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ODF seeks public comment on revisions to Santiam State Forest Implementation Plan through Dec. 23 - 11/23/20

SALEM, Ore. – With about 24,700 acres of the 47,000-acre Santiam State Forest in 2020 wildfire perimeters, the Oregon Department of Forestry is accepting public comment through December 23 on a revised implementation plan for ODF’s North Cascade District focused on forest restoration. This covers aspects of forest restoration such as replanting, salvage harvesting, and public safety.

A 30-day public comment period on the draft Implementation Plan opens Monday, Nov. 23 and ends at 5 p.m. December 23. Implementation Plans provide guidance on how to enact management strategies described in the Northwest Oregon State Forest Management Plan, including timber harvest, road construction and maintenance, reforestation and young stand management, recreation, aquatic habitat restoration, and protection for species of concern. You can find the draft Implementation Plan and other information on the Santiam State Forest restoration by visiting https://www.oregon.gov/odf/recreation/Pages/santiam-state-forest.aspx.

This revised plan would replace the current Implementation Plan for the Santiam State Forest and extend through June 30, 2023. It provides a broad overview of strategies and activities with the aim of re-establishing a healthy, productive forest that provides the economic, environmental, and social benefits required by law on state forests.

ODF will host a virtual public forum via Zoom at 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 to provide an overview of damage to the forest post-fire, ODF’s initial plans for forest restoration, and take public input. The link to view or participate in the meeting will be posted at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/recreation/Pages/santiam-state-forest.aspx. Public comment can be submitted using this form, by emailing ODF.SFComments@oregon.gov or mailing comment to ODF Public Affairs, 2600 State St., Salem OR 97310.

Most aspects of state forest activities are funded through the sale of timber. In this case, revenue from salvage harvesting will help pay for mitigating environmental impacts from the fire, replanting, and restoring and enhancing popular recreation areas. Most developed recreation trails and facilities were impacted by the fire, and this plan outlines initial steps for repair and restoration.

About the Santiam State Forest: The Santiam State Forest is a 47,465-acre forest managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry spread across Marion, Linn and Clackamas counties in the Cascade Mountain foothills. About 98% is owned by the Board of Forestry, with a small amount of Common School Forest Lands. Board of Forestry lands by law must be managed to be healthy, productive and provide sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits to Oregonians. About 24,700 acres of the forest were in the footprint of the 2020 Beachie Creek, Lionshead and Riverside fires.

Stair on Natural Arch Trail in Santiam State Forest after 2020 wildfires.
Stair on Natural Arch Trail in Santiam State Forest after 2020 wildfires.
Santiam State Forest remains closed to the public (Photo) - 11/20/20

SALEM, Ore. – With more than half of the 47,465-acre Santiam State Forest in the Beachie Creek Fire footprint, the forest remains closed to the public. Re-openings will occur in phases based on public safety and access considerations, but there is no firm date for when these re-openings will take place.

About 24,700 acres of the Santiam State Forest were within the fire perimeter. Most of the forest’s popular recreation areas were impacted to some degree by the fire, with longer-term closures likely in some areas. You can learn more about impacts to the Santiam’s recreational offerings by visiting Santiam State Forest After the Fire: Recreational Impacts or the Santiam State Forest Restoration Page.

Approximately 24 of the Santiam’s 30 miles of trails are within the burn perimeter. About 190 miles of forest roads were in the fire perimeter, with numerous road sections at risk of collapse until repairs can be completed. Few roads through the Santiam can be used without crossing into the burn perimeter at some point, and hazard trees are still a significant risk in burned areas. The timeline for road repair and hazard tree mitigation is dependent on contractor availability and snow accumulation in higher-elevation areas.

“The outpouring of support for Oregon’s forests and offers to help are truly appreciated,” ODF State Forests Division Chief Liz Dent said. “Right now, the best way Oregonians can help is by honoring this temporary closure, which will help us begin to restore a healthy and productive Santiam State Forest for future generations.”

This closure is implemented under Oregon Administrative Rule 629-025-0091, an emergency rule adopted by the agency this week. It establishes notification requirements as well as potential enforcement and penalties for violating state forest closures. The closure is authorized under statutory authority provided by Oregon Revised Statutes 530.050(13).

All forms of public recreation create some level of impact on the land. With ODF staff focused on planning for forest restoration activities such as hazard mitigation, replanting, and repair and restoration of roads, recreation facilities and trails, the agency cannot adequately protect forest resources and mitigate issues such as garbage and waste accumulation along with wear and tear on forest roads and trails. State forests are managed to provide a balance of benefits to Oregonians, including economic, environmental and social. This decision was made with long-term forest health and productivity in mind.

You can learn the status of any recreation area on state forestland by visiting https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Recreation/Pages/default.aspx.

Committee for Family Forestlands meets Nov. 19 via Zoom - 11/12/20

SALEM, Ore. - The Committee for Family Forestlands will meet virtually Thursday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To join the call or provide public comment at this virtual meeting please contact Susan Dominique at 503-945-7502.

