Oregon’s state forests, including the 500,000 acre Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests in Northwest Oregon’s Coast Range contribute in many ways to Oregon’s economy. Jobs and economic activity are created by a wide range of activities including fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, clean water, tourism, and timber and forest restoration. Many discussions of the economics surrounding state forests tend to focus on timber production. But it is clear that a management strategy that includes protection of high conservation areas, active restoration and responsible timber production can contribute to a diverse and durable economy on Oregon’s north coast. Earlier this year, the Oregon Board of Forestry made a historic vote to revise the Forest Land Classification System to create high value conservation areas on state forests. This represents a first in the state of Oregon, and should mean better protections for fish habitat on great North Coast salmon and steelhead rivers like the Nehalem, Wilson, Trask, Kilchis, Salmonberry, and Miami. Steelheaders led the charge, hiring grassroots organizers in Tillamook and Clatsop counties to raise a strong local voice in support of conservation areas and fish habitat. Questions remain about the Department of Forestry’s willingness to make these areas durable and maximized for fish habitat. This campaign never really ends, and the next targets for making sure Oregon puts a premium on fish habitat in state forests are the upcoming Tillamook implementation plan and the planned re-write of the management plan. Oregon’s state forests represent only 3% of the state’s forest land, but account for 10% of timber production. The law requires that timber harvested in Oregon on state and federal lands be milled in Oregon; however, private timber companies often ship their logs overseas. Private industrial forest lands are 19% of Oregon’s forest lands, but create 75% of the state’s timber production. In addition, federal forest lands are 59% of the forest landscape, but provide only 12% of timber production. Attempts to increase timber harvest on state lands amounts to low hanging fruit for the timber industry and a few timber-reliant counties, and do not address the real economic issues, which is private timber companies milling overseas, and very little timber harvest on federal land. For more information and to take action to protect fish habitat on Oregon’s state forests, please our state forest legacy website HERE.