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Forestland and the Common School Fund
Elliott State Forest  

Beginning in the early 1800s, the U.S. Congress granted specific sections of land to states when they entered the Union with the stipulation these lands be used for the primary purpose of benefiting public education.  The lands, known as Common School Trust lands, were granted to Oregon under the Oregon Admission Act and included Sections 16 and 36 of every township (about 3.4 million acres).  Through both the Oregon Constitution and the Admissions Act, these lands and related income are dedicated to the Common School Fund through a Trust that remains in effect today.  The State Land Board, established under the Oregon Constitution, is trustee of the Fund. The Department of State Lands (DSL) administers the day-to-day work of the Board.

Since statehood Oregon has sold much of these lands, and today the Board's Trust land base consists of about 780,000 acres.  About 124,000 of these acres are in forestlands, and most of these acres (about 117,000) are managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry for the DSL. These forestlands are managed primarily to produce merchantable timber on a sustainable basis in accordance with plans adopted by the Land Board in cooperation with the Board of Forestry.   Most of these forestlands are in the Elliott State Forest (about 84,000 acres) located in the Coast Range northeast of Coos Bay.  Other major holdings are within the Sun Pass State Forest (6,400 acres), Yainax Butte parcel near Klamath Falls (3,034 acre), and forestlands in northwest and southwest Oregon (about 26,000 acres).  Management planning for these lands are integrated within each ODF administrative unit or planning area.  Approximately 7,000 acres that DSL directly manages are referred to as “de-certified” forestlands.