Selective Harvest as a Balanced Approach?

I have come across a web ad several times in the last week or so. Against a forest-stream photo background, the ad text reads, “Balance at last for our OC lands?” OC meaning the 2.4 million acres of Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) lands managed by the BLM in Oregon. Clicking on the ad leads to The Coalition for Our O&C Lands, Its members include green groups, fishing and river-guide services and groups, along with assorted others, including, for what it’s worth, “Chef Kim Reid.”

What Does Balance Mean? The coalition says Vibrant Economies, Responsible Timber Harvest, Clean Water, Land & Water Protections. “Responsible Timber Harvest” means selective harvesting, rather than clearcuts:

A balanced approach on O&C lands, while including protections of special places, clean drinking water and wildlife habitats, must also include responsible timber harvest. Timber is an important contributor to our state’s economy and any plan for the O&C lands should recognize that reality.   

For decades in the Northwest, we clearcut our ancient forests, believing that we could reestablish our forests and the species that lived there.  As we learned more and realized more of the damaging impacts that our actions had on our forests, wildlife, and clean water, we learned to change.  We can harvest more selectively and preserve habitat while still economically harvesting trees.   Responsible timber practices can ensure a predictable, sustainable supply of timber and forest products while also protecting our natural heritage.  We have examples of these types of practices throughout the state and we need to replicate them on the O&C lands.

The great thing about our timber industry is that it is adaptable.  It is managed by people who care for the land.   Many of them are hunters and fishermen.  They enjoy the outdoors and cherish the wild areas of our state.  They want wildlife to flourish and clean water for everyone to drink.  The industry has adapted to severely reduced timber harvests and survived.  But there is a better way to manage our timberlands, somewhere between “no harvest” and “clearcutting.”  Working together, we can find that careful balance.

At the end of the day, any plan must ensure a predictable, sustainable supply of timber and other forest products to help maintain the stability of local and regional economies, and contribute to supporting healthy, vibrant communities.

I’ve lately heard several green-leaning folks suggest that selective harvesting would work perfectly well on the O&C lands and elsewhere in western Oregon. Maybe so, if an economic return is low on your priority list. What do you think?

18 thoughts on “Selective Harvest as a Balanced Approach?”

  1. The selection system was used on Boggs Mountain State Forest (located in the coast range of California). Because the dominant species were ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir that are less shade tolerant, we used one-acre group selection to get regeneration.

    There were howls of outrage from such folks. They called these one-acre sites “clearcuts”. Color me skeptical that even a selection system would satisfy

    • Indeed, some people have wheels installed on their goalposts. Many people feel that only non-commercial trees (less than 9-10″ dbh) should be cut. They don’t care about economics or fuel loadings. Others feel that all “large” trees should stay, with small, merchantable trees allowed to be cut, as long as no old growth gets cut. Of course, those don’t really care about age, in favor of size. Small old trees get cut all the time., with no outrage.

      A 100 year old tree in the Oregon coast range can be quite large. I’d bet that a 100 year old tree could be up to 48″ dbh. Yes, I have cored a 65 year old tree and measured its diameter at 32″ dbh. I do like selective logging, and the ability to surgically manage forests for multiple benefits. One drawback to selective logging is the lack of qualified people to to make those decisions. The Forest Service would LOVE to outsource those tasks to commercial interests, at great cost.

      • Larry:

        A 100-year old Sitka spruce in the Oregon Coast Range can easily attain a DBH of up to 4- to 6- feet (48″-72″) in 100 years. A Doug-fir would more likely be up to 3- to 5-feet (36″-60″) DBH during the same time period. Both would need adequate space, a good location, and a lack of bugs, wildifre, and disease (i.e., the historical norm). Kind of makes “diameter screens” senseless, doesn’t it? I’d use similar measures in regards to age-based limits and regulations.

