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Public hearing set Dec. 21 in Klamath Falls on state acquiring forest land near Gilchrist
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Central Oregon Media Distribution
 
Dec. 11, 2009
Contact: Doug Decker, (503) 701-0236
 
 
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will hold a public hearing Monday, Dec. 21, in Klamath Falls on the state’s acquisition of about 43,000 acres of forest land near Gilchrist in northern Klamath County.
 
The hearing will be at the Klamath County Government Center in the commissioner’s meeting room (#219), from 7 to 8 p.m. The government center is at 305 Main St.
 
The Oregon Legislature approved the purchase during its 2009 session. The Department of Forestry has been working through the administrative process for acquiring the lands this fall. The hearing is part of an ODF administrative rule requirement.
 
ODF has sought to purchase the property east of Highway 97 from Fidelity National Timber Resources Inc. in order to conserve the lands for forest values. The lands were heavily harvested in the past and are at risk of being fragmented and sold separately for uses other than forestry.
 
The property will be managed under the approved Eastern Region Long Range Plan and managed to provide a full range of social, economic and environmental benefits.
 
State foresters believe this land can be managed like the Sun Pass State Forest just 50 miles to the south. They say these lands can one day – after allowing time for recovery – provide timber harvest revenue to Klamath County, wildlife habitat, and recreation for locals and visitors.
 
Funding for the purchase comes from $15 million in bonds, which will be repaid with state lottery revenue. This acquisition would be the first significant block of new state forest added in more than 70 years.
 
Nearly all the land, 98 percent, can grow trees, with the remaining 2 percent considered incapable of producing timber. To acknowledge this designation, ODF is required to update its land management classification.
 
Written comments about the state’s acquisition of these lands or the proposed designation should be sent to Patty Cate, ODF, 2600 State St. (Building D), Salem, OR 97310, or by e-mail to pcate@odf.state.or.us. Comments must be received by Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.
 
A detailed legal description and map showing the location of the property involved in the acquisition may be obtained from Cate. Information and other pertinent documents about this acquisition are on the ODF Web site at:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/STATE_FORESTS/gilchristacquisition.shtml
 
The hearing location is accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired, or for other accommodations for persons with disabilities, should be made at least 48 hours before the Dec. 21 hearing to Cate at (503) 945-7350 / TTY 1-800-437-4490.
 
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