The Elliott State Forest was established northeast of Coos Bay in 1930 as Oregon's first state forest. Most of the 91,000-acre forest is overseen by the State Land Board and managed by the Department of State Lands. Read more Elliott history.
The Land Board's vision for the Elliott is a public forest that has completed its obligation to funding schools, but will continue to contribute to conservation, recreation, education, indigenous culture, local economies, and more as a publicly owned research forest.
Since 2019, DSL and Oregon State University have worked together to explore creation of the Elliott State Research Forest. In November 2023, OSU informed the Land Board and DSL that OSU is no longer in a position to participate in management of the Elliott State Research Forest. Read DSL Director Vicki Walker's November 14, 2023 message regarding OSU.
The Elliott remains a public forest under DSL’s oversight, and the State
Land Board has provided clear desire and direction for the creation of the
Elliott State Research Forest. Oregonians across the state came together
in support of a research forest and collaboratively created the foundations we
are continuing to work from: the Elliott as a publicly owned research forest that contributes to
conservation, recreation, education, indigenous culture, and local economies.
Those commitments will continue to guide DSL in achieving the Land Board's research forest vision, together with partners who have engaged and advised this
effort along the way and are now part of the Elliott State Research Forest
Authority prospective board. DSL will work collaboratively with the prospective board, Tribes,
stakeholders, and partners to map out options and actions needed for the
research forest to become a reality.
We send regular updates on Elliott work, as well as notice of opportunities to learn more or provide comments, through our Elliott State Research Forest email list. Sign up for email updates.
Elliott State Research Forest Habitat Conservation Plan
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently concluded a public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the draft Elliott State Research Forest habitat conservation plan (HCP). The plan balances forest research and management activities with the conservation of rare species and their habitat in the Elliott State Forest.
The purpose of an HCP is to establish clear boundaries for management and harvest on the forest in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and to ensure conservation of at-risk species such as salmon, spotted owls, and marbled murrelet.
DSL is continuing to advance the HCP through the federal review process.
HCP Information and Resources
Other Work in Progress
Research Forest Financial Plan
DSL is continuing with an independent analysis of financial information submitted by OSU. This will help inform our path forward and ensure the research forest is managed within the means available.
Elliott State Research Forest Authority Prospective BoardThe Land Board in December 2022 prospectively appointed the initial nine-member Elliott State Research Forest Authority Board of Directors. The prospective board will serve as informal advisors to the Land Board and DSL as work continues to map out options and actions for creating a research forest.
CANCELLED: Monday, December 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This meeting will be rescheduled for a later date in December 2023.
The Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee established in 2019 to provide input and insight on creation of an Elliott State Research Forest disbanded in December 2022.
See archived advisory committee information.
The Land Board's Vision for the Elliott
The State Land Board voted in 2017 to keep the Elliott State Forest in public ownership, directing the Department of State Lands to move forward with work to achieve the Board's vision for the Elliott, which includes:
- Keeping the forest publicly owned with public access
- Decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund, compensating the school fund for the forest and releasing the forest from its obligation to generate revenue for schools
- Continuing habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest
- Providing for multiple forest benefits, including recreation, education, and working forest
The Land Board vision calls for “decoupling” the forest from the Common School Fund – compensating the Fund for the Elliott and releasing the forest from its obligation to generate revenue for schools. The appraised value of the forest is $221 million.
A down payment of $100 million was made to the Common School Fund in 2019, through sale of legislatively approved bonds. In 2022, the Legislature provided the remaining $121 million in general funding to satisfy the Common School Fund obligation.
On December 13, 2022, the State Land Board voted to decouple the Elliott State Forest from the Common School Fund. The decoupling action, made possible by payment of $221 million to the Fund, frees forest of its historic obligation to generate revenue for K-12 public schools.
A current appraisal for the Elliott was necessary for decoupling to occur.
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 has submitted the Elliott State Research Forest Habitat Conservation Plan to federal agencies for review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Visit the federal Elliott HCP website.
Partial funding for HCP development has been provided through Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Wildlife Grants Program in cooperation with the Federal Funding Agency, under Federal Award number F20AP00323.
Elliott State Forest Key Moments and Documents
Dec. 2020 - The Elliott State Research Forest Proposal was presented to the State Land Board. The Land Board affirmed the Elliott State Forest's future as a research forest and directed continued collaboration and engagement to finalize remaining details.
Oct. – Nov. 2020 - Approximately 1,700 comments were submitted on the draft OSU research forest proposal. Comments on the draft proposal assisted DSL and OSU in identifying areas where additional information, discussion, or consideration was needed. Comments were also provided to the State Land Board.
Dec. 2019 – An update on progress was presented to the Land Board. The Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee also delivered a unanimous statement to the Board recommending that work continue. The Land Board directed DSL to continue work to explore transforming the Elliott into a publicly owned state research forest.
Jan. – Dec. 2019
- DSL and OSU launched an exploratory process. DSL convened an Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee, and OSU established an exploratory committee within its College of Forestry. DSL and OSU engaged the public and various stakeholders in conversation. The research forest concept was incorporated into the in-progress habitat conservation planning process.
Dec. 2018 – The Land Board directed DSL and OSU to begin exploring the Elliott State Research Forest concept.
May 2017 – The Land Board voted to keep the Elliott in public ownership and directed DSL to move forward with a public ownership project for the forest.
Learn more about the project.
– A lawsuit over endangered species affects harvest levels and significantly reduces revenue. The Elliott begins to cost rather than contribute to the Common School Fund, with maintenance costs, legal fees, and other expenses adding up to millions over subsequent years.
1955 – The state began actively managing the Elliott. Timber harvest revenue goes to the Common School Fund and covers the cost of forest management.
1930 – The Elliott State Forest was established as Oregon's first state forest.
1927 – President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill authorizing the exchange of Common School Fund lands for a large block of land from the Siuslaw National Forest – what would become the Elliott State Forest.
1859 – The US Congress granted Oregon nearly 3.4 million acres of land upon statehood for the purpose of funding Oregon's K-12 public schools.
OSU Elliott State Research Forest Website. (Research forest proposal background, OSU Exploratory Committee Roster, details about the Elliott State Research Forest Science Advisory Panel, etc.)