Updates on The Children's Forest

See the Final Summary.

Fall, 2001. The Oregon Department of Forestry has decided to set aside 30 acres around the northern goshawk nest. Thanks to everyone who helped. But we still need your help. Read on.

On June 22nd, four of us representing The Children's Forest met with Peter Green, the Governor's assistant for forestry affairs, Roy Woo, Deputy State Forester, and other members of the State and local Oregon Department of Forestry. We visited The Children's Forest, and had a very frank discussion in which we expressed our concerns about the proposed cutting of some of the giant trees in The Children's Forest in the light of the heavy cutting over the years by the State, and others, in this area, and the impact of all this on the creatures dependent on the old growth forests.

As a result of the meeting, the Oregon Department of Forestry decided to have an independent review of its District Plan. It has retained three consultants, a U.S. Forest Service ecologist, an Oregon Department of Forestry ontomologist, and an Oregon State University Extension Forester, and asked them to address three questions:

1. How will the plan's approach to providing older forest habitat in Sun Pass State Forest affect ecological processes, structures, and functions? Initially? Over time?

2. Are the management practices being implemented by the District ecologically and silviculturally sound, and do they promote a diverse, productive, resilient, and sustainable forest ecosystem?

3. How will habitat changes resulting from the proposed treatments on the Siderod sale (The Children's Forest) affect ecological process, structure, and function in these stands? Initially? Over time?

Their opinions are due any time now, and the Oregon Department of Forestry will consider them before it comes to a decision.

While we welcome an independent review of the District Plan, we have some concerns. The Oregon Department of Forestry has been acting as if our participation in the process of resolving these issues came to an end with the June 22nd meeting. They tell us after the fact what they have done, and consider that our talking to their consultants will "contaminate" the process.

This leaves us with no way to know if our concerns were adequately presented to their consultants, and it certainly leaves us with the feeling that the Oregon Department of Forestry is not particularly used to or comfortable with public input.

What you can do. E-mail, write or phone the Governor's Office, and the Oregon Department of Forestry, and tell them you are concerned about this whole process reaching a positive conclusion that will actually safeguard some of these last giant trees on the Sunpass State Forest, and the creatures dependent on them like the northern goshawk.


Spring, 2001. The Oregon Department of Forestry has told us - we haven't gotten a letter on this yet - that it is going back to The Children's Forest in the spring to see if the goshawks have returned, and if they have, they will make more ample provisions to protect the nest site, perhaps a 30-acre buffer zone. This is going to delay the bidding of the sale until the fall of this year, 2001. This is a step in the right direction for them.

But on the question of the giant trees, they have said they have over 6,000 trees that are 21.5" in diameter at breast height, and they plan to cut 3,380 of them. When we asked them to save 100 of the giant trees, they said they couldn't do it because it would set a precedent.

So there is a little movement in the right direction, but keep your letters to the Governor coming.