Oregon’s State Land Board (SLB) voted unanimously Tuesday to direct state land managers to work with Oregon State University’s School of Forestry to follow a vision of the Elliott as a research forest. As a research forest, the Elliott would maintain public ownership and access, provide educational opportunity, recreation and research on the 85,000-acre south coast forest. To us as hunters, the results would mean some level of habitat improvement for big game by active forest management and a chance to be at the table in future forest plans. There are still hurdles to clear before this idea becomes a reality. Two key requirements for success are creating a financial plan that will provide the $121 million cost of “decoupling” the forest from the Common School Fund financial requirements and creating a Habitat Conservation Plan to address the fish and wildlife species requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act. OSU is one of seven organizations who responded to the SLB’s October request for submitting interest in managing the Elliott. The February SLB meeting will include discussion on public participation in the Elliott’s future. OHA will continue our involvement by representing our hunting, habitat and public access interests.
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