Timber-dependent counties, environmental groups and a Native American tribe are formally protesting a plan to manage 2.5 million acres of public land in Western Oregon.
The forest tracts are former Oregon and California Railroad lands set aside to provide local counties and rural schools with revenue from the sale of trees that are logged. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposed management plan lays out how these O&C forest lands will be used over the coming decades – including how much will be logged, protected for wildlife and set aside for recreation.
Conservation and timber groups are voicing concerns about harvest levels and environmental protections, but the Coquille Tribe has also formally protested.
The Coquille are in a unique position because federal law requires them to operate their forests under these same rules being proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Coquille Tribal Chair Brenda Meade says tribal logging could be curtailed if the plan is approved.
“This new plan is really looking at losses of revenue and losses of much-needed jobs in our community,” she says.
The tribe is working to decouple its forestland from this federal management; doing so will take congressional action.
The Bureau of Land Management will consider all protests over the next few months. A final decision on the plan is expected mid-summer.