On May 19th, the Oregon Department of Forestry welcomed Portland area folks to a roundtable discussion on the ongoing process to rewrite the plan that guides management on the Tillamook & Clatsop State Forests. About 50 people answered the call and spoke up for the values that Oregonians want to see emphasized on these lands.
The dominant theme seemed to be revenue diversification for ODF, which is nearly entirely funded by timber harvests. The current setup makes it very difficult for the Department to emphasize outcomes like clean drinking water, healthy fish & wildlife habitat, and recreation. Rather, ODF is structurally bound to increasing logging levels. Attendees spoke up for General Fund dollars, user fees, and forest product diversification. The message was clear: “the current formula doesn’t work!”
Also of note was the increasingly important role that forests will play in mitigating climate change. Healthy, biodiverse forests are extremely important as weather patterns become more radically dynamic. Clearcutting our carbon sinks is not part of a solution to a global problem.
The new plan needs to meet a variety of public desires. These lands belong to ALL Oregonians and their management should reflect that. A predictable and sustainable timber harvest is key to ODF and Oregon’s rural communities. However, overambitious logging has proven be costly to these entities.
As the Board of Forestry makes important decisions around what these lands look like 10, 20, 50, and 100 years from now, we hope that they take seriously these critical concerns.