A letter from our coalition to the Oregon Board of Forestry.
November 11, 2022
Oregon Board of Forestry
Dear Chair Kelly and Members of the Board of Forestry:
The undersigned groups are writing to share our perspectives on the continuing challenge of finding the right balance on state forest management. As you know, balancing values on state forests has been difficult and controversial. However, the recent resolution of the Linn County litigation has provided some clarity. Now that it is established that the Board of Forestry has broad discretion to manage our state forests for all Oregonians, and not just taxing districts, we have an opportunity for a broader conversation on the path forward. We believe the Board should adopt a strong Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and renew efforts to identify solutions that provide more stability to both taxing districts and the state forest program budget.
We continue to strongly support your work on a Habitat Conservation Plan for Western Oregon State Forests, and we thank you for your commitment to managing Oregon’s state forests for the benefit of all Oregonians. We ask that you support an HCP that is at least as protective as Alternative 3, the conservation alternative. Alternative 3 would best ensure the “greatest permanent value” of our state forests by providing necessary long-term protections for fish and wildlife, meeting the challenges posed by climate change, and allowing for ongoing timber harvest. The Habitat Conservation Areas and Riparian Conservation Areas would not only serve the purpose of protecting habitat for threatened and endangered species, but also act as carbon reserves and aid in the implementation of the Climate Change and Forest Carbon Plan.
In order to achieve more stability in state forest management, we strongly encourage you to focus attention on the need for systemic changes to ODF’s funding and business model. With the Linn County lawsuit behind you, there is an opportunity for all sides to come together and identify solutions that ensure sustainable funding for local taxing districts while at the same time protecting fish and wildlife habitat and recreation values for Oregon’s state forests. This effort will require investment by the General Fund, and we are prepared to support work exploring those outcomes.
The Private Forest Accord is proof that the timber industry, landowners and the conservation community can work together to find solutions. We support solutions that would allow our state forests to be managed for multiple benefits, respond to the stresses of climate change, and identify stable funding sources for necessary local services.
Thank you for your commitment to managing our state forests for the greatest permanent value for all Oregonians.
Forest Climate Manager
Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Audubon Society of Lincoln City
Audubon Society of Portland
Noah Greenwald, M.S.
Endangered Species Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Cascade Volcanoes Chapter
NW Guides and Anglers Association
Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Climate Forest Program Manager
Salem Audubon Society
Oregon Senior Policy Manager
Wild Salmon Center