The Oregon Board of Forestry today agreed to swap several hundred acres of forestland in Cannon Beach’s watershed for city-owned forest parcels nearby.
The deal has been in the works for awhile, and has been hailed as a win-win for both parties. Cannon Beach gets ownership of most of its watershed, and the Oregon Department of Forestry gets an equivalent parcel of land it can manage for timber, recreation and habitat.
The city brought the deal to the state, and then went out of its way to pass a $4 million bond measure last year so it could buy forestland with equivalent timber value to trade. Now, the city enters a new phase of deciding how to manage forestland for environmental and recreational values.
The land exchange transfers one 805-acre contiguous block of State Forest land in the Ecola Creek watershed for eight parcels totaling approximately 720 acres in city ownership.
“The primary purpose of the exchange is to consolidate ODF lands managed by the Astoria District which will improve the social, economic, and environmental benefits provided from public forestlands, and makes management of these lands more economically feasible,” said Ron Zilli, Assistant District Forester for ODF’s Astoria District. “The high quality salmon habitat on this forest parcel will be managed for conservation under a stewardship plan being developed by the City. This land exchange is a win-win for Oregon.”
The 805-acre Ecola Tract was recently appraised at $2,570,000 while the 720 acres of City-owned land have a market valuation of $2,519,000. The $51,000 difference in land value will be resolved through a one-time payment made to ODF by Cannon Beach.
“An independent appraisal found the land values, including harvestable timber, are approximately equal,” said Zilli. “Third-party assessments were conducted for sensitive plant, fish and wildlife habitats while ODF completed an assessment of potential impacts and benefits of recreational values.”
The land exchange process has been underway since 2008 when Cannon Beach officials approached ODF about the proposal to consolidate land within ODF’s Astoria District and provide City ownership of the watershed. A public hearing on the proposal was held in Astoria during May 2010 with public comment accepted on the proposal until June 2010. The exchange was approved by Clatsop County’s Board of Commissioners in June 2010.
ODF manages 848,000 acres of state forestland to provide social, economic, and environmental benefits to local communities throughout Oregon. Additional information, including maps of the area within the land exchange, is available on the Oregon Department of Forestry website, www.oregon.gov/ODF