Providing a durable legacy for Oregonians
The Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests cover 518,000 acres of temperate rain forests and free-flowing rivers between greater Portland and the Pacific Ocean. Six rivers here in the Nehalem and Tillamook Bay systems—the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry—host extraordinary runs of wild fall Chinook and winter steelhead, as well as spring Chinook, coho, chum, and rainbow and sea-run cutthroat trout.
These forests and their rivers provide clean drinking water for 500,000 Oregonians and offer flood protection, carbon sequestration, and climate regulation. They are also popular recreation sites for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, biking, horseback riding, mushroom gathering, and ATV trails.
Unfortunately, a small but vocal alliance of timber interests, county commissioners and state officials consistently push to clearcut nearly all of the North Coast state forests. To balance conservation and logging, Wild Salmon Center and our local partners, the North Coast State Forest Coalition, have spearheaded efforts to designate conservation areas in the Tillamook and Clatsop.
Our work is taking hold, with 140,000 acres protected and more in the works. In 2015, the North Coast coalition proposed new protected areas around the Wilson, Trask and Kilchis rivers and around Kings Mountain, to permanently conserve some of the most popular areas of the North Coast.
In March of 2016, Linn County filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Oregon for $1.4 billion over “mismanagement” of our state forests. It was immediately obvious that the process to find a lasting, balanced Forest Management Plan would be severely disrupted. Wild Salmon Center, along with several of our allies attempted to intervene on behalf of the state, arguing that state forests should be managed for multiple values, not just timber production. Documents later released made clear that private timber companies and a lobbying firm had concocted and funded the lawsuit.
Citizen activists in several counties led the charge to “opt out” of the harmful lawsuit. Clatsop County, which produces the most state forest timber, decided to withdraw from the class and instead pursue a balanced, long-term plan for these forests.