        • Bob, we helicopter logged a unit just north of Klamath, Ca that had been harvested 73 years earlier (Simpson Timber owned it both harvests) and there were spruce trees that were 6 feet at the butt, not sure about dbh.

          Also harvested doug fir in the Mattole SE of Scotia that were 6 feet on the butt and 80 years old. I’m from Montana so it was amazing to see how fast trees grow on the coast. It was also amusing when tree sitting protesters were up in 40 year old redwoods near Eureka trying to save “old growth”. I was more old growth than the trees.

  2. The Oregon Board of Forestry dictated to the Oregon Department of Forestry a mandate to manage County Trust lands, Common School Lands, and State Lands on a “structure -based management plan.” The Board is and has been, all appointees by a succession of liberal enviro Democrat Governors since 1988. Well into the implementation of this plan, the revenue stream is inadequate to pay the bills of management. The revenues from selling timber are split 35/65, with the county getting 65% and ODF the 35%. Politically, that cannot be changed. It is the law. Constitutionally, budgets have to be balanced. Politically, there are not votes nor money to subsidize the sale of timber, which is THE basis for some county budgets in the Tillamook Burn counties. The BOF is between the idealogical rock and the hard place.

    State Forestry is broke. Unless they can sell more timber, and gain more revenue, their options become fewer every day. A) They can sell timber and manage on an economic model that pays the bills and the counties the statutory amounts B) They can give the land back to the county in which it lies C) Sell the land and timber and get out of the business anyway.

    As I write, unless there has been a change I know nothing about, the constraints on the State Land Board, composed of the Governor, the Sec of State, and State Treasurer (all liberal urban Democrats), are such that the Common School Fund block, the 90,000acre+ Elliott State Forest, is advertising for sale at auction, by the internet auctioneer firm Real Estate Northwest that sells large timber parcels, over 2000 acres of the Common School Lands now in forests. ESA limitations, not being able to log due to constraints self imposed by the Board of Forestry and the Governor, have left them no alternative. There is no money, due to no revenue. It is the Common School Fund, and as such, all revenue goes into the Common School Fund. There are no reserves to pay management costs when no timber is sold. That sale can realize some costs for the State, but the majority of the sale return has to go into the Common School Fund, which can only distribute earnings, not principal. The State Land Board has a constitutional order to lease or sell the land, or sell timber to grow the CSF.

    I sort of look at all this like a farm guy. You have been given a milk cow to sell or use to grow the CSF. She is there to sold, or kept and milked for milk you can sell, or you can lease the cow out on shares or for cash rent. The cow gives milk, and a calf annually. You can sell all the bull calves. You only have to keep a heifer calf when the cow begins to age. And when your heifer becomes a springer (AI it with good semen), you can sell the cow, bring the heifer on line to produce milk and calves, and just keep on trucking. If keeping the cow becomes unaffordable, you can still sell the cow and put the money in a fund. I guess that is what the elected State Land Board is doing. Their management is now not possible for timber revenue. It has no way to produce growth, rents or any income above holding costs. It has to be sold. And maybe not for much, for all the ESA restrictions the Governor’s minions and supporters have put on the land. Deep in my heart, I know that MegaPulps have the sway and wherewithal to be able to get a logging permit, an ESA take permit, and log the land, and put it back into trees. And, they no longer have to compete with State Land timber in the market. I don’t think the State can tell you that you can’t sell export logs off it when it becomes private land. To do so would constitute a split estate, and lower the value, which would or could be a violation of the mandate to maximize the return to the Common School Fund. At which time personal liability might raise its head.

    The process will be slow. It will take longer than I have to live. But it will happen. General Bullmoose will sell logs, not the State. And General Bullmoose will pay property and severance taxes. Very very low taxes. Almost insignificant amounts of taxes. Just like they do today. The taxes will be paid by the REIT stockholders, and the actual stock in the publicly held corporation will gain in value. Capital gains taxes, if any. And don’t think they are not trying to revive the DISC tax breaks once again. Domestic International Sales Corporations which sell off shore exclusively, and contribute to our feeble attempts to balance our trade deficits. So sell offshore and get your taxes halved by having all sales go through a DISC, like in the hay days of log export. Actual real income tax rates on export logs were low single digit. How to make and keep money and make America strong, all in the timber game.

