the last ice age. (541) 736-4544, willamalane.org.
Q What's Dorris Ranch?
A It's the country's first for-profit filbert, or hazelnut, farm. There are more than 9,000 filbert trees on 258 acres that belong to the Willamalane Park District. People can visit the orchards, walk through a fir forest, and watch otters playing in the river. You can buy the filberts, too.
Q How did this area look during the Stone Age?
A Twelve thousand years ago it was an ice corridor with marshy areas and grasses. There were condors, saber-toothed tigers, mammoths, sloths, and large wolves.
Q You show visitors that?
A Well, we throw atlatls—spears propelled by hooked sticks—at a mammoth target, start fires with cedar and elderberry sticks, make arrowheads and spear points, do cave painting with charcoal and pigments, and taste bison meat. It's all about engaging kids in the past by doing things.
Q Your favorite part?
A Cutting big-leaf maple spring shoots on which I smoke thin slices of bison—instead of turning on the gas grill. It appeals to the primitive part of me.
Q Why do this on a filbert farm?
A Mammoths used to eat filbert leaves. Besides, is there a correct place to hold a Stone Age Day?
Photography by Robbie McClaran
This article was first published in March 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.