The Board of Forestry is considering alternative Forest Management Plans that would shape how the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests are managed for the next decade and beyond. Any new plan needs to improve conservation values on these public lands: fish and wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and recreation opportunities cannot be left by the wayside in favor of increased clear-cuts.
The Board should reject any plan that resembles an industrial forest model. Industrial clear-cutting is not appropriate on our State Lands! Rather, any balanced forest plan should include several key elements:
- Wildlife, Aquatic, and Riparian Habitat needs to be explicitly protected by the next Plan. This includes but should not be limited to current High Value Conservation Areas and it is crucial that protections should extend to all critical habitat for the spotted owl or murrelet as designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Riparian Buffers need to be adequate to filter sediment, cool rivers, and distribute woody debris into fish habitat. A good model for riparian management can be found on Federal Forests, where buffers extend 2-3 tree heights on large streams and one tree height on small streams.
- Stand Age should reflect a more diverse and complex forest and the average stand age should be increased across the landscape.
- Iconic Recreation Areas such as Kings Mountain, Elk Mountain, the Salmonberry Corridor, Cedar Butte, University Falls, Buster Creek, Gnat Creek, and Aldrich Point should be off-limits for clear-cutting. Rather, any management should aim to minimize disturbing the special values provided by these areas.
- Roads should be removed from High Value Conservation Areas except where essential for restoration activities.
- Habitat Restoration should be funded by timber harvests that occur near wildlife habitat.
- Pesticide Use should be limited to manual application. Herbicides shown to contain carcinogens should be prohibited. Pesticides should be prohibited within 200 feet of drinking water sources.
Revenue from these lands is crucial in creating family-wage jobs and keeping the Department of Forestry solvent, and a sustainable timber harvest is part of the mandate for these forests. However, the timber harvest should not poison our drinking water, destroy wildlife habitat, wipe out our salmon runs, or ruin recreation spots. These forests are capable of providing for social, environmental, and economic needs. Timber over everything will not achieve a balance.