Vernon Stubbs has served his country in combat as an active-duty Marine and with the Oregon National Guard. But his greatest passion for service involves stewardship of the Sisters County land he considers special — and vulnerable.

“I’ve been proud to serve, but all along, since I was a kid, my passion has been stewarding the land,” he told The Nugget.

He tackles that mission through his business, Alpine Land Management.

“My specialty is fuel reduction,” he said.

His approach is to promote biodiversity through thinning, especially of juniper, controlled “jackpot” burning of concentrated fuels, reforesting, transplanting of native botanicals and grasses and composting. He turns cut juniper into fence posts and firewood lengths.

“On my own land, I’m cutting some large junipers encroaching on the ponderosas and cutting slabs and making tables out of them,” he said.

“This time of year is great for transplanting native botanicals and overseeding native bunchgrasses,” he noted.

Always an outdoorsman, Stubbs grew up in Texas.

“When I was a kid, I was like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, out canoeing and bowfishing,” he said. “I love God’s creation. You learn something new every day out in nature.”

Stubbs urges mindfulness and care, and a light footprint on the land. He fervently believes that with proper attention, we can reverse the mismanagement of the land that has made it vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.

Stubbs recognizes that Sisters Country has been “discovered” and that growth will have an impact. He urges all who live here to recognize how special the landscape is and to be mindful of how much capacity it can absorb and yet remain healthy.

“This area is a unique place on earth,” he said. “It’s a huge responsibility for us to steward the land and be very careful with it.”

For more information on Alpine Land Management, call 541-977-6711.