5 thoughts on “Planning comes to Oregon state forests”

  1. Not a new idea indeed! The Planning Team of the Ocala National Forest in Florida took the first step (determining what lands to allocate to timber) towards this management scheme some 40 years ago. All for naught as the Regional Office Old Guard “nipped such radicalism in the bud”. To see how the allocation of land to its ‘best and highest use” worked out on that forest, see slide #11 in http://www.wvmcconnell.net/?pa…. I still have a copy of the plan.

  2. The State started with a salami, the land, most of which was bare due to confiscatory property taxes after clearcutting resulting in abandonment during the Great Depression. The counties with the most land, including land burned over by the four Tillamook Burns (1933,’39,’45 and ’51), that was forfeited to the county for non payment of taxes, had a precarious income stream and were nearing bankruptcy. So the Legislature came up with a county by county election to deed those foreclosed lands to the State to manage in return for 2/3rds of the gross revenue, the State getting the other third for their management expenses. Patiently, the counties waited for the timber to grow back. Timber was sold that had capital expenditures borne by the county of origin in the form of bridges and large culverts in order to road the landscape that had been railroad logged and railroad salvage logged. And when the forest became of age to finally contribute to the counties, the people in Oregon’s urban majority had their governor load the Board of Forestry with urban environmentalists and the timber cut has fallen every decade all the while the growth outstrips the cut by ten fold. And, in some areas, planting of non site sourced trees has resulted in disease, stunting, and Swiss Needle Cast which has essentially stopped growth. Managers hands are tied by the ongoing “conservation” efforts to stop logging altogether. And the counties have all this timberland that once was theirs, and now is not. Meanwhile, the counties that delcined to participate have ongoing timber management by county government and are getting annual returns of an order expected of well managed timberlands. The Federal 60% of Oregon land ownership is providing all the conservation areas needed, and rural economics are shaky at best.

    Oregon is run by the same party, Democrats, and has been for 24 years. Every board and commission, state agency head, is a political patronage position and the green agenda drives the process. The union Democrats of Tillamook county are finding their party decisions have resulted in a vast diminishment of available operational money for SEIU and OPEU public employees and many lost positions. Green decisions are costing public jobs aplenty, and that will come to a head someday. Maybe in this election. The State Forest Lands were never intended to be other than revenue generators, and that revenue dedicated to the county of origin. A broken promise, as it turns out. The government that can give you all you want may also take all you have. And has in those Oregon counties with significant State Forest Lands.

    Oregon Dept of Forestry has become a mature bureaucracy, its mission being expanded every year, but without monies to do the job. Same with Fish and Wildlife. So you have the DEQ expanding their reach and regulatory empire, and impacting the workings of the natural resource managers. Now that Oregon has taken all the unused surface water rights in the 1970s, any irrigation right junior to their is getting cut off in droughty summers. The state forests are not being cut to become conservation areas. The most egregious is the Elliott State Forest, a compiled forest made up of traded “school” sections (16 and 36) given to Oregon at Statehood and used to fund the Common School Fund, a sinking fund in which the capital account can never be touched and the interest used only to perpetuate schools and education. That forest is now embargoed for myriad ESA reasons, both state and federal, and the State Land Board (Gov, Sec of State, State Treasurer) found they owed the State Dept of Forestry $3,000,000 for management costs and no timber sold to pay for those costs. So they are selling the land, starting at the outer perimeter, and working towards the center. Killing the goose that used to lay golden eggs. Private operators are buying the land at auction for cents on the dollar of real market value due to unknowns about logging any or all of the timber. Nevertheless, I do believe that ever increasing public employment costs and ever decreasing ability to sell timber will result in the whole of State owned timberlands being sold over time just to pay for staff and their retirements and other benefits over time. Conservation can become a cancer, and if fire ever enters the fray, the whole of the idea of State Forest Management becomes the laughable deal of our youth where we imagined the bureaucracy taking all of the revenue. What we learned in our Civics classes and in our required futurist reading assignments.

    Maybe eating fruit bats and primate brains will solve all our problems and those of the Earth.

  3. Oh, and that salami? It was sliced and sliced and there is no salami left to feed the masses. Piecemeal disassembly of public natural resource use.


Leave a Comment