Over 1,000 acres of crucial habitat on Mount Ashland will be preserved through a large grant to a nonprofit conservation group.
The Pacific Forest Trust has been awarded a $1.1 million state grant by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to buy the land. The property connects the Rogue Siskiyou National Forest and the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. By conserving it, the land can remain a connected habitat for species living in the area.
The land provides important habitat for protected species such as the northern spotted owl, coastal marten and Pacific fisher. The area also contains watersheds and its conservation will preserve water quality as well as protect Coho salmon and steelhead.
Connie Best is the co-founder of the Pacific Forest Trust. She says this purchase is important because if the private land goes to other buyers, it could damage habitat for protected species.
“Wildlife don’t know or care about our artificial ownership boundaries,” said Best. “So the issue with private land forests is that larger properties get broken up and developed, fragmenting habitats.”
The Pacific Forest Trust says that the forest will be actively managed to prevent large wildfires and to improve habitats.
“What we are going to do is some ecologically appropriate light logging to thin the forest,” said Best. “It’s overstocked as compared to older forest conditions.”
The land is currently owned by the Siskiyou Timberlands.