FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Forest Coalition: State forests should be managed for multiple benefits
“Greatest Permanent Value” means protecting fish and wildlife, clean water, recreation – as well as timber
January 14, 2016 Portland, Ore. – A coalition of fishing and conservation groups working on Oregon’s North Coast state forests is speaking out today against a threatened class action lawsuit by Linn County, on behalf of 150 Oregon taxing districts.
At issue is whether the state can manage its forestlands for values other than timber.
Members of the North Coast State Forest Coalition emphasize that the forests are in fact mandated by state statute to provide the “Greatest Permanent Value” to all Oregonians.
OAR 629-035-0020 reads: “‘greatest permanent value’ means healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon.”
As such, the coalition stands behind state efforts to manage its state lands for multiple benefits – including timber revenue.
Guido Rahr, President of Wild Salmon Center said: “Oregonians are fortunate that our state forests can provide a broad array of values including diverse recreation opportunities, drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people, a rich salmon fishery, fish & wildlife habitat, and timber harvest for jobs and government revenue.”
“Therefore, our state-owned forests are more than a source of revenue for Linn County,” he continued. “What’s more, thousands of acres of state forests are clearcut every year. There is simply no more room to expand timber harvests and maintain the integrity of these forests.
Bob Rees, Executive Director of Northwest Steelheaders and long-time fishing guide said, “These lands provide the basis for multiple economies – including recreational fisheries and commercial salmon fisheries that contribute more than a billion dollars to the state economy every year. That’s a public value worth protecting.”
Tom Wolf, Executive Director of Oregon Trout Unlimited added, “We need to pass a legacy of healthy, working forests to the next generation. That includes a healthy timber enterprise, but it also requires intact watersheds for our iconic salmonid species. Linn County is forcing us into a false choice. It’s time for them to explore other sources of revenue.”
Greg Haller, Conservation Director for Pacific Rivers said: “Oregonians do not want State Forests managed like private industrial forestlands, which pollute our streams and degrade fish and wildlife habitat.”
The North Coast State Forest Coalition seeks balanced management of the Tillamook & Clatsop State Forests, an approach that protects fish & wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and recreation opportunities. Our member organizations are Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Wild Salmon Center, Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited, Oregon Chapter of Sierra Club, Native Fish Society, Pacific Rivers, and Northwest Guides & Anglers Association. Our supporters include thousands of Oregonians and approximately 100 Oregon businesses and organizations.