Oregon Land Board Votes to Sell 82,000-Plus Acre Elliott State Forest

Elliott State Forest
Elliott State Forest
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

SALEM, Ore. -(Ammoland.com)- Despite widespread support from sportsmen, conservationists and the public at large to work cooperatively on options to keep the Elliott State Forest publicly accessible, the state of Oregon moved forward on Tuesday with a plan to privatize the Elliott, Oregon’s oldest state forest and a destination for generations of hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists.

The Oregon state land board voted 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon to accept a bid from Lone Rock Timber Management Company and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to purchase the 82,500-acre property, home to species ranging from Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer to wild salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has strongly opposed the Elliott’s sale, urging the land board to decline the Lone Rock-Umpqua bid and work with stakeholders to pursue alternative solutions.

One possibility could involve transferring the forest’s ownership to a state agency with differing mandates, as Washington has successfully done with more than 116,000 acres of state trust lands. The land board will meet again on April 4 to seal the Elliott’s fate.

Today, BHA criticized Oregon’s decision to sell the Elliott State Forest while continuing to push for adoption of a public option.

The national sportsmen’s group, which works to keep public lands in public hands, cited the Elliott as an example of what likely would happen should public lands and waters be transferred to state ownership:

“For years the Elliott stood for public hunting and fishing opportunity and, more recently, a fight by sportsmen and others to keep these lands accessible to citizens,” said BHA Northwest Outreach Coordinator Jesse Salsberry. “We remain committed to working with Gov. Brown and the Department of State Lands to find a solution that will satisfy the Common School Fund and keep the Elliott publicly accessible. Regardless of the outcome, however, the Elliott serves as a shocking reminder of how susceptible state lands are to fiduciary and political pressures – and how quickly we can lose our traditional public access when states are faced with such pressure.”

Established in 1930, the Elliott State Forest was given to the state of Oregon by the federal government to provide a sustainable source of school funding through timber harvest.

Over time, divergent public interests led to a net loss of revenue on the land and resulted in a state proposal to sell the high-quality hunting and fishing destination and valuable fish and wildlife habitat.

 

Under Lone Rock-Umpqua ownership the following will occur on the Elliott State Forest:

  • The Elliott will be privatized, resulting in a direct loss of public hunting and fishing access on at least half of the forest acreage.
  • Unrestricted access fees could be charged on the remainder of the forest, opening the door to an access model that could eliminate much traditional use by sportsmen and others.

“The privatization of Oregon’s oldest state forest is a tremendous loss for all Oregonians,” said Ian Isaacson, chairman of BHA’s Oregon chapter and a resident of Bend. “The fragility of our public lands and waters is not that of a fictitious tale. It is reality, and it is why sportsmen and women must continue to work together to fight for the wild places we love.”

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

 

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http://www.backcountryhunters.org/

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    Danielle mathewsJimjim caneMe....Jim Hall Recent comment authors
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    Danielle mathews
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    Danielle mathews

    Effective management that provides adequate riparian corridors streamside,diverse tree species,and real protection for old growth stands may have deflected conservation anxiety.The feds gave that land to Oregon to be managed in perpetuity for the common schoolfund,yes,managed for that purpose.Read up.

    Jim
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    Jim

    A little bit of history. I was born in Marshfield (Coos Bay) a little over 73 years ago. I was raised and went to school at Alleghany. My Grandfather and my Father worked, logged in this area in the 40’s and 50’s. Although I do not live in or near this area, My Heart and soul remains there. My point is this: “Established in 1930, the Elliott State Forest was given to the state of Oregon by the federal government to provide a sustainable source of school funding through timber harvest.” The Elliott Forest has not even come reasonably close… Read more »

    jim cane
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    jim cane

    Guys- to get your bearings about this Douglas forest sale in Oregon, go to Google Earth or some other satellite imagery and find the forested areas just east of Lakeside, OR, or se of Reedsport. You’ll see a green canopy, although if you zoom in, you’ll see different textures reflecting different age classes from past cuts of mostly Doug fir. Coastal forests on state lands in decades past were all cut over, usually on a massive scale (I have pictures of entire mountains stripped of every tree). Slide a little further se and you will see what looks like a… Read more »

    Boone
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    Boone

    This is what will happen to all public lands if any state get ahold of them. I suspect the mismanagement was politically motivated to result in exactly what resulted, the loss of public access and the enrichment of some well connected political entity.

    Jim Hall
    Guest
    Jim Hall

    You could be right. There is always someone looking to make a dollar pushing their agenda. My question would be; are we pushing OUR agenda hard enough? Are we paying attention when we vote? Are we contacting our representatives regularly to advocate for sensible land management? i’m concerned that we may have met the enemy and they is us.

    SuperG
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    SuperG

    The story is about whom bribed whom me thinks. Nothing gets done for the good of the majority anymore, just for the dollar.

    Jim
    Guest
    Jim

    Most unfortunate but true.

    Jim S
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    Jim S

    When has a government bureaucracy ever run anything efficiently? Its just the lib’s seem to run them even worse than conservative government staff.

    Me....
    Guest
    Me....

    Remember the the spotted Owl situation years ago that stopped timber harvesting in the Northwest area? Maybe this situation is similar to that somehow and therefore no timber harvesting has taken place to help fund the schools as originally intended? Now the timber company and Umpqua will cash in and harvest what the state did not? Just asking….

    Jim Hall
    Guest
    Jim Hall

    Sorry to see the loss of free access to hunting/fishing land but, over time, the focus on producing money for the schools may have been lost. Revenue dropped off, the land became a money loser instead of a money generator for the state. How did that happen? How is a timber company able to make money with the ground when the state can’t? Groups pushing to reduce logging or other productive uses of state lands take note: which outcome would you prefer?

    Jim in Conroe
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    Jim in Conroe

    I agree. It seems that the original purpose of this tract was to provide funds from logging to support schools. That has not occurred, apparently not in recent memory, anyway. Instead the land is now assumed to be for free access for the public to hunt, fish, and pursue other outdoor activities.

    I don’t see that Backcountry has much of a case.