A 219-acre parcel of land once owned by Camp Fire Wilani west of Eugene in Veneta is now open for small music festivals and other related events. Camp Fire Wilani summer camps and outdoor schools will also take place on the property. Dubbed Havenroot, the site is now owned by Ecotone Projects, a Veneta-based company that says it plans to ecologically rehabilitate the acreage.
Among several music festivals planned at Havenroot this year will be Earthdance: Re/Evolution, June 17 through 19. The event celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first Earthdance festival and a half century since the Field Trip, a Springfield Creamery Benefit concert near Veneta at which the rock band New Riders of the Purple Sage opened for the Grateful Dead in 1972. At Earthdance events, held worldwide, artists and performers of all types appear supporting peace, social justice and sustainability, according to the Earthdance website.
At this year’s Earthdance will be two sets from Melvin Seals and JGB, reggae and dancehall music from Prezident Brown, Eugene’s High Step Society and Portland’s Yak Attack, among many others. Also scheduled for the fall is Fern Burn, September 22 through 25, with artists, a community stage and café, among other attractions.
Havenroot’s heavily forested property is roughly 20 miles from Eugene. Its adjoining facilities can now also be rented for private events such as weddings.
According to Ecotone Projects general manager and Havenroot events coordinator Jordan Mackay, Camp Fire Wilani owned the land for decades, but in the ’90s the organization suffered a financial setback. As a result, Camp Fire Wilani was forced to sell it off bit by bit. Some parts were sold to private logging interests.
Once it was time to put the last bit of property up for sale, Ecotone Projects partnered with Camp Fire Wilani to keep what remained, but also buy back large tracts of land that were previously sold. The two organizations now work in what Mackay calls a supportive partnership, hosting special events, festivals, weddings, outdoor school and camping.
Mackay goes on to say that Ecotone’s objective with Havenroot and the Camp Fire Wilani site was “to reintroduce native trees and plants and pull out invasive species.” Ecotones also plans to restore the buildings, he says.
“When we got here, there was something like 18 buildings on the land,” most of which were derelict, Mackay says. “We had put in a bunch of sweat equity in the last three or four years” to get the site back up running.
According to Zoul “Root” Yurashunas, director of ecology at Havenroot, the company intends to restore damaged sections of the ecosystem that were impacted by clearcutting operations over the course of many years. “My vision is to help the forest heal and thrive with a focus on biodiversity, drought resilience and fire resilience,” Yurashunas tells Eugene Weekly in an email.
On-site amenities at Havenroot include both camping and lodging, a zipline course, a canoe pond, a great hall and many other attractions. It’s all been recently updated with wayfinding signs and an overall mystical tone that Oregon Country Fair fans will find familiar. Mackay sums up Havenroot as an events space with the soul of a restoration project, and a great alternative camping site for the nearby Fair.
Across all events there will be site restrictions that will limit crowd size, Mackay says. “I don’t think we’re ever going to get above a thousand attendees,” he continues.
Havenroot’s point “is to remind people of how beautiful their own forested land is, and to remind them to step outside the city and reconnect with their roots,” Mackay says. ν
Havenroot is at 24487 Bolton Hill Road, Veneta. For more information, to rent space or for event tickets and prices, go to Havenroot.com. For more information about Camp Fire Wilani go to WilaniCouncil.org.