For 70 years, the Satterlee family has owned and operated southern Humboldt County’s 27,000 Fort Seward Ranch. Seven decades of caring for this property was recognized this past weekend, when The Buckeye handed out its 2014 Stewardship Award to the Satterlee family.
Satterlee siblings Bob, Norm, and Peggy received the award at a dinner held Jan. 24 at Fortuna’s River Lodge Conference Center.
Marguerite Stewart, the family matriarch, was counted in the 1940 Fort Seward-Alderpoint census, and it was at that time she fell in love with the Fort Seward Ranch, which was purchased from a Mr. Townsend in 1945.
Norm Satterlee told those gathered that his mother was the driving force behind the Fort Seward Ranch, a statement echoed by his sister Peggy Satterlee.
“We have an amazing ranch,” Peggy Satterlee said, “and we are so proud of it. We have a legacy and a love for the land, and we love what we do.”
She said the family was thrilled to receive the Stewardship Award from the Buckeye, and she invited everyone at the gathering to come out and visit the ranch.
Norm Satterlee talked about the many changes in the Fort Seward area over the decades. When the family first moved there, it was a small and quiet community. Business picked up and a town was established when the Trinity National Lumber Corporation built a sawmill.
“We went from nothing to people coming for everywhere,” Norm Satterlee said. “The railroad was running and there was a store, school, churches.” The Satterlee family was raising pigs, sheep, and cattle, and producing 300 tons of hay every year.
Julie Houtby, Vice President of American AgCredit said the Satterlee family owns and manages one of the largest working ranch landscapes in Humboldt County.
“I have had the pleasure of working with this family for more than 25 years, and know their goal has always been to keep the ranch in tact and to avoid fragmentation that so often leads to a reduction in timber and agricultural production, degradation of the environment, and reduction of wildlife habitat,” Houtby said. “Despite dealing with continuing obstacles to this goal over the years, the Satterlees have succeeded in keeping this beautiful ranch in one piece.”
The Satterlee family has upgraded most of the roads on the ranch, installing culverts on many and decommissioning others.
“Things are looking good,” Norm Satterlee said. “We love it and that’s why we stay there.”
The family also expressed their appreciation to everyone who has helped with their success.
“Whenever we get in a bind, people step in to help,” Norm Satterlee said.
“And the (Humboldt County) Board of Supervisors has always had agriculture’s back,” Peggy Satterlee added. “We also wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the programs that benefit ranchland owners.”