Mildred Kanipe, a farmer, passed away in 1983, leaving her ranch to the public to be a county park. Mildred’s ranch had 1,100 acres of land. On this, there are pastures, creeks, rolling hills, orchards, forests, and an ostentation of peacocks.
Midge McGinnis, secretary/treasurer for Friends of Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park Association, Inc., said, “This park was left to the county for the enjoyment of the public. Ms. Kanipe’s hope was that it would be a working ranch museum. This has partially been accomplished with the buildings that are standing and an annual cattle lease.”
On Mildred’s ranch, there are many peacocks. “Mildred considered the peacocks ‘watchdogs’. Anyone who has listened to them screaming can easily understand this. Strangers would not sneak up on her,” McGinnis said. She brought the peacocks to her farm. When you visit, you are allowed to feed the peacocks, as long as it is appropriate bird food.”
There is also a campsite for visitors to stay at that was added in 2015. McGinnis said, “The newest major addition was the campground back in 2015. The English Settlement School House continues to be worked on with the most recent restoration being the removal of ceiling, flooring, and rough in electricity. This is an ongoing project.”
Friends of Mildred Kanipe does not have enough funding to restore Mildred’s home. “Back in 2017, Mildred’s home was placed on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places listing. At that time, Friends obtained a grant to have an assessment done on the building. Sadly to restore the building would cost over $1 million dollars,” McGinnis said.
There are groups other than Friends of Mildred Kanipe that work with her ranch. “There is another group that is also very involved with the park: Roseburg Oregon Equestrian Trails. This group has spent considerable time maintaining the trails in the equestrian area. They also are responsible for the pavilion in that area as well as all the corrals in the campground. Mildred was a great lover of horses, her father even raised them. Friends Board members’ email and phone numbers can be found on our website and any one of us would welcome more questions.”
If you want to learn more about Mildred Kanipe, there are a couple of ways to do so, McGinnis said,
“There is a book available at local libraries and through Amazon which Friends original foundress wrote back in 2008 (For Love of the Land, The Legacy of Mildred Kanipe by Lois Christiansen Eagleton). Our website also contains much of this data.”
If you would like to help the park, they are always looking for new members and volunteers. McGinnis said, “We need new ideas, dedicated/passionate volunteers who want to see this park flourish.”
In 1974, Mildred Kanipe stated, “I think it is a great honor, a great privilege to be able to live on, to own, and to operate the same ranch as my forefathers did. I feel that the land is a sacred trust and we should hold it dear. That we should take care of it; should protect and preserve it; should enhance its productivity and its beauty as much as we can; and above all, we should love the land, which I surely do.”