Oregon Dept. of Forestry opens public comment period, to run April 23-June 5, for its 10-year management plan for 48,000 acres of state-owned forest in North Cascade District

SALEM, Oregon , April 24, 2012 (press release) – The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) today announced the opening of a public comment period for several documents that set management goals for the Santiam State Forest, located east of Salem. ODF released drafts of the 10-year implementation plan for the North Cascade District, Forest Land Management Classification maps and the draft Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Operations Plan for the forest.

Public comment will be accepted on the plan(s) until June 5, 2012.

ODF’s North Cascade District includes management of about 48,000 acres of state-owned forest in Clackamas, Marion and Linn Counties. Ninety-eight percent of the forest is owned by the Oregon Board of Forestry, with all three counties benefitting from timber harvest revenues of the scattered tracts of forest that were consolidated in 1974 into the Santiam State Forest. The remaining lands are Common School Lands managed by ODF under agreement with the Department of State Lands.

By law, Board of Forestry lands are managed to achieve greatest permanent value – defined as healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon.

Common School Fund forestlands are managed to maximize revenues over the long term in a manner that is consistent with sound techniques of land management.

The draft 10 year implementation plan --

* Balances providing a sustainable source of revenues for public services while valuing and providing for environmental and social assets of the forest.
* Aligns forest management activities on the Santiam State Forest with the Forest Management Plan approved by the Board of Forestry for state-owned forests in NW Oregon.
* Sets the annual average timber harvest level at 19 million-board-feet, a sustainable level based on the latest forest modeling and inventory. During the next decade, the forest’s inventory is expected to increase from 1.1 billion-board-feet to more than 1.2 billion-board-feet.
* Creates several ‘anchor habitats’ in eastern Marion County and northern Linn County – roughly 18 percent of the forest – to maintain and improve conditions for fish and wildlife in the region.
* Outlines expected recreation uses and development within the context of the roaded-natural setting of the Santiam State Forest.

Ten-year implementation plans provide objectives for ODF districts in developing annual operations plans for the forest. These plans describe management activities including harvests, road building, recreation objectives and reforestation that will occur during the next decade. The plans also include estimates of key outcomes such as timber harvest volume and age/species composition of forest stands.

The Forest Land Management Classification Maps display areas where specific conservation strategies described in the Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan and State Forests Operational Policies are applied on the ground. These areas may be for the conservation of natural resources such as riparian habitat and the ranges of northern spotted owls; conservation of social values, such as scenic views or recreation sites; or for administrative sites, such as rock quarries and power line right-of-ways.

The Annual Operations Plan describes the specific activities that will occur on the district during the 2013 fiscal year, including proposed timber sales and road construction, reforestation activities, and recreation site management.

A public meeting to review the draft implementation plan and receive public comment will be held on Thursday May 3rd at 6:30 p.m. in the ODF North Cascade District office, 22965 North Fork Road (just off Oregon Hwy 22) in Lyons. The meeting location is accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations for the meeting can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at 503-945-7427.

The draft 2012 implementation plan and draft forest land classification maps are available for review on the ODF website: www.oregon.gov/ODF/STATE_FORESTS/District_Implementation_Plan_Revisions_2012.shtml

Comments on the draft implementation plan may be sent by regular mail to:
Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, Salem, OR 97310 – Attn: Public Affairs Office. Comments may also be e-mailed to: sfpiplans@odf.state.or.us

During the same comment period, the draft Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Operations Plan for the District can also be reviewed on the ODF website:

Comments on the draft Annual Operations Plan may be sent by regular mail to:

Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, Salem, OR 97310 – Attn: Public Affairs Office. Comments may also be e-mailed to: sfpaoplans@odf.state.or.us

ODF provides management of about 821,000 acres of forestland in the state. About two-thirds of the revenues from state forest timber sales go to local counties and other taxing districts, including schools. Over the last 10 years for the North Cascade District, this has amounted to more than $56.7 million from state forest timber sales in Clackamas, Marion and Linn counties.

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