FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAJOR MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
November 4, 2013
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) invites public input on proposed land acquisitions in the Gilchrist State Forest, kicking off a 60-day comment process on November 5, 2013.
The public process is two-part: a 60-day public comment period from November 5 through January 3, 2014 -- and a public hearing on December 5, 2013 in Klamath Falls.
Located 45 miles south of Bend adjacent to U.S. Highway 97, the Gilchrist State Forest is Oregon’s newest state forest with 43,000 acres dedicated in 2010. The area has a rich place in Oregon history, with the land tract and town of Gilchrist established in 1938 to support timber production in the area. Harvested heavily through much of the 1990s, the Gilchrist now represents a sustainable forest for future generations, providing a range of economic, environmental, and social benefits for Oregonians.
Proposed acquisitions would add nearly 29,000 acres, with $10.2 million available in funding -- $1.98 million in Oregon Lottery-backed bonds approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2011, $3 million from the federal Forest Legacy grant, and $5.2 million in general bonds approved by the Legislature in 2013. About 25,800 of the 29,000 acres are currently owned by The Conservation Fund, and 3,000 acres by Central Oregon Land Holdings. In 2010 when the Gilchrist was dedicated, ODF partnered with The Conservation Fund to arrange a short-term purchase of the additional land, with the understanding that ODF would buy these lands from them when funds were available.
Public comment opportunities and the hearing invite public feedback on these specific acquisitions. The comment period runs from November 5, 2013 through 5 p.m. on January 3, 2014. It is anticipated that ODF will request Board of Forestry approval of the acquisitions at its March 2014 meeting. In accordance with OARs 629-033-0030 and 629-035-0070, written public comments concerning the proposed acquisition should be sent to the Oregon Department of Forestry, Attention: Patty Cate, 2600 State St., Bldg. D, Salem, OR 97310 or by e-mail to email@example.com
The public hearing will be held December 5, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Klamath County Government Center, Commissioners Meeting Room No. 219, 305 Main Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon.
The hearing location is accessible to persons with disabilities. A request for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or for other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the hearing to Patty Cate at (503) 945-7350 / TTY 1-800-437-4490.