The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is creating a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a new Forest Management Plan that will guide how western Oregon State Forests are managed for the next 70 years and impact generations of Oregonians.
The Department’s draft plan initially proposed turning roughly 57 percent of the state’s productive working forest land into a wildlife preserve.
But now the Department has disclosed harvests will be up to 34 percent lower than they previously said. Budgets will be cut as early as the coming biennium and the department will begin operating at a deficit. Up to $30 million (per biennium) in taxpayer dollars will be needed to subsidize the Department’s operating budget – which has always been sustainably self-funded through timber revenue.
Such a reduction in timber harvests on state forests will threaten the viability of fundamental public services like emergency response, school districts and law enforcement. It will also result in local job losses. The sheer reduction in harvest alone will cost hundreds of jobs in rural communities throughout Oregon.
Unless the Department changes course, Oregon’s state forests will go the way of the state’s federal forests – becoming unmanaged, overstocked forests infested with insects and disease, further contributing to the state’s wildfire crisis while worsening timber-dependent rural counties’ ability to provide essential services and sentencing those communities to economic decline.
That’s why we need you to speak out!
Submit a video telling the Board of Forestry there’s still time to craft a balanced HCP that accomplishes conservation goals without decimating rural communities.