The Board of Forestry approved clearly designating part of Oregon’s state forests as “high value conservation areas.”
Wild Salmon Center’s work to safeguard rivers on Oregon’s North Coast was rewarded in July when the Department of Forestry brought forward a proposal to create a new, stand-alone category for “high value conservation areas” in Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. These temperate rain forests encompass the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry rivers, all home to extraordinary runs of wild fall Chinook and winter steelhead, as well as spring Chinook, coho, and Oregon’s strongest remaining populations of chum salmon. In addition to their value as strongholds for salmon, WSC has supported conservation efforts in these forests because they provide critical wildlife habitat, clean water, carbon sequestration, and significant recreation opportunities. This decision is a key step in a new direction, one that Oregon has inched towards since Governor John Kitzhaber called on the state to establish new protections for areas within the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Although the details of this new designation will be negotiated over the next few months, for the first time in years a constructive dialogue with the Department of Forestry on the way to create visible and durable conservation protections in Oregon’s state forests is taking place.