Oregon Forests in the News

Recently, Oregon forests have been in the news quite a bit, for both good and bad reasons. It’s a trending topic and one to keep track of—here are a few highlights:

  • The Oregonian on deforestation in Oregon: “State law requires timber companies to replant after clear cutting. But seedlings aren’t growing as fast as mature trees are being cut, the analysis found. (Read the analysis here.)”

Stay tuned to your local news outlets for more on Oregon’s forests. The climate and the discussion is heating up, and your voice is needed!

Photo by Francis Eatherington
Photo by Francis Eatherington

Awesome Times on the Wilson River!

On September 5th, dozens of forest lovers, volunteers, and advocates spent an amazing day discovering, serving, and enjoying the Wilson River corridor in the Tillamook State Forest.

TrashThis section of land along the Wilson River and Highway 6 is perhaps the most recognizable recreation zone in between Portland and the Oregon coast and we were out to partake in some of its offerings. Volunteers picking up at ad hoc shooting ranges collected a pickup truck full of shell casings, blown up targets, and accompanying trash. Some target shooters were kind enough to pitch in, but other groups did not seem to care.

Farther west, a group of photography enthusiasts explored some of the more sightly areas along the Wilson River, including hidden waterfalls, the Devils Lake & South Fork pool where steelhead stack up waiting to push up into spawning grounds, and some of the few remnant old trees and stumps that hint at the forests old growth history.

DCIM100GOPROAdventures Across Oregon was kind enough to initiate some beginners into the world of fly fishing. These lucky learners got to learn about catching fish, but also conserving and identifying fish as part of a larger view on what it is to be an angler/advocate.

There were also hikers and bikers out enjoying the surprisingly good weather. At the end of the day, nearly 40 of us gathered for a celebratory meal at Jones Creek and discussed the need for conservation areas in these beautiful public lands.

Forest Talk

Board of Forestry Subcommittee August 12: Eye Openers

The Board of Forestry subcommittee that is exploring new management plans for the Tillamook & Clatsop state forests met on August 12th. While the subcommittee did not make any big decisions, there were still some alarming outcomes worth noting.

The Subcommittee is charged with exploring alternative plans that would bring about improved financial viability for the Department of Forestry AND improved conservation on the forests. It would seem that this can only be achieved if there is a favorable comparison with the current plan. However, subcommittee member Mike Rose indicated that he is not concerned with comparing an alternative plan with the existing plan to determine if either is better for conservation or revenue. He is already focused on an approach in which 70% of the forest is managed like an industrial forest, including short-rotation clearcutting and intensive pesticide spraying.

Clatsop County and Washington County have both spoken up for conservation areas as an integral part of a balanced forest management plan. However, the voice of the counties is being directed almost uniformly towards a more industrial approach to forestry. Speaking on behalf of all 15 trust land counties (including Washington County, Clatsop County, Tillamook County, Columbia County, and Benton County), Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi objected to protecting old growth forests. He also advocated for private industrial style stream buffers and drastic increases in clearcutting.

If Tim Josi is not representing you, tell your county commissioners!

Perhaps of most concern is the continued lack of conservation improvement concepts. Department staff brought forward another framework that shows decreases in conservation acreage rather than an increase compared to the current plan. This framework included significant loss of High Value Conservation Areas.


A new voice added to the discussion as north coast resident, Tom Bender brought forward concepts of long-rotation forestry to the Subcommittee.

The Wilson River Corridor – A Little Something for Everyone

Oregon’s renowned public lands offer Oregonians a unique and special lifestyle and provide our state with a  natural legacy–picturesque beauty, diverse wildlife, wild rivers, snow-capped mountains, lush forests–that is the envy of many. Public lands are one of the defining aspects of this great state, and iconic national forests and parks are often the go-to for Oregonians mentioning their favorite getaways.

What about our state-owned jewels in north west Oregon? The Tillamook and Clatsop state forests are not on the cover of Oregon travel and destination magazines or profiled by national media, but these forests–logged, burned and now recovering–may be Oregon’s best place to offer a little something for everyone. A trip down Highway 6 illustrates why…

Wilson River Corridor 280Just past milepost 35 (a 30 minute drive from Hillsboro) is beautiful Gales Creek. This tributary of the Tualatin River offers a great spot for the family to camp, play in the creek, and explore the nearby douglas fir forest.

Wilson River Corridor 405Two miles down the road (milepost 33) is the southern turnoff to University Falls Trail. A short walk will take a photographer and plenty of gear to a curtain-like falls that captures light beautifully and pours into a bundle of downed logs and beautiful pools.



Near milepost 28 is Elk Creek Trailhead and Campground. Options here are abundant: splash around in the Wilson River, find a cool spot and set up the hamock, or start the long haul up the Kings-Elk Mountain traverse. A safe bet is hopping on the mountain bike and heading down the awesome Wilson River Trail.

DSCN6838Three miles down the highway or the trail is the Kings Mountain Trailhead. This iconic coast range hike is a quad killer–the trail climbs 2,546 feet in just 2.5 miles. From the summit (3,226 feet) one can see the Pacific Ocean and Mount Hood.  Spectacular!

At milepost 23 the whole family can take a break from the heat and find the Jones Creek Campground. This very accessible spot features just about anything you’d want on a hot summer day. The feature is deep swimming holes, warm basking rocks rocks, and sandy beaches.

Wilson River Corridor 495

The Footbridge Trailhead at milepost 20 (and along the Wilson River Trail) is the beginning of some great spots for fishing. Though the water will be low during summer months, a patient angler can pursue cutthroat trout or hatchery summer steelhead, though catch-and-release fishing can stress out native fish in low water.

The Wilson River Corridor (and all of Oregon’s state forests) are worthy of long term conservation considerations and we have identified two great proposals along this awesome corridor: the Kilchis & Wilson Rivers Conservation Area and the Kings Mountain Recreation & Conservation Area.

Click here to support these proposals!

Spend some time in these spots this summer. Find some peace and relaxation. Share pictures and help tell the story: #WilsonRiverFun #ORStateForests. Check back frequently, this is just a taste and we’ll be exploring these spots (and others) more in upcoming posts.

On September 5th, join us on the Wilson River for a celebration of these lands. 

Protect Critical Old Growth in the Clatsop State Forest

The “Homesteader” timber sale in the Clatsop state forest calls for the clearcutting of some of the best old growth forest habitat remaining on Oregon’s north coast. The sale features trees over 130 years old and over 200 feet high–relative monsters in a region that has been logged and burned over.

Click here to ask the Department of Forestry to cancel or amend this sale and conserve this amazing parcel!

Click here to read the full Homesteader Report.

Coring 2 DBH Measuring Mossy Branches

Seeking balance for the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests–clean drinking water, healthy fish & wildlife habitat, and abundant recreation opportunities