UPDATE: Comment period extended to November 29th!
Just south of the Umpqua River in the central Oregon Coast Range, the 82,000-acre Elliott State Forest is home to the only significant old-growth forest remaining on state-owned lands in Oregon. State forests like the Elliott were long tied to the Common School Fund, ensuring an unfortunate conflict between producing revenue from logging and the conservation of old-growth dependent wildlife and salmon.
My first introduction to Oregon’s forests came when I was in school at Oregon State University. The McDonald and Dunn Forests offered an easy escape from the stress of grad school and seemingly endless winter drizzle — and the old growth loop with its dense canopy was a welcome outdoor break rain or shine.
Sadly, on the verge of Wolf Awareness Week (which is next week), we received news that an Oregon wolf in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest was illegally killed. Poaching remains one of the biggest challenges for wolf recovery, and the culture by some hunting groups not to decry it leads to a culture of permissiveness. Until poaching of carnivores is universally condemned, getting justice will continue to be an uphill battle.
Humans and wildlife have very different relationships with fire. Despite the very real threat forest fires can have on homes, property and human life, they also play a critical role in restoring and maintaining healthy forests and providing essential habitat for a myriad of fish and wildlife species.
Webcast: Wildfires in 2020 - What set the stage for this historic event and what can we expect in the future
For families and communities all across Oregon, the fires this week have created a time of unprecedented stress and hardship. The hot, dry weather combined with unusually high winds have created extreme fire danger all across the Pacific Northwest, and thousands of Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes. Too many homes have already been lost.