    As for the O&C lands, remember a lot of those are checkerboard ownerships. No way to create a 5000 acre wilderness. All access is by agreement, and the Feds have issues with rights of way to access private lands, and vice versa. Fighting fire is an ownership nightmare. ODF, by contract, is the fire protection agency of note for BLM and their O&C lands. Somehow that relationship is shared with the private Douglas Fire Protection Assoc., which works with ODF and BLM. My guess is that O&C issues will become moot in much of the area. The northern counties involved will not have the frequency and size of fire issues. All of this O&C deal came about because the timber was too valuable to the railroad to sell the land as mandated in their charter, grant, from the Feds. That is how they lost them to “revestment.” The General Land Office, however, did not sell the revested timberlands. They kept them with a promise of managed lands and revenues forever to the county of origin. The original deal was 75% of the timber sale revenues to the county of origin. The reality today is 25% to the county budget, and another 25% supposed to be spent by the Bur of Public Roads on BLM/BPR US Govt roads. And that might have changed since I was in the game. There has been a constant quest to stop the “giveaway” to Oregon mills from public timber by private timber interests in the Lake states, and the South. At least for 85 years. Someday look and see who those interests might have been. Old Frederick W. was in dozens of partnerships all over those two areas.

    Weyerhaeuser was the first big private timberland ownership in the Douglas county O&C checkerboard lands. I think they recognized problems down the road with checkerboard ownership and traded out to the Robert Dollar outfit for land in Linn county. So long ago I probably am only partially correct. Weyco logged up the Linn county Calapooia drainage by rail for the WWII war effort and sent the logs to their dump in Canby. Later they gained rail access to Rock Creek and Weyco was able to log east of Sutherlin with rail, and send that timber to their new post war mill in Springfield. And use the rail lines across the McKenzie and in the Mohawk Valley to above Marcola until they ran out of timber in the 1970s. In my mind’s eye, that was all land traded for by getting out of O&C concentrations further south.

    If I were to sum up the whole deal with the O&C deal, over time, it has been a political football the entire time. Never a year without some sort of push and pull at the Federal level to increase the harvest or decrease the harvest. Local politics vs national politics. I think the aims on either side have been the same: economic advantage.

    My Grandfather worked for the General Land Office in Oregon for more than 20 years, before being transferred to San Francisco for the duration of WWII, and he retired about 1950. He had an office in the US Courthouses in Portland and Eugene. He was the sole investigator and prosecutor (he was a law school grad from American U. in Wash. D.C.) of crimes against the Public Domain. He was a timber cruiser, a land surveyor and lawyer. He did a random survey and cruise of the “Natron Cutoff” which the SPRR built from Eugene to Chemult. During the Depression, he won a civil suit against the SPRR for treble damages timber trespass on the whole of their r/w on the Natron Cutoff. They extended their r/w by something like ten feet on either side of the r/w for close to 100 miles through virgin timber. The settlement was several million dollars. This case was one of hundreds he prosecuted or was able to get a pre-trial cash settlement from. I believe he ended up in charge of that work for the entirety of the 9th Circuit and retired from that job.

    From my exposure to the chicanery and malice towards government and other ownership timber, and to the other issues of the West, I do believe that the saying should be: “Whiskey is for drinkin’, water is for fightin’ and timber is for stealin’.”

    • A hurdle the Oregon State Land Board may not be able to overcome in its zeal to sell the Elliott State Forest is that 90% of the Elliott is off-limits from sale under Oregon law: Any lands in the national forests on February 25, 1913, selected by, and patented to, the State of Oregon, for the purpose of establishing a state forest, hereby are withdrawn from sale except as provided in ORS 530.510 (Exchanges of land). The state forest shall be known as the Elliott State Forest.

