State Forest Terrestrial Anchors are worth exploring!

August 2, 2013

On July 16th, a group of adventurous hikers trekked into the Bastard Creek Terrestrial Anchor in the Tillamook State Forest near Nehalem.  The 5,021 acre area provides critical habitat for marbled murrellet and wild salmon. Without path or plan, we embarked to see what this area had to offer in terms of wildlife, flora, sounds, sights, and challenges. Here are some images of our jaunt:

Map of the Bastard Creek Terrestrial Anchor. Our trek took us to the northeast corner.

Map of the Bastard Creek Terrestrial Anchor. Our trek took us to the northeast corner.

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Forest Ecologist Trygve Steen filled the expedition with knowledge. Here he cores a 110-year-old Western Hemlock.

Greg Jacob clambers over blown down trees.

Greg Jacob clambers over blown down trees.

The Bastard Creek area is newly classified “High Value Conservation Area” but its future is uncertain. The Board of Forestry is re-examining their Forest Management Plan and there is no guarantee that Conservation Areas will gain the long-term protection that is needed to support healthy fish and wildlife habitat and clean drinking water.

Oregon’s State Forests need a balanced plan that includes long-term conservation commitments. Click here to do your part for Oregon’s forest legacy!

Click here to check out other opportunities to get into the North Coast State Forests!


You own Oregon’s largest known tree-let’s keep it that way!

July 1, 2013

Tell State Forester Decker not to trade Oregon’s largest tree to a timber company!

Oregon's largest known tree is owned by you and me!

Oregon’s largest known tree is owned by you and me!

The “Arcadia Cedar,” Oregon’s largest known tree, is on publicly owned State Forest land just off of Highway 101 south of Cannon Beach. Hug Point, the parcel containing the giant, along with other rare examples of north coast old growth, has been identified as a “high priority” to be traded from public ownership in a Land Acquisition and Exchange Plan. The reason for its priority status is the parcel’s “favorable position relative to Lewis and Clark Oregon Timber LLC’s ownership and road pattern.” This kind of old-growth stand is extremely rare on Oregon’s north coast, thanks to decades of logging and the logging-induced Tillamook Burn fires.

Landscape 1920     Landscape 1940

The Department of Forestry’s readiness to explore trading iconic, rare, culturally and ecologically important places like Hug Point to timber companies is more easily understood when one “follows the money.”

  • First, because the Department is funded almost exclusively through timber sales from the State Forests, it is inclined to make decisions with timber as a priority. ODF provides for itself by intensively harvesting our public land, so they resist efforts to ensure long-term conservation. This lack of diversity in the Agency’s funding creates a bias towards timber production over other values that the State Forests offer.
  • Second, the Department is strapped for funds. Inaccurate timber projections, down markets, and legislative raids on past timber proceeds have left ODF exploring new Forest Management Plans to improve their financial status.

Over the long term, we must thus stop ODF from trading or cutting critical environmental places, and we must also support those Board of Forestry leaders who are serious about diversifying funding for ODF, in order to reduce their bias to just cut more to pay the bills.

The Arcadia Cedar and the Hug Point parcel are excellent candidates for long-term protection rather than trade. With the Board of Forestry having confirmed the “High Value Conservation Area” classification, the Department has a tool to help ensure the  conservation of this important piece of public land.

Tell State Forester Decker not to trade Oregon’s largest tree to a timber company!

Join the North Coast State Forest Coalition on a trip to see the tree on  July 14th!


Board of Forestry Affirms Conservation Areas, Reopens Forest Management Plan

June 6, 2013
Elliot Creek, Tillamook Forest (photo by Gigi Peek)

Elliot Creek, Tillamook Forest (photo by Gigi Peek)

On June 5th, the Board of Forestry unanimously affirmed a new state forest land classification called “High Value Conservation Areas.” The Sierra Club has been involved in creating unprecedented Conservation Areas on the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests for several years and we are glad to see the new classification finalized after a long process–a process that saw overwhelming public support for protection for fish and wildlife habitat, clean drinking water sources, and recreation areas.

Unfortunately, the Board did not ensure that these areas would be protected long-term despite over 2,000 public comments that specifically called for durability. As the Board deliberated whether or not to explore new forest management plans with the goal of achieving financial viability for the Department of Forestry, the opportunity to set aside Conservation Areas was discussed but ultimately dismissed. Instead, it’s possible that the Board will consider reopening these areas for timber harvest.

The Sierra Club will be very involved as the Board examines alternative management plans that aim to secure better environmental protections and more revenue from the timber harvest. We are skeptical that these two goals can both be achieved. The Board’s commitment to upholding long-term environmental health on these forests will be tested and we hope they are up for the challenge.

