Oregon’s 92,000-acre Elliott State Forest is well known by sportsmen and women for the coveted public access it provides to high quality hunting and fishing. Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer and wild populations of salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout call the old growth timber and cold, clean waters home.
Established in 1930 as Oregon’s first state forest, the Elliott was dedicated to provide a sustainable source of timber revenue to Oregon schools. Unfortunately, the Elliott stands today as an example of what can happen when states take on the responsibility of managing public lands. Shifting public attitudes over forest management resulted in declining timber revenue, and the state was forced to sell a portion of the forest in 2014 to private companies. At least one of those parcels has already been closed to the public, and the state has put the remainder of the Elliott State Forest on the auction block for sale in 2016.
This report published by Oregon BHA describes what you can do to help - and why we need to protect public access to the Elliott and advocate for the future of our outdoor traditions.
Over 50 people representing numerous conservation groups, the USFWS, the BLM, the Oregon Governor’s office, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, County Commissioners, and representatives from the offices of Senators Wyden and Merkley gathered in Bend on June 23rd as part of the state’s unified effort to prevent an endangered listing for the Sage Grouse. The Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers was also in attendance. Here are some highlights of the day-long meeting...
Check out this great video highlighting the work of Oregon BHA in 2014.
Here’s an update on Oregon’s BHA conservation work weekend. We had a small group of volunteers who did some big things. In all, we cleared over 650 acres from junipers invading some core wildlife habitat. Check out our short video of this event here:
We want to thank several BHA members for their hard work. Nick Dobric instigated this conservation effort on behalf of BHA. Nick works in the Hart-Sheldon regions and knows them intimately. Also, a big thank you to co-chair, Ed Putnam for not only working his tail off, but cooking Friday night’s dinner. Ed has the Dutch oven thing down! I’d also like to thank long-time member Karl Findling and his significant friend Renee along with Karl’s two daughters Maris and Libby. Also, thanks to Sara Domek for her hard work and for keeping Nick pointed in the right direction. And, special thanks to Jeff Mackay, Manager of the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Jeff not only hosted the event, but worked side-by-side clearing junipers and was a fun addition to our campfire.
By Brian Jennings
When the U.S. Forest Service was formed in 1905, it was charged with managing our public forests for the greater good of all. We all own them and have a right to use them. But the Forest Service is also charged with protecting the natural resources in our forests, and sometimes that means policy decisions don’t square with the wishes of everyone. A prime example concerns off-road travel on public lands in Northeast Oregon. Those who prefer OHV travel in the forests often clash with those who don’t, and in 2014 the USFS finds itself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing travel in Oregon’s largest national forest – the Wallowa Whitman. When forest supervisors rolled out a plan to close nearly half of the forest’s 9,100 miles of roads in 2012, local citizens objected so strongly the plan was rescinded. So, it’s back to square one, and a new process to develop a travel management plan is underway. In the meantime, cross - country travel is basically unrestricted in the Wallowa Whitman. Such travel often leads to habitat degradation. I saw it firsthand in a weeklong trip through the Blue Mountains while touring both the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests.