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News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.
Organic farmer Angela Wartes-Kahl lives and works in Lobster Valley in the Oregon Coast Range, and is no stranger to clearcuts and industrial forestry.
By Angela Wartes-Kahl
I live on a 17-acre farm in Lobster Valley, near Alsea in Benton County. Our property lies along Lobster Creek, a tributary of the Alsea River and a haven for fly fisherman and angling enthusiasts. Our farm borders the Siuslaw National Forest and some private land, including a Christmas tree farm, and the O&C lands in our area are located about a mile up the Lobster Creek drainage.
I am no stranger to clearcuts. In fact, in our rural setting, we live with clearcuts. They are our neighbors, so much so that whenever I have leave the area I have to steel myself to contend with landslides and fallen trees. Our soils are steep and saturated in the Coast Range, with 110 inches of rain a year (compared to Portland, which only receives about 40 inches of rain per year), and landslides are common. These slides often block roads and cut power lines, so beginning with the first fall storm of the year we make it a point to carry a chainsaw in the trunk to increase our chances of leaving the valley.
Salem legislators have a lot to say about management of forests in Oregon, regardless of who owns them.
A forest is a forest.
Unless, that is, it's a forest in Oregon. Our complicated mix of federal (USFS and BLM), state (ODF), county, and city (Forest Park and Spencer Butte) forests make for a none-too-simple approach to forest management in the state.
Each type of forest is governed by different laws and has a different reason to exist. The National Forests have multiple use - the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The State Forests are meant to provide environmental, economic and community stability.
While the different agencies and laws are given explicit domain over the different classifications of land, it doesn't stop local governments from thinking they always know best.
Are marine reserves Wilderness and is the state lands department speculating too much?
A couple of interesting items in The Oregonian caught my eye earlier this week.
The first was an op-ed submitted by two professors (one from Washington and one from Oregon) on the compatibility of wave energy development and marine reserves. The title gives away the position of the authors:
I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on how and where wave energy projects should be allowed on the coast. From my perspective, it seems that industrial development would fly in the face of the whole purpose of the reserve system. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
What I really found interesting was this tidbit:
Two important public meetings (and a comment period) on the horizon in the New Year
The news for Oregon's state managed forests has been no bueno this year.
With the state budget crisis in full swing (by the way, vote YES on Measures 66 and 67 to take a step towards fixing that crisis), money for all sorts of programs is running short. The Oregonian reported earlier this month that enforcement of the Oregon Forest Practices Act could take a hit if budgets are further tightened. That would be bad news for the health of our states millions of acres of private forestland.
However, while enforcement of baseline forest protections on private land may take a hit because of funding, the Oregon Department of Forestry is looking to completely throw in the towel on our state lands.
And that's where you come in.