Our work to achieve balance on Oregon’s state forest landscape is far from over. The intense pressure to increase harvest levels continues to threaten crucial salmonid populations, water temperatures, wildlife habitat, scenic views, recreation opportunities, clean water sources, and a healthy forest legacy in northwest Oregon.  To get involved, “like” us on Facebook, visit our website, join us for an outing, or contact Program Coordinator Chris Smith.


New opportunities to get into the North Coast State Forests

May 16, 2013

The North Coast State Forest Coalition is hosting a series of field trips in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Anyone interested in the state forests and the role they play in the local economy and ecosystem is invited to attend.

Hike Kings Mountain and Elk Mountain in the Tillamook State Forest, Sunday, May 19th – Kings Mountain offers some of the best views of any hike in the Oregon Coast Range. Climbing 2,500 ft in under 3 miles. The hike is difficult and, when wet, can be slick and muddy. Hikers must be experienced and in decent shape. On a clear day, hikers can see Mt. Hood to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the West. The return will be made via the Elk Mountain Loop. We’ll arrange a carpool and provide snacks for this adventure.

For more information, or to register, please email NCSFC Organizer Chris Smith.

View from Kings Mountain

View from Kings Mountain

Spruce Run Hike, Sunday, May 19th – A great hike that runs along Spruce Creek to Spruce Lake. 5 miles round trip, moderately difficult. This creek is part of a proposed conservation area! Meet at the intersection of HWY 26 and Lower Nehalem Road near Milepost 20. 1 hour drive from Portland, 1 hour drive from Astoria.

Carpools will be available from Astoria, and possibly beyond depending on interest. To sign up or ask questions, contact Pearl Rasmussen at 503 338 8933 or rasmussenpearl@gmail.com

Family Friendly Hike along the Wilson River, Sunday, May 26th – The Wilson River provides some of the most accessible recreation opportunities in the Tillamook and Clatsop forests. Join us for a leisurely 3.5 mile stroll along the Wilson River Trail between Jones Creek and the Footbridge Trailhead. We will be making a stop at the Tillamook Forest Center on the way. Along with experiencing the natural beauty of the Wilson River, attendees will learn about the North Coast State Forest Coalition’s conservation efforts in these forests as we enjoy a picnic after our walk.

For more information, or to register, please email NCSFC Organizer Chris Smith.

The Wilson River

The Wilson River

Photo Outing, Buster Creek, Sunday, May 26th – Learn about nature photography with Michael Granger in a scenic forest setting. The Buster Creek Terrestrial Anchor is a proposed Conservation Area in the Clatsop State Forest. Come see why this place is so special and learn skills for capturing that essence on camera. The excursion will be a drive on forest roads with several stops at sites with different visual appeal including young and old trees, streams, bridges, clearcuts, and viewpoints. Michael is the owner of Lightbox Photographic in Astoria. He specializes in forest photography an helps people to explore their passion and vision through photography and printing. All photography skill levels are welcome! The journey will involve some easy walking.

Meet at the Elderberry Inn a little under an hour drive from Astoria on Highway 26 for coffee and a brief talk about the excursion at 10:30 am.

To sign up or ask questions, contact Pearl Rasmussen at 503-338-8933 or rasmussenpearl@gmail.com.

Edible Wild Plant Hike, Saturday, June 15th – Venture into the woods with a edible plant expert and learn about how to harvest food and herbs from the forest! Location will be in a proposed Conservation Area in the Clatsop State Forest Carpools will be available from Astoria and possibly beyond depending on interest.

To sign up or ask questions, contact Pearl Rasmussen at 503-338-8933 or rasmussenpearl@gmail.com.

Photo Outing, Plympton Creek, Sunday, June 23rd – 

Learn about nature photography with Michael Granger in a scenic forest setting. The Buster Creek Terrestrial Anchor is a proposed Conservation Area in the Clatsop State Forest. Come see why this place is so special and learn skills for capturing that essence on camera. The excursion will be a drive on forest roads with several stops at sites with different visual appeal including young and old trees, streams, bridges, clearcuts, and viewpoints. Michael is the owner of Lightbox Photographic in Astoria. He specializes in forest photography an helps people to explore their passion and vision through photography and printing. All photography skill levels are welcome! The journey will involve some easy walking.

Meet at the Berry Patch Restaurant in Westport for a cup of coffee and brief talk about the excursion at 10:30 am.

To sign up or ask questions, contact Pearl Rasmussen at 503-338-8933 or rasmussenpearl@gmail.com.

Cross-Country Trek Across Bastard Creek Terrestrial Anchor, Tuesday, July 2nd – This trip is for those unable to join our weekend outings and willing to do some serious cross-country hiking. The Bastard Creek Terrestrial Anchor is over 5,000 acres of important forest wildlife habitat just north of the old Salmonberry Railroad. We will explore this area, its flora and fauna, discuss what makes it a crucial habitat area, and enjoy a day convening with nature.

