The 93,000 acres of a state forest on the south Oregon coast could be sold to private timber companies.
That’s one option being considered by Oregon’s Department of State Lands, which says the forest drains millions of dollars from a trust fund that supports public education.
The Elliott State Forest has been a losing proposition for the state of Oregon. Annual management costs are about $3 million dollars more than what it brings in by selling trees to timber companies.
Three parcels were recently sold for logging — and now the state is considering whether to sell off the entire forest, including tracts of old-growth.
Cameron La Follette of the Oregon Coast Alliance says private timber companies can’t be counted on to uphold environmental laws.
La Follette: “Their management trajectory is usually not towards protection of habitat for old-growth dependent species.”
Julie Curtis, with the Department of State Lands, disagrees.
Curtis: “Any buyer, whether it’s a timber company or a conservation land trust, has to comply with all state and federal laws.”
Curtis says a range of options will still be considered for the Elliott State Forest.
The state is accepting comments on the proposal — and a series of public meetings will take place in the fall.
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