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The Elliott State Research Forest Proposal

Photo of mountains covered with trees that make up Elliott State Forest

The State Land Board in December 2018 asked the Department of State Lands and Oregon State University to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned research forest. 

Over the past two years – with input from advisory committees, Tribes, state and local governments, stakeholders, and the public – a research forest proposal has been drafted.

OSU presented the Elliott State Research Forest proposal to the State Land Board on December 8.

NEW! Read the full final Elliott State Research Forest Proposal (posted 12/2/2020)

Watch DSL and OSU Present on the Elliott State Research Forest Proposal

Draft Versions of the Proposal

View the DRAFT Elliott Research Forest DRAFT proposal here (updated 11/10/20). 

The draft proposal includes information about:

  • OSU's approach to research, including the research design that will guide future experiments and management of the forest.
  • OSU's commitments to a research forest that supports conservation, recreation, education, and local and regional economies.
  • OSU's commitments to public accountability in forest decision-making and governance, as well as a proposed governance structure.
  • How OSU will financially support the proposed research forest.

Important note: This document is a DRAFT. Development of a final proposal for the Land Board is still in progress, as OSU actively incorporates feedback from ongoing discussions.

Additional DRAFT Governance Documents - posted 11/20/20
The two draft documents below represent the current version of a proposed governance structure for management of the Elliott State Forest if transferred to Oregon State University. These documents were drafted and recommended by members of the DSL Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee, and are currently under discussion with OSU. Any changes to the language of this draft will be posted here on December 1 as part of the final package of materials for the Land Board meeting.

DRAFT Revised Governance Structure 
DRAFT Limited Third Party Right of Action

Archived Past Proposal Versions
Previous versions of the proposal draft can be found here.

Questions and Answers
Questions and answers regarding the draft research forest proposal are available here. These questions were asked during events or by email during the comment period. 

Provide Feedback

All public forums and info sessions have concluded and the comment period has closed. Feedback on the draft proposal will assist DSL and OSU in identifying areas where additional information, discussion, or consideration may be needed. A feedback summary is available here, along with all written comments received. 

In-Progress Elements


The Land Board's vision clearly calls for decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund and compensating the school fund for the forest.

Of the $221 million appraised value of the forest, a down payment of $100 million was made to the Common School Fund by the State in 2019. The remaining $121 million needs to be accounted for prior to decoupling and transferring ownership and management responsibilities for the Elliott Forest to OSU. Work to accomplish this important step in the process waited until the OSU proposal began to take shape in recent months, and will continue in 2021 with progress reports to the Land Board and Common School Fund beneficiaries.

Federal Endangered Species Act Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP): 

The Land Board also directed DSL to seek an HCP from the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the federal Endangered Species Act. The purpose of an HCP is to establish clear boundaries for management and harvest on the forest in compliance with the Act and to ensure conservation of at-risk species such as salmon, spotted owls, and marbled murrelet. DSL initiated this process in 2018, contracting with IFC, Inc. to develop an HCP. DSL is working with OSU to ensure that when submitted, a draft HCP will reflect the terms and conditions necessary for OSU to manage the forest for research purposes, or –should transfer to OSU not occur –for DSL to manage the forest for the benefit of the Common School Fund. HCP drafting is underway, with a draft anticipated to be available for public review in early 2021 prior to submission to the federal agencies.