Oregon Governor Kitzhaber Lauds Benefits of New Conservation Designation on Oregon State Forest

This post is courtesy of Emily Nuchols from the Wild Salmon Center, a 2014 grant recipient.  Wild Salmon Center's mission is to help promote the conservation and sustainable use of wild salmon ecosystems across the Pacific Rim.

On June 2, Governor Kitzhaber visited Tillamook State Forest to highlight the new High Value Areas that are part of long-range plans for Oregon's state-owned forests. 

"Conservation areas are a critical component of healthy, well-managed public forests," said Governor Kitzhaber in a press release. "They support our great coastal salmon runs and produce diverse wildlife and plant habitat. They provide clean water, carbon storage, and recreation values that are hard to replace elsewhere. I'm inspired and encouraged to see the Department, the Board of Forestry, and stakeholders working hard to sustainably manage and conserve these important areas for Oregonians."

The conservation areas cover approximately 140,000 acres across Oregon's 800,000 acres of state-owned forests, with over 100,000 acres are in the Tillamook & Clatsop State Forests of northwest Oregon, which sit at the western edge of the Portland Metro Area. 

Conservation areas include some areas crucial to wild salmon and steelhead, as well as imperiled species like the marbled murrelet and red tree voles. These lands also provide clean drinking water for over 400,000 Oregonians along with diverse recreation opportunities to coastal and Portland metro residents alike.

Thanks to support from The Conservation Alliance and other partners, the Wild Salmon Center and Sierra Club have spearheaded a diverse local coalition to protect the Oregon North Coast and create these new Conservation Areas.

Still, despite the Governor's leadership, the future of these lands is in doubt. Sawmill owners and some county commissioners have proposed that the lands be harvested as though they were private industrial timber lands

Thank the Governor for his support for conservation on Oregon's State Forests, and ask him to ensure durable and visible efforts to restore and protect these public lands.    

Photo Credit:  Governor John Kitzhaber