Compromise Conservation Plan Advances for Oregon State Forests

Tillamook State Forest

Last week marked a significant milestone as the Oregon Board of Forestry took a crucial step by voting to advance the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the Western Oregon State forests. This decision comes after years of development and extensive input from thousands of supporters, including numerous activists like yourself, who advocated for heightened protections for public lands such as the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests.

Jim Kelly, Chair of the Board of Forestry, remarked, “At the end of the day, most Oregonians don’t want our state forests to be managed like a commercial tree farm.” His statement underscores a widely held sentiment, but the importance of moving forward with this plan extends beyond mere public preference—it’s imperative.

Decades of over-exploitation have plagued Oregon’s State Forests, compounded by rampant clearcutting on privately owned industrial tree farms dominating the Coast Range landscape. This mismanagement has pushed numerous species to the brink of extinction.

The Habitat Conservation Plan represents a compromise, albeit one we believe provides a vital opportunity for species to begin recovering. To truly foster the revival of imperiled species like the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, red tree voles, salmon, marten, and torrent salamanders, the passage of the HCP is an essential step in the right direction.

“State Forester Cal Mukumoto and the Board of Forestry did the right thing for our shared forests, fish, and birds, all in the face of intense opposition,” said Oregon Wild State Forest Program Coordinator Casey Kulla. “Oregonians spoke up, and the Board of Forestry listened. There’s a lot of hope today for the future of these forests that so many of us treasure and rely on.”

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