      This little-known law (the Land Board staff had not heard of it when I pointed it out to them late last year) has an arcane history. At statehood, like most other western states, Oregon received sections 16 and 36 in each township to finance schools. With the reservation of national forests at the turn of the last century, many of Oregon’s sections became locked within NF boundaries. Seeking to consolidate its lands, Oregon proposed an exchange of its NF sections for the southern portion of the Siuslaw National Forest. The first step was to reverse the NF designation, which Grover Cleveland did by executive order. But, in return, the feds imposed a condition on Oregon — it could not sell the former Siuslaw lands when they became state-owned. It took the Oregon legislature until 1957 to ratify the deal.

  3. These guys are the usual suspects, posing as a “coalition.” The site is anonymously registered, for starters, out of Portland, but still anonymous. Created in July of last year. So we have Pew Charitable Trusts (who bankrolled the roadless initiative); American Rivers (home of the opportunistic Most Endangered Rivers list); Pacific Rivers Council, where Beschta (don’t EVER salvage post fire EVER) co-author Chris Frissell moonlights when he’s not teaching “science” at FLBS.
    This is all about giving ridiculous DBH requirements standing, and legitimizing only enough forestry to give the gloss of “doing something” to folks who are losing their grip on the public mind.

  4. Just so you are aware, this same group that you all seem to be finding fault for too little logging, is receiving sharp criticism from others who think they are promoting too much logging. A prominent Lane County progressive posted about this group on their Facebook page:

    Friends, please BEWARE:
    This paid campaign on Facebook etc. does not appear to be what it presents itself to be.

    Read the fine print: This “coalition” calling for a guaranteed harvest level, but not calling for a guaranteed level of protections for water, fish, and wildlife.

    It looks like a “kinder gentler” front for the same old industry claims that more logging will cure whatever you happen not to like in rural Oregon.

    A front to support some vague compromise position on the DeFazio plan, which Senator Wyden has called “a privatization plan for federal lands that would put them beyond the reach of federal environmental laws.”

    • Here’s my view on all this.. it looks like the Coalition (I think all groups trying to influence public policy should be open as to where the money comes from) is trying to appear to be reasonable. But without details.

      So others can critique them for giving in too much, or not enough. the solution to that problem is to simply keep groups out of the debate until they have crafted detailed and explicit language about what they feel would be adequate restriction. No hype or verbiage; only meaningful Physical World details.

      If I were a political official in Oregon, I would have an open meeting with all involved groups where everyone is required to state their sources of funding and bring their desired prescriptions to the table with the understanding that they would be held to that agreement (can’t add more requirements if these are granted) and all the information would be available publicly. If they weren’t willing to do that, they would no longer participate.

      Then I would call in faculty from OSU, not just Jerry and Norm, and see if they could identify some alternatives that would satisfy different mixes of groups. Feasibility would be reviewed by a team of on-the-ground workers. Economics would be calculated by OSU folks. This would be followed by review and open discussion of the alternatives by the public on the internet.

      Of course, the people you tick off by doing this, might no longer contribute to your next campaign. I haven’t figured out a way around that, but it would certainly be a way for all voices to be heard and good data and experiences to be brought forward.

      All the key characters are D’s and D’s are for open government, so I don’t see the problem with my approach.

  5. I hope Andy is right and they can’t sell the Elliot.
    Here is an example for Mattew of an environmental lawsuit gone bad. The enviros got an injunction so the state decided to sell.
    I still think it wouldn’t be a bad idea of you couldn’t log a tree till it was 30 inch plus on the westside.