For more information, or to register, please email NCSFC Organizer Chris Smith.

Sunset at Cedar Butte, Wednesday, July 24th – The Cedar Butte Trail is a short but difficult hike to a beautiful panoramic in the Tillamook State Forest. The view includes significant acreage of High Value Conservation Area to the West. We will make the trip after work in the evening to catch sunset over the Pacific before descending at dusk.

For more information, or to register, please email NCSFC Organizer Chris Smith.

Looking East from Cedar Butte

Looking East from Cedar Butte

Please visit forestlegacy.org to learn more and be sure to “like” us on Facebook!


Oregon Legislature Protects Waldo Lake!

May 13, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Contact: Brian Pasko
(503) 704-2188
brian.pasko@sierraclub.org

Oregon Legislature Protects Waldo Lake
Passes Law Banning Motorboats and Sea Planes
on one of the purest lakes in the World

Waldo Lake

Early morning on Waldo Lake in central Oregon.

(SALEM, OR) —Voting  37  to 20 during a late morning session on Monday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed SB 602-A, banning the use of motorboats and seaplanes on Waldo Lake in central Oregon. This action follows last month’s 18-11 passage of the bill by the Oregon Senate. The legislation was introduced by Senator Floyd Prozanski and Representative Paul Holvey, and will now be sent to Governor Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Located near Oakridge, Waldo Lake is Oregon’s second deepest lake and rivals Crater Lake and Russia’s Lake Baikal as one of the three purest lakes in the world. The lake is so clear that boaters on its surface can look down nearly 150 feet and discern the lake’s bottom (giving one the impression of floating in outer space).

“Waldo Lake is a unique Oregon treasure,” said Brian Pasko, Director of the Sierra Club’s Oregon Chapter.  “Today’s action by the Oregon legislature will protect Waldo Lake’s unique ecology and ensure that it is a place for quiet recreation and solitude to be enjoyed by Oregonians for generations to come.”

Passage of SB 602-A reaffirms a 2012 decision of the Oregon Marine Board prohibiting the use of motorized watercraft on Waldo Lake except for boats using electric motors and traveling under 10mph. The decision was made following a lengthy public comment period that engaged over 4000 Oregon citizens in the decision making process, the vast majority of which supported the motorized ban.

Following the Marine Board’s decision, the Oregon Aviation Board issued a temporary rule last year allowing sea plane landings on Waldo Lake. The Aviation Board’s decision was made contrary to the Marine Board’s determination, even though there are many large lakes near Waldo Lake that allow for safe sea plane landings and sea plane recreational opportunities. Passage of SB 602-A resolves the conflicting decisions of these two state agencies.

“Sea planes and motorized boats present a number of environmental risks to Waldo Lake, including an increased potential for the spread of invasive species and pollution of the lake through potential fuel spills, ” said Pasko. “However, Waldo Lake is also highly valued by the public as a place for quiet recreation. SB 602-A will protect the public’s expectations and support for the current management approach at Waldo Lake.”

According to Forest Service surveys, over 75% of visitors agreed that motorized boating negatively impacts their recreational experience at Waldo Lake. Almost 70% of respondents favored only allowing non-motorized boats or electric motors on Waldo Lake, and 86% favored controlling the level of noise from motorized recreation.

“This is a victory for the thousands of Oregon’s who have attended countless meetings, endured dozens of public hearings, and stood up for keeping Waldo Lake clean and quiet every step of the way,” added Sean Stevens, executive director of Oregon Wild. “The Oregon Legislature deserves great praise today for finalizing a three-decade long process to protect this special place.”

The full text of SB 602-A can be found at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/sb0600.dir/sb0602.a.pdf

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As the weather warms up, so too does the state forest effort!

April 26, 2013

The collaborative effort to protect the Oregon’s state forests is gaining momentum, primarily due to the effort of volunteers and activists in northwest Oregon. Last July, a group of activists traveled to Tillamook to push the Board of Forestry to create the new High Value Conservation Area classification. Their work was a fruitful first step. In March, hundreds of conservationists, including Columbia Group Sierrans, attended two ODF hearings on the new Conservation Area rule. Testimony at these hearings was overwhelmingly supportive of the new designation. Aside from these hearings, the Sierra Club helped to drive over 2000 public comments to the ODF. The case for Conservation Areas was made abundantly clear.

Flowering Red Currant on State Forest Land

Flowering Red Currant on State Forest Land

This April, the Washington County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of state forest conservation areas and a sound forest management plan. The Tualatin City Council expressed similar support in the form of a City Proclamation. On the coast, the Cannon Beach City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Conservation Areas. We are hopeful that cities including Hillsboro, Beaverton, Banks, Sherwood, and Tigard follow these examples. Governor Kitzhaber recently re-emphasized his support for our state forests with a letter to the Board of Forestry. These political entities join nearly 100 businesses and organizations that have endorsed the effort to restore balance to Oregon’s state forests.

