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Cultural Resource Management Strategies
A cultural resource site in a forest
The cultural resource management strategies for Oregon’s state forests recognize that cultural resources, such as historic sites, relics, and structures, are a public resource and provide important clues to the historic use of state forest lands. Forest management activities such as timber harvest, road construction, and recreation site development can irreversibly destroy the integrity of these sites. A cultural resource management program has been developed to meet both legal protection mandates and internal protection priorities. That program includes the following components:
 
1.  An inventory and assessment of cultural resource sites and a prehistoric and historic archaeological site review.
 
In order to effectively manage cultural resources, an inventory of sites must be available to district staff. Cultural resource sites may range from sites with legally mandated protection to sites with little or no significance. Each site identified will be assessed and rated for its level of protection status. The Oregon Department of Forestry will rate sites for significance using the following categories:
  • Mandated Protection (Class I)
  • Internal Protection (Class II)
  • No Protection (Class III)
 
A prehistoric and historic cultural overview is a professional-level review, including extrapolation and interpretation of existing literature and information specific to Oregon's state forests. Such an overview provides the understanding and context for making cultural resource and other resource management decisions.
 
2.  A cultural resource database for tracking and planning purposes, including a system of recording, filing, and retrieving cultural resource site data from GIS overlays and basin level inventories.
 
As the Oregon Department of Forestry moves toward a GIS-based information and inventory system, existing cultural resource databases will be incorporated and more easily available to staff planning long and short-term management actions. Making cultural resource data easily accessible will greatly aid in protecting cultural sites and meeting long-range plan goals. Much work has already been done to prepare a database for conversion to GIS compatible files, but this work is incomplete and will need to be reviewed and refined for each district.
 
3.  Procedures handbook for integrating site protection into forest activity plans that provides practical guidelines for recognizing, assessing, recording, and protecting sites.
 
As the cultural resources management program is being developed, new or known sites will be encountered by Oregon Department of Forestry field staff in carrying out management plans and activities. This handbook will provide the guidance in recognizing, recording, and protecting sites in the short term, as well as after the first two components of the program are completed. The handbook is expected to be available in spring 2004.

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