    • Hi Bob:

      I agree with you regarding hoping Andy is right — also agree with John Thomas as to the history and current risks to the land and to the Oregon Common School Fund. I think your 30-inch idea would greatly favor most documented environmental concerns, as well as possibly also meeting the longer-term rotations suggested by Mike Newton and Dick Powell — and still produce a healthy portion of the Common School Fund budget. Or we could go to court and let lawyers and judges determine how the forests are managed and if and when they are sold, and to who and under what statute. Either way.

  6. And yet, for the last ten years, harvest on “Oregon state” lands was the highest since records were kept (back to 1962). Timber harvest for the last ten years averaged 283 MMBF/year, which was way ahead of the previous ten year harvest in the 90’s of 182MMBF. It was still WAY higher than the go-go-get-out-the-cut-of-old-growth 1980’s that averaged 224 MMBF/year. And who could forget the 70’s, when Paul Newman felt guilty about logging old growth while filming that great movie: “Sometimes a Great Notion,”..and the harvest averaged only 211 MMBF/year. Not bad for a bunch of Dems. One might get the impression that the citizens of Oregon aren’t as “anti-logging” as one gets the impression of (Yogi Berra-LOL).

    Radical Enviros(VS. moderate) are always Democrats, but Dems aren’t always enviros. During the last election, I was looking at a “county map” of Montana. The bluest of the Blue counties was Butte-Silver Bow. I mean like 90% for Obama. Now, I don’t think many in Butte would label themselves “liberal”…but I’ll guarantee most would label themselves “retired union”…even if the mines the Union worked at closed long ago (Butte has lost what….half it’s population since Anaconda closed in the 90’s). Now I’m gonna guess that the employees of Boeing (whoops-wrong state) always vote Dem as good union soldiers do…but I’ll bet they don’t have a problem with clearcutting anymore than they have a problem with Bauxite strip mining. Weren’t most of the Sawmills and timber industry in Oregon Union? I sometimes ponder how many “retired (hopelessly unemployed-gave up looking a long time ago) loggers” still vote Democrat? Maybe not for Obama…but certainly for governor. We must be carefull not to label ALL Dems as the radical set. Ahh…it’s hard to find the mean average with so many subtle shades of gray.

    I think the lesson the state can learn on the Elliot Forest, is you shouda cut the 2nd growth before it even starts to resemble a “cathedral forest.” I was looking at the Elliot awhile back. Isn’t like most all of it regrowth from the Coos Bay fire of like 1870? Seems like the oldest tree, besides some “refugia,” was 130 years? For all practical purposes not Old Growth…as officially designated by someone and someone et. al. The lawsuit wasn’t a great victory for old growth…it was a great victory for a “procedural interpretation of a Habitat Conservation Plan.” From what I read…the states “new” interpretation of the plan would have led to a small increase (20% ??) in timber harvest over the old interpretation. Better get a referendum on the next ballot to “save the 2nd growth on the Elliot.” Maybe it’ll do better than the “preserve half the Tillamook as wilderness” one.

    The Tillamook brings me to another rambling(I plan on pilgrimaging there in a couple months-along with the Stamper house by Reedsport-LOL). I was looking at a “modified clearcut” ODF timber sale last night on the Tillamook(don’t ya love saying that word). 50 year old stand planted in the mid 50’s after the burn. Average DBH of 18″ with avg. merchantable height of 100′. 25 MBF/acre will gross the state $8000/acre. Not a bad return to the Oregon taxpayers for some aerial seeding back in the 50’s. (I wonder if they PCT it at one time or another…still seems rather large DBH…or maybe commercial thin…but it is a skyline unit).

