As a Tillamook County taxpayer and professional fishing guide, I find Commissioner Yamamoto’s opinion piece to be off-base regarding the Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).
Hundreds of fishing guides and outfitters depend on wild fish runs that originate in the six world-class wild salmon and steelhead rivers here—the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry. These salmon strongholds contribute to a growing $550 million outdoor recreation economy on the North Coast.
But, for the first time in my 26-year guiding history, Tillamook Bay is closed to fishing for wild fall Chinook. This follows other restrictions and closures for cutthroat trout, spring Chinook, Coho, chum, and steelhead.
Fish are forest products too, needing cold, clean water from forested stream sides. Yet, water quality is adversely affected on all our major North Coast rivers, in part due to logging. Alternative 3 in the draft HCP protects salmon and other wildlife in Riparian and Habitat Conservation Areas. Logging would continue on roughly half of 640,000 acres of State public land in Tillamook, Clatsop, Santiam, and Washington counties, and logging companies would be protected from lawsuits that hinder harvest.
A well-developed HCP is a win-win for fish, wildlife, and clean water, and for the timber industry and communities like ours that depend on revenue from timber harvest, tourism, recreation, and fishing.
Bob Rees, Bay City