Having earned our seat at the table, we intend to use it to fight for the environmental values that have recently been ignored in favor of an increasing timber harvest. Conservation Areas are the tool with which we hope to achieve balance on these treasured lands. In Salem on June 5th, the Board of Forestry will vote on whether or not to ratify the new High Value Conservation Area classification. We sincerely hope that they consider the massive outpouring of support as they take a key step in shaping Oregon’s forest legacy. A conservation presence at this meeting will further signal our message to the Board, so email Chris Smith if you’d like to join us at this meeting.

Wilson River, Tillamook State Forest

Wilson River, Tillamook State Forest

For our part, as the weather warms up, there will be ample opportunity to be involved in our campaign and to enjoy our state forests. Along with tabling at farmers markets, building our collection of state forest photos, and tracking the forest management plan, there are also opportunities to get into the forest for fun, education, and service. Our outings calendar is updated frequently and already has some great opportunities on it.

Please visit forestlegacy.org to learn more and be sure to “like” us on Facebook!


Updates on Oregon State Forest Conservation

April 7, 2013

Public Comment Period on High Value Conservation Areas Extended

The period to weigh in on the Department of Forestry’s new “High Value Conservation Area” designation on state forest lands has been extended until 5 pm on April 19th. This new Conservation Area classification will protect crucial fish and wildlife habitat, clean water sources, and important recreation spots. Let ODF know how important these areas and values are to you, submit your comments here!

Hugely Successful Hearings in Cannon Beach and Hillsboro

The North Coast State Forest Coalition extends a gigantic “THANK YOU!” to all those who were able to attend last month’s public hearings in Cannon Beach and Hillsboro. These events showcased the significant support for state forest Conservation Areas coming from northwest Oregon. All told, nearly 200 people attended the hearings, making them some of the best-attended hearings that ODF has hosted. Testimony came from all backgrounds and angles and demonstrated the breadth and variety of those who support a balanced approach to state forest management in Oregon.

Here is a Daily Astorian article on the Cannon Beach hearing.

Join us for an Outing!

The North Coast State Forest Coalition is hosting a series of field trips and events in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Anyone interested in these lands and the role they play in the local economy and ecosystem is invited to attend.

Spring Chinook Seminar, Thursday April 18th – Pro guide Bob Rees will detail techniques used to pursue Tillamook Bay’s spring chinook… (details)

Steelhead Viewing at Salmonberry Falls, Saturday April 27th – Join veteran citizen-field biologists Ian Fergusson and Bob Rees on a unique tour of the Salmonberry Watershed, a tributary to the mighty Nehalem River… (details)

Tour Hyla Woods’ Mt. Richmond Forest, Saturday May 4th – As a small timber business, Hyla Woods aims to grow ecologically complex, economically viable, responsibly operated forests… (details)

Learn about Juvenile Salmonids on the Wilson River, Sunday May 5th – Interested folks will take a short hike up the Little North Fork of the Wilson River to view ODFW personnel working a fish trap, inventorying juvenile salmon, steelhead, and trout as they exit this pristine watershed… (details)

On-Water Spring Chinook Clinic, Saturday May 11th – Join us in beautiful Tillamook County for an on-the-water clinic for bank anglers to pursue spring chinook… (details)

Family Friendly Hike along the Wilson River, Sunday May 26th – The Wilson River provides some of the most accessible recreation opportunities in the Tillamook and Clatsop forests. Join us for a leisurely 3.5 mile stroll… (details)

Space is limited for these events. Please register early to ensure a spot. Visit our “Outings and Events” page for details.

Washington County Commission Resolution Supports Conservation Areas

On April 2nd, the Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution that “endorses efforts by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Board of Forestry to implement conservation areas on state forest lands, including the Tillamook State Forest, and encourages the state’s policy makers to pursue a sound forest policy that acknowledges the values and benefits of all forest resources including clean water, adequate fish and wildlife habitat, sustainable timber harvest, and recreation.”

You can send a note to thank the Commission here. The Washington County Commission joins Wheeler and Rockaway Beach as the first communities to pass resolutions for conservation areas. Clatsop County supported conservation areas in a letter last year. We hope to see more cities and counties pass supportive resolutions in the near future.

Kevin Weeks

We would like to express our deepest condolences over the passing of Kevin Weeks. Kevin was the Oregon Forestry staff person at the table as people entered the recent hearings on conservation areas. He was a model public servant. He was helpful, good humored, efficient, and thoughtful. He never hesitated to help our staff or volunteers when we attended forestry events, and he was always quick with a smile. He will be missed.


                 

As always, we appreciate your helping us to ensure the future balance of Oregon’s state forests. If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to sign our petition, visit our website, like us on Facebook, or join us for an event.


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