The Elliott State Forest near Coos Bay is a coastal gem consisting of 82,500 acres of public land that includes rare remnant older forests and critical habitat for Oregon coastal coho salmon. Unfortunately, in 2017, the forest was at risk of being sold to a private logging company. Privatization would have reduced access for local anglers and hunters—the Elliott is some of the last accessible land in the area—and would have harmed fish habitat and water quality.
Governor Kate Brown put forward a vision for these lands to keep the forest publicly owned and publicly accessible. Her framework included protection for rare habitat and water quality, a sustainable timber program, and a tribal ownership element. Oregonians overwhelmingly support public ownership and after heavy outreach by Wild Salmon Center and a coalition of hunting, angling, and conservation groups, the State Land Board eventually came around to cancel the sale with a unanimous vote in May 2017.
The coalition then worked with state legislators to update state laws and secure $100 million in state bonding, in order to reduce the demand for logging on the Elliott. Over the coming months and years, Wild Salmon Center will continue to leverage our 15 years of state forest policy expertise to hammer out the details that will keep the Elliott public, accessible, and protected.