Tillamook Rivers need our help — Contact your state legislators

If you care about rivers like the Nehalem, Salmonberry, Kilchis, Trask, it is time to take a moment on their behalf. From Jeff Hickman’s blog The River Writes:

A handful of Oregon’s state and county politicians are attempting to circumvent science and double the harvest from our state forests, putting the future of wild salmon and steelhead at risk. At the center of the debate are the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, known as “The Tillamook.” The Tillamook encompasses 518,000 acres and is the largest continuous unprotected tract of coastal temperate rain-forest left in the lower 48 states. It is among the most productive and least protected forestland in North America. The 810-square-mile-area, is larger than Crater Lake National Park and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area combined. Rainfall in excess of 150 inches per year feed the legendary salmon rivers of the Tillamook—the Nestucca, Trask, Wilson, Kilchis and Nehalem. These rivers are known for producing incredible sea-run fish, but populations have declined sharply in recent years. Some species are at serious risk, including spring chinook and chum salmon. But all of the Tillamook’s rivers still support sustaining runs of wild fall chinook and winter steelhead.

Oregon’s current Forest Management Plan (FMP), adopted in 2001, operates under the paradigm of managing the State Forests for their Greatest Permanent Value (GPV). Which allows for the “sustainable” harvest of up to 150 million board feet of timber per year from the Tillamook. In reality, harvest rates from 2002 to 2008 have bounced between 175 and 225 million board feet. Several county commissioners, backed by the timber industry, want more. The counties need more money to help pay for important public services and schools, and they see the Tillamook State Forest as their cash box. The timber industry wants to use the current economic crisis as a lever to ensure unbridled access to Oregon’s public forests.

Tim Josi, Tillamook County Commissioner and chair of the Forest Land Trust Advisory Committee, recently stated his belief that harvest levels should be raised to 300 million board feet, and together with some state legislators and the timber industry, is pushing a house bill (HB 3072) to force a dramatic increase of timber harvests from Oregon’s state forests. This bill would change the entire Forest Managment Plan to a maximum timber harvest. This is state forest owned by everyone , not a tree farm owned by the county. Im not going to get into the specifics of what this will do to our fisheries.

Forester managers disagree with the proposed increase. In fact, last November the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) recommended that logging be scaled back to 144 million board feet per year, explaining that coastal forests have proved to be less productive than had been expected.

Time for action

The Ways and Means Natural Resources Sub-committee will hold a hearing on HB 3072 which re-defines the term “greatest permanent value” regarding management on Oregon’s State Forests. HB 3072 would make timber harvest the predominant value, a change from the current management that supposedly balances all forest values.

The passage of HB 3072 would result in:

  • Dramatically increased clear-cutting on state lands critical for wild salmon, steelhead and trout.
  • Increased sediment flow into rivers and streams deadly to endangered fish such as Coho salmon.
  • The reversal of years of progress in fish recovery through the Oregon Plan for Salmon.
  • The loss of carbon sequestering older forests in exchange for flammable tree plantations.
  • Increased use of herbicides on state lands.
  • The loss of hiking and biking trails, and hunting and fishing opportunities on public forestlands as logging becomes the primary focus of Department of Forestry staff.
  • Increased road building, road maintenance costs, and risk of landslides during winter storms.
  • The selling and harvest of some of the best Oregon trees for some of the lowest prices on record.
  • If you live in the Eugene – Springfield area, email or call

    Sen. Vicki Walker (Eugene)

    Rep. Chris Edwards (West Eugene – District 14)

    If you live in the Salem area, email or call:

    Rep. Brian Clem (Salem – District 21)

    Also, please copy:
    Rep. Peter Buckley – D (Ashland) Co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and member of the Natural Resources sub-committee

    Message: Be polite, respectful, and brief; ask to know what position that person will take on this bill. Give a personal account why Oregon’s State Forests and salmon and steelhead are important to you and your family. Please let your representatives know that the “Greatest Permanent Value” of Oregon’s state forests should include the values of wild salmon and steelhead.


    This entry was posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Winter Steelhead Fishing. Bookmark the permalink.

    3 Responses to Tillamook Rivers need our help — Contact your state legislators

    1. Rob R says:

      You rock!!!!!!!!!!! Please call Senator Walker and tell her that healthy, sustainable forests should be the top priority. She knows it already, but she needs to hear from all of us!!

    2. Brent says:

      Time for some ACTION.

    3. anthony says:

      This is pathetic to here about. we logged the areas so bad years ago and we lost the wilson river for fishing in the early 70’s. I witnessed the devistation to the rivers due to logging to close to streams and all the other contributing factors. the fishery still has not returned to what is was like in the 60’s and early 70’s. our fish are not making it in the rivers due to water temp flow and lack of nutrition or feed in the rivers.. why can’t we learn from out past mistakes. the odfw has made statements about the loss of fishermen appling of lisences etc well we lost interest in fishing because there are no fish left to catch hardly. They did not regulate the fishery nor the logging and protect the areas correctly. why do we as a society have to put a spieces to near distinction in order to say something is wrong and do the right things about fixing the problem.
      The politicans do not care about us and the environment if their pockets are getting lined by the organizations that want the land and timber to do with what they want. if they had their way they would logg off everything they could. why do you think the nehalem river floods so badly its the run off water that has nothing to hold it back and retain it and allow it to draing slowly.
      look at the wilson river loop / trask highway systems and all the flooding that has occured over the past years. the rivers can not take any more logging and excessive water run off . secondly we need the slower run off to keep river flows up higher in the summers etc.
      i hope that enough people do something to stop this logging– what is sad is that the money for the sale of the timber will most likely not have any impact on the financial aspects of the poeple to help them execpt to give the counties more money to spend on useless so called improvements. that we do not need even if the people got something out of it will the logging industry come back to fix the rivers when we need help of course not its not their fualt but i am certian that they would come do anything we ask for the right price to pull the loggs and stumps out of the rivers when the ge jamed up again for the right price they will help us but not on their dime even if it is there fault .
      hope that the voice of the people does something to stop this acutually just follow the money trail and you will see who all is behind this logging scam and who will profite the most. not us we will just loose more of the fisheries and great country and land that was given to us to engjoy.

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