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Find out who owns that tree first before you cut
December 22, 2008
Contact: Kevin Weeks (503) 945-7427
Holiday time in the Pacific Northwest is full of traditions, including collecting holly, mistletoe, pine cones and cutting your own tree for decorating. The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) wants to remind Oregonians thinking of a ‘do-it-yourself’ holiday to check first if they can legally harvest items from the forest.
Oregon’s forested area of 30.5 million acres – roughly half of the state – is controlled by several different owners. About 60 percent of Oregon’s forests are under federal ownership, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs or other federal agencies. The State of Oregon owns 3 percent of our state’s forests, concentrated primarily in the 781,000 acres designated as State Forests but also encompassing lands owned by state agencies and universities. Local governments and tribal governments in Oregon own 619,000 acres or 2 percent.
The remaining 35 percent of forestlands are privately owned. Large industrial timber owners manage 6 million acres of forest while small woodland owners (including family-run forest holdings) own 4.7 million acres; about 15 percent of the forested footprint of the state.
"Forest products (including fire wood) may not be removed from Weyerhaeuser forestlands,” said Greg Miller, Oregon public affairs manager for Weyerhaeuser. “People interested in visiting and accessing our forestland should call our 24-hour Oregon Hunter and Recreation access hotline (1-888-741-5403).  Please call before you make the trip into the woods.”
Holiday decorative trees may be harvested by permit from federal forests; however trees cannot be harvested from Oregon’s State Forests, including the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests and the Sun Pass State Forest near Klamath Falls. Additional information about permits for removing trees from federal land, including the National Forests within Oregon, is available from local offices of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Permits issued by USFS or BLM are valid only on federally-owned land in Oregon.
The problem isn’t confined to December but applies year-round as Oregon’s private forest land also become popular for illegal hunting and harvesting other products from amongst the trees.
“It seems like the harvest of minor forest products such as mushrooms and brush has increased in western Lane County,” said Joe Lynch, stewardship forester with ODF’s Veneta office. “Many times I run into folks deep in the woods in places that you would not expect. Some unfortunately also dump trash there or disregard private property rights.”
Entering private land without consent of the landowner can result in a charge of Criminal Trespass, a misdemeanor offense, and Theft charges could result from items taken from privately-owned land without consent.
"We regret that frequent instances of trespass, theft, vandalism, trash dumping, and abuse of our forest road system require us to limit visitor access to our forestlands,” said Miller. “Please report such illegal activity when you see it."
Weyerhaeuser officials stress the importance of calling ahead to the company’s 888-741-5403 number for more information.
"Safety and forest resource protection are our top concerns when visitors access our forestlands,” said Miller. “Please listen carefully to the requirements, restrictions and prohibitions listed on the recorded message, which is updated as conditions change."
Permit requirements for removing products from state-owned forests vary from district to district; please contact your local ODF office for additional information. Contact information for Oregon Department of Forestry offices throughout the state is available on ODF’s web site, www.oregon.gov/ODF
On the Web:
U.S. Forest Service Region Six: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/welcome.shtml
Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office: http://www.blm.gov/or/index.php
Weyerhaeuser Molalla Tree Farm access permits: http://www.quality-service-inc.com/5.html