The committee’s agenda includes: 

  • Private Forest Division update
  • Work plan review
  • Post-fire recovery
  • Landowner outreach
  • Senate Bill 1602
  • Committee vacancies
  • Partner updates

The meeting is open to the public to attend online via Zoom. Public comments will be accepted near the start of the meeting after approval of the minutes. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by calling Susan Dominique at 503-945-7502.

The 13-member committee researches policies that affect family forests, natural resources and forestry benefits. Based on its findings, the committee recommends actions to the Oregon Board of Forestry and the State Forester. You can find more information at 

https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/CFF.aspx

Abandoned boat 1
Abandoned boat 1
Increased illegal vehicle dumping in Clatsop State Forest causes rising costs, public safety concerns (Photo) - 11/09/20

ASTORIA, Ore. – Abandoned cars, boats and recreational vehicles in the Clatsop State Forest are an increasingly common nuisance, often posing public health risks and costing thousands of dollars each to remove.

Over the past three years, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Astoria District has spent more than $42,000 removing, disposing and cleaning up after discovering and removing these vehicles left to the elements. A sampling of some of these cases include:

  • A 36-foot motorhome with several hundred syringes and a sawed-off shotgun found inside, costing $8,575 in labor and fees.
  • An area with a motorhome, two 5th wheels and a sedan, which cost $12,046 to remove.
  • A burned-out motorhome that cost $3,084 to remove.
  • Another motorhome with several thousand syringes found on site, requiring a biohazard company to clean the site, costing $5,780.

Other vehicles – boats, cars, and travel trailers, often with plenty of trash inside – are still awaiting pickup, representing thousands of dollars more in cleanup costs.

“Unfortunately, when these vehicles broke down or their useful lifespans ended, their owners pushed the hassle and cost of disposing of the vehicle onto the public,” ODF Astoria District Forester Dan Goody said, adding that the number of abandoned vehicles had steadily increased for the past five years. ODF has not typically budgeted for this high volume of cleanup. Like other state forest management costs, abandoned vehicle cleanup costs are derived from the roughly one-third share of net revenue ODF receives from timber harvests on Board of Forestry lands. This reduces the resources available for other public priorities such as recreational offerings.

Not only are abandoned vehicles unsightly and expensive to clean up, they also pose environmental hazards and public health risks. Oil, battery acid, and other vehicle fluids can leach into the soil and eventually reach groundwater and bodies of water. The vehicles also represent an attractive nuisance for children to play and adults to use drugs or engage in other illicit activities. In the past they have also been a target for arson – a risk that becomes magnified during fire season.

Deputy Shawn Copp of the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office said violators can be charged with offensive littering, which carries up to $1,250 in fines – but that determining a vehicle’s true owner can be tricky by the time it is found abandoned.

“Just because a named person is registered as the owner doesn’t necessarily mean they are the person who actually abandoned the vehicle,” Copp said. “More often than not, the registered owner on file with Oregon DMV is two, three, or even four owners’ ago, especially with the old vehicles who have been scrapped and left abandoned.” 

Even if ownership can be determined, contact information on file can be outdated and makes the owner difficult to locate and possibly cite, Copp added.

Those looking to dispose of vehicles have several convenient options:

Astoria Auto Wrecking and Recycling
34522 Hwy 101 Business
Astoria, OR 97103

Recology
1790 Williamsport Rd
Astoria, OR 97103

Long Beach Recycling Center and Transfer Station
4404 67th Pl
Long Beach, WA 98631

Attached Media Files: Abandoned boat 1 , Burned RV , Abandoned boat 2
Forest landowners in several Oregon counties impacted by wildfires have until Dec. 31 to apply for federal aid to address wildfire damage. Tens of thousands of acres of nonindustrial private forestland burned in the Labor Day wildfires, leaving scorched f
Forest landowners in several Oregon counties impacted by wildfires have until Dec. 31 to apply for federal aid to address wildfire damage. Tens of thousands of acres of nonindustrial private forestland burned in the Labor Day wildfires, leaving scorched f
Forest landowners in 13 Oregon counties can now apply for aid to address wildfire damages (Photo) - 11/05/20

TUALATIN, Ore. — Nonindustrial private forest landowners in 13 Oregon counties hit hard by wildfires have until the end of the year to submit applications to the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) for grants to address wildfire damage, according to an announcement this week by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director Josh Hanning.

The counties where landowners are eligible to apply are Lake, Klamath, Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Washington, Lincoln, Tillamook and Wasco.

EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP signup began Nov. 3 and ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

“It is important that producers apply for EFRP assistance timely because program funds will be allocated based on the number of applications received as well as by on-site inspections that will determine the extent of the damage,” said SED Hanning. “I encourage eligible landowners who haven’t participated in FSA programs to contact the County FSA office as soon as possible because FSA records will have to be created for these individuals.”

After applications are received, local FSA county committees determine land eligibility using on-site damage inspections that assess the type and extent of damage and approve applications.

Eligible forest restoration practices include debris removal, such as down or damaged trees, in order to establish a new stand or provide natural regeneration; site preparation, planting materials and labor to replant forest land; restoration of forestland roads, fire lanes, fuel breaks or erosion control structures; fencing, tree shelters and tree tubes to protect trees from wildlife damage; and wildlife enhancement to provide cover openings and wildlife habitat.

In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.

For more information please visit farmers.gov/recover.