  7. We should, for all those not involved over their lifetimes, explain why Oregon has a Dept of Forestry to manage State Forests. During the Great Depression, logged over land was worthless. As such, it was abandoned. No taxes were paid. In 1936, over 50% of the private land in Lincoln county, timbered or logged, was foreclosed on for unpaid taxes. Hard to run a government, have a sheriff, jail, courts, health service, when you have no income. Things were so dire that the county would give you land if you were to pay the current year’s taxes, and paid them annually, plus the past due taxes were financed at no interest for 5 years. Land that had failed to sell on courthouse steps. There are several local timber fortunes created by risk takers with public jobs and a paycheck who bought land for under $1 per acre under that agreement. WWII made them rich, if they could access any timber they had bought with that land. Pope and Talbot owed $3600 in property taxes on their Prairie Mountain holdings, which was old growth and red fir (two forest ages in one stand: old growth over 350 yrs., and red fir 150-250 yrs.), on about 4000 acres that could not be logged by rail. Somehow they found the money to keep from losing it. Old growth sections were able to be bought for $15 per acre. And that was the price many were bought at before WWI.

    The Siuslaw Natl Forest was a second growth natural and CCC planted burn, with 100′-150′ trees interspersed with silver snags that tall or taller, all red rot in the center, and when it got really dry in september, you could sit still while fire watching and listen to then falling over for your three hour shift, one here and then another in ten minutes, when gravity overcame the evaporating coefficient of molecular bond in the water holding the red rot vertical. There was so much water in those snags, they had huckleberry brush growing out of snag tops 100 feet from the ground, and would put roots clear to the ground in time. And occasional twenty foot tall hemlock would be growing out of some snag tops. The timber was 80-110 years old in 1970, and the average dbh was no more than 22″. Every tree has added a foot or more of dbh since then. Many as much as three additional feet.

    The State Legislature came to the rescue of the counties during the Depression, and they took that foreclosed land, and put it into trust for the county. 1939, I’m guessing. So when you add the multiple fires collectively called The Tillamook Burn (1933,’39,’45 and ’51), all of which needed roads and planting, for the State Forestry to be ramping up their timber sale volume over the years is no more than the realization of successful reforestation and forest restoration. State Forestry became manager of 3/4 of a million acres of cutover and burned over lands. The Siuslaw NF purchased over 65,000 acres of “stump ranches” during the Depression enacting a program called the Rural Relocation Act… USFS to buy the farm so the former owners could move to town with some money in their pockets and look for work!

    I have cut public timber inside the very visible remains of a picket fence, and fruit trees hanging on to life in partial sunlight. So, I would expect ODF to cut more timber today than it did three decades ago. Unless, of course, I was trying to tell a partial story to bend the conversation towards a discussion of Oregon State Forestry Dept perhaps overcutting and not managing in a sustainable manner. Which is far from the truth. That is the bone of contention between county commissioners and the Board of Forestry. One is the land preservation arm of urban environmentalists, and the other pragmatic stewards of county finances and services. The opinion differences are vast. Urban and highly populated Multnomah county vs the other 35 counties in the state. The poster children of the urban-rural split, the tyranny of the urban majority.

    ODF was a world leader in restoration forestry. They got some of it really, really wrong. Only people and entities that do nothing don’t make mistakes. Like using off site seed for growing seedlings. There was more than enough Montana and Idaho doug fir seed used in the temperate rainforest lands of the Tillamook Burn rehab. The Tillamook and Clatsop Forests have mature stands of off site seed sourced trees that are not healthy nor vigorous, and really should be clear cut, and site sourced native trees with fealty to elevation, aspect, slope, and nearness to the planting site all under consideration for proper seedlings. The “fog belt” doug fir monocultural forests should be clear cut and replanted with the natural species of that strip along the coastline: hemlock, true fir, cedar, sitka spruce, some doug fir and red alder. Not happening. The “no cut” crowd of urban experts thinks those trees are candidates for old growth. I can show you whole forests of gum trees in Northern California that meet the old growth age and dbh parameters. And native to Australia. Those Rocky Mountain seed source doug fir trees are no different. Aliens on that landscape.

