The hot issue of Elliot State Forest becoming governed by OSU as a research forest is spurring discussion among Oregonians.
The proposal requested from OSU and Department of State Land by the State Land Board in 2018 was to “to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned research forest,” states the Elliott State Research Forest Proposal.
This proposal was initially followed by a three and a half weeks of public comment period. Due to opinions voiced by the public, now the deadline for public comments have been extended to 5 p.m. Nov. 29.
According to Oregon Wild Blog, the draft plan includes some major conservation gains for this vitally important forest, the streams that flow through it, and the fish and wildlife that depend on it.
For example: it protects most mature and old growth forests; it improves on the Oregon Forest Practices Act by creating bigger streamside buffers, lengthening the rotation age for logging, and limiting the use aerial spray and other pesticides; it creates a 30,000 acre block of forest reserved from most logging.
However, the plan also includes tradeoffs that make it problematic, according to Oregon Wild Blog – allowing logging of some mature forests, and continued clearcutting across a significant landscape. It also doesn’t fully contemplate the important role the forest could play in storing and sequestering carbon.
By Joanna Rosinska