Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Western Oregon BLM Federal Public Forestlands:

The Three Clearcuteers (DeFazio, et al.) By the Numbers

Under this scheme, nearly twice as many acres of federal public forestland would have their management degraded as would have their management improved. Lands would be ripped from the National Forest System and essentially given to the O&C counties to have their way with. This cost can be measured in species extinction, ugly views, polluted water and other metrics. It can also be measured in dollars. Over $7 billion of assets (aka public land) held by the federal government on behalf of all citizens would be squandered.

Here are the highlights of the one-page quantitative analysis:

• 218,000 acres    National Forest System Area Lost to Timber Trust

The O&C checkerboard (the result of a land grant to a railroad) overlaps with National Forest System lands. In 1954, Congress resolved the conflict by declaring the lands to be O&C lands only for the purpose of the sharing of timber sale receipts, but otherwise were National Forest System lands. 341 square miles of National Forest System lands on the Mount Hood, Willamette, Siuslaw, Umpqua and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests would be converted from public forestland to industrial timberland.

• 1,479,000 acres    Federal Public Forestlands Converted to Timber Trust (remain public lands in name only)

2,311 square miles of federal public forestlands would be handed over to the timber trust.

• 851,581 acres    Land Area Upon Which Management is Improved (35.8%)

The legislative proposal would transfer the federal public forestlands not sacrificed to the counties to the National Forest System, managed by the Forest Service under the National Forest Management Act, which is better (but just for these lands) than being managed by the Bureau of Land Management managed under the O&C Lands Act. However, much of the land would remain open to logging. Some old growth would be protected from logging, but the language of the legislative proposal leaves open the prospect of not much of it will be.

• 1,526,852 acres    Land Area Upon Which Management is Degraded (64.2%)

About twice as much federal public forestland would see degraded management. The lands in the timber trust would be managed on an average 70-year industrial timber rotation under the Oregon Forest Practices Act, which is just about no regulation at all.

• $7.4 Billion Dollars    Estimated Federal Asset Value Essentially Given to the O&C Counties.

Assuming a conservative $5,000/acre average value, that is on the order of $7.4 billion dollars of federal public assets sacrificed to some counties that have some of the lowest property tax rates in the nation.