State Forest Acquisition - Gilchrist Tract
|UPDATE: Gilchrist Tract Acquisitions, November 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, 2013 through January 3, 2014 -- and a public hearing on December 5, 2013 in Klamath Falls.
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 from them when additional 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 5pm 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, Attn: Patty Cate, 2600 State Street, Bldg. D, Salem, OR 97310 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The public hearing will be held December 5, 2013 from 7pm to 8pm at the Klamath County Government Center, Commissioners Meeting Room No. 219, 305 Main Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Hearings Office Report (December 5, 2013 Public Hearing)
Additional information can be requested from Patty Cate, Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, Bldg. D, Salem, Oregon 97310 or by e-mail request to email@example.com.
See below for 2010 acquisition information and documents.
2010 Gilchrist Acquisition
On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, the Oregon Board of Forestry approved the purchase of 43,000 acres of forestland in central Oregon as a first step in a long-range effort to acquire nearly 100,000 acres of nearby land. A public dedication of the new Gilchrist State Forest occurred June 11, 2010.
It is the first new state forest brought under public ownership in Oregon in nearly 70 years.
Since the summer of 2008, the Oregon Department of Forestry has been pursuing acquisition of a significant tract of privately owned pine forest in northern Klamath County, known as the former Gilchrist tract forestlands.
The Department’s early interest in acquiring these lands grew out of concern that they would be subdivided and lost as working forests. These central Oregon forests are at risk of being fragmented into hundreds of smaller parcels. Population growth, changing real estate values, and contraction of the conventional timber industry, particularly east of the Cascades, have produced increasing incentives for owners of large working forests to divide and sell them.
When large blocks of forestland are fragmented into smaller ownerships, especially when low-density homes are introduced, major challenges emerge, and forest values are lost. There’s more potential for human-caused fires, compounded by more costly and complex fire protection needs. It’s also less likely the land will be managed for forest values. Public access is lost and wildlife habitat is fragmented.
If kept together and in forest use, over time, these forests can provide sustainable timber jobs, keep wildlife habitat intact, and secure public access to recreation opportunities. And, in time, a working state-owned forest will provide a steady stream of revenue to local counties.
The Board of Forestry action on February 10 completed the acquisition process for the Gilchrist tract, a process that included appraisals, property studies, final negotiations with the landowner, and input from the public and the Klamath County Commission.
The Department is working with The Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization, to complete the acquisition. In March 2010, the Oregon Department of Forestry acquired fee simple title to about 43,000 acres of the total 70,000 acres. The remainder of the lands will be acquired by The Conservation Fund during 2010 and will be transferred to the Department in the next three to five years. In the meantime, the State will manage the entire block as a new state forest.
- The Oregon Department of Forestry held a Public Hearing about the acquisition on the evening of Monday, December 21, 2009 in Klamath Falls to accept public comment.
- The public comment period for written comments about the state’s acquisition of these lands or the proposed designation closed at 5 p.m. on January 19.
- The Board of Forestry approved the acquisition at the Board meeting in Salem on February 10, after receiving copies of all the previously cited materials, the hearing officer’s report, and the county record of action.
- The Board of Forestry approved the name Gilchrist State Forest at the April 22, 2010 meeting of the Board
For more information about the Gilchrist acquisition, contact:
Asset Unit Manager
Oregon Department of Forestry