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Oregon's state-owned forests topic of Forestry Board meeting
The Board of Forestry on Wednesday, Feb. 10, will decide whether to approve a new state forest near Gilchrist and weigh in on future management of the Elliott State Forest between Coos Bay and Reedsport.
 
The meeting in Salem at the Oregon Department of Forestry’s headquarters will begin at 8 a.m. Time for public comments is scheduled. Forestry’s office is at 2600 State St.
 
A report on recent public discussions about the “great permanent value” administrative rule also will be presented to the board. A public advisory committee is studying this rule, a standard to be used to manage state forests for broad benefits.
 
The committee also is looking at the administrative rule for developing forest management plans. The group was established to provide a wide range of input on these rules. The board is expected to decide in the spring what rule concepts to move forward toward specific rule language.
 
Gaining board approval to acquire about 43,000 acres of forest land near Gilchrist in northern Klamath County represents one of the final stages of an administrative process to establish a new state forest, the first one in more than 60 years.
 
Lottery bonds totaling $15 million are being used to fund the purchase. The Oregon Legislature approved the use of lottery dollars for this purpose during its 2009 session. Acquisition has been strongly supported by the local community and the Klamath County Board of Commissioners.
 
Conserving the lands for forest values is the reason ODF sought to purchase the property east of Highway 97. The lands are at risk of being fragmented and sold separately for uses other than forestry.
 
Also on the agenda, the board is expected to make a decision on a management pathway for the Elliott State Forest. This action follows a similar decision by the State Land Board Feb. 9.
 
ODF and the Department of State Lands will recommend an alternative to the long-sought federal habitat conservation plan (HCP) to protect threatened and endangered species on the Elliott. Delays in a multi-year process with the federal agencies triggered the alternative planning, which may be necessary if current efforts to achieve an HCP are not met under expected timelines. 
 
For more information, contact Jeff Foreman at 503-945-7506.