    I am certain Andy is reading the law as written. I am also certain the law can be changed. I do know that the Federal Law can be examined in terms of State’s rights, and the rock and hard place where opposing laws meet. That is what courts are for. That is why the Oregon Attorney General is NOT a member of the State Land Board. He has to represent the Land Board in Federal Court. Or she does, as is now the case. I also know that the millions of dollars wrapped up in the Elliott, those lands TO BE SOLD or managed to make a return to the Common School Fund, have a greater responsibility to Oregon education than they do to any other purpose. If not, then what was the intent of the Congress to reserve secs. 16 and 36 for education? The Feds, in court, can’t say you may not cut the timber, and you may not sell the land, and still be in line with the intent to fund education. I truly believe there are more than a handful of capable Oregon attorneys who would prevail in that argument. I guess we will see. I haven’t seen that the auction has been pulled.

    Derek: there are two Stamper houses: one built for the movie on the south bank of the tidelands of the Siletz River, and the other sits on a vast coastal tidewater prairie on the south bank of the Siuslaw River tidelands and river. That is the vision for Kesey’s house in the novel. The other was built as a movie set, and had to be extensively refit when sold by the movie interests, in order that it was habitable. Neither was on the Umpqua River or near Reedsport. The Stampers were logging Longview Fiber second growth spruce, hemlock, cedar, silver fir and doug fir. Jepson Logging was Fiber’s contractor in the Lincoln City area, and it was their equipment in the movie. Fiber sold all that tree farm to Boise Cascade and now it is held by Capital Forests. As a native, the only part of the movie that was glaringly “whaaat???” was to see them ride their log tug to work, and first be on the Siletz River, and then be in the next scene, going under the Chitwood Covered Bridge on the Yaquina River. Not impossible but very highly improbable and in time, deadly if only for having to cross the Siletz bar to the ocean to drive south and over Yaquina bar, and up Yaquina Bay to Chitwood, which is above tidewater…artistic license. Oh, and if you don’t put a “face”, undercut, in a large soft spruce when you go to fall it, it can easily “barber chair”, split up the grain and come back and pin or kill you. Most of the time it just cuts you in half. No slow struggle with the incoming tide. Logger as a movie critic…..

    • JT, Jr. gets the perspicacious award-of-the-day: “I am also certain the [Elliott Forest] law can be changed.” A 2007 bill would have done so, had it passed the legislature and been signed into law. I’m sure another run will be made at the 1957 law, but with Oregon’s urban elite having now “discovered” the maturing Elliott, it’ll be a bit tougher lift for the Democratic Party.

      “Sometimes a Great Notion” is my all-time favorite novel. The movie, however, sucks — too much sunshine, not enough rain. And it should have been black-and-white.

    • John:

      Great post! I agree with everything you’ve written regarding the history and current conditions of the Siuslaw National Forest and the Elliott State Forest. I also agree with a number of your ideas for reform.

      I had the pleasure to watch “Sometimes A Great Notion” with my family in the very Toledo, Oregon movie theater shown in the movie. Kind of an eery feeling to be sitting inside watching the film take place outside the building you are sitting in. In addition to the weird trip by logging tug — that had people buzzing in the audience — the other jarring juxtaposition I remember is where Neumann jumps over a fence on his motorcycle at the Elk City Racetrack and ends up about 30 miles away. Not my favorite Kesey book, but I liked it and the movie very much. Cuckoo’s Nest was my favorite Kesey book, which I read while I was living in Salem, fresh out of a local high school with my own car and a shared apartment. McMurphy reminded me very much of my own father on the other side of town, with the asylum between us, and Nicholson didn’t fit my image of McMurphy at all as a result, so I was kind of disappointed. Also the normal compression of detail from book to screen. I was surprised the movie won so many awards!

  8. I have sawn wood from the Elliot. The wood itself has taken on some old growth characteristics, fine texture, good knot structure, even clears.
    You can make just about anything out the trees. The timber has always gotten above market prices.
    Shows what you can accomplish with a well managed forest.


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