Update: State Land Board unanimously votes to cancel the sale of the Elliott State Forest! They now need your help in the legislature.
Our public lands are state treasures. They are important for maintaining salmon strongholds – indeed many of the headwaters for Oregon’s best coastal salmon streams are in public forests.
The Elliott State Forest, an 82,000-acre gem on Oregon’s south coast, is the spawning ground for 25 % of Oregon Coast coho. Abandoning an earlier move to privatize the forest, Governor Brown, Treasurer Read, and Secretary of State Richardson have now come to the conclusion that the Elliott State Forest needs to stay public. This is a huge turnaround from earlier this year when the latter two voted to try to sell the forest.
The forest is a rich and diverse forest with rare older stands that have never been logged, and excellent recreation opportunities including fishing and hunting for local Oregonians. Under legacy state policies, the Elliott is mandated to provide timber harvest revenue for schools, but logging has declined in recent years to protect rare species such as murrelets and spotted owls. We now need to disconnect school funding from old-growth logging on places like the Elliott, and keep the forests intact and public.
Governor Brown has put forward a bold plan to keep the Elliott in public hands and protect important older forest stands while fulfilling our obligation to school children. Treasurer Read and Secretary Richardson have weighed in with public visions of their own. The coming months will see a delicate melding of these proposals and the participation of the Oregon Legislature to put them into action.
Please stay tuned for further updates on the Elliott as the Oregon Legislature continues its 2017 session.