Impressions: on the Elliott

If you’ve experienced the pleasure of walking through

quiet groves of trees--your footsteps cushioned by soft

moss, watching sunlight filter through the branches

casting light and shadow, you know the peace and joy

it brings.   But, add the sound of chainsaws echoing

through the hills, red spray paint on tree trunks

marking timber sale boundaries, orange and black

project notices listing names like Kelly Slim Cougar or

Flying Fish, and the peace and joy slip away.

I’ve been pondering what to write about last week’s

field trip to the Elliott State Forest.   I could cite facts

and data on upcoming timber sales or the value of the

forest’s carbon sequestration capacity, but that

information is available elsewhere.   What I feel

compelled to speak to, however, is the stark irony of

hiking through 150-year-old stands of native forest

untouched by logging while surrounded by these

constant reminders that every one of them is

threatened.

We were blessed with excellent weather, comfortable for hiking and wonderful for photos.    And, we were equally blessed to have the expert guidance of Cascadia Wildlands’ Josh Laughlin and Francis Eatherington.  Francis led us into the woods, sharing her expertise on every trail and timber stand.  The lady has a fierce passion for the Elliott and displayed boundless energy as she introduced us to the grandeur and sorrow of this magnificent forest.  Josh Laughlin gifted us with his vast knowledge on the surrounding timber sales and the ongoing struggle to end them.

When we entered the Elliott, panoramic vistas of tree-

covered mountains stretched off into the distance, the

splendor marred by patches of barren hillsides near

the road.  The first reminders of why we were there:

to bear witness.

A few minutes later, we were brought up short by a

barricade of signs, caution tape, and a large truck

parked in the middle of the road.  Luckily, our own

Janine has no fear of falling timber, and “Road Closed”

signs hold no meaning for her.  She sauntered off down

the road, asked the loggers to move their vehicle, and

the way was cleared.  Piles of trees covered the hillside

next to the road, a tangled mass of limbs and branches

(in the photos I took, they were unrecognizable as

anything more than large piles of brush).  We slowly

drove past felled trees and listened to the sharp crack

and thunder as more crashed to the ground.

We travelled a trail built by tree-sitters, to fulfill their community service sentence.   While we hiked, we noted the trees and plants as we went: Doug fir and oak, huckleberry and fern.  At one point, Francis greeted an old friend, a great fir tree with its grooved, rough bark--so tall its branches were lost in the canopy above and so wide it took five of us, arms outstretched, to encircle it.   She shared her joy--this tree and the surrounding stand were part of a timber sale spared from logging thanks to a pair of Spotted owls who had taken up residence.  We walked slowly and listened quietly as Francis shared the history of the remnants of trees long dead, while we stood in the shadows of their descendants--fire and rebirth.

But, no matter how sweet the air or glorious the

sunshine, the awareness of purpose haunted every step.

Stand by stand, this forest is being sold off.  And, not

thinned--clear-cut.  Thousands of acres turned into

wasteland.  To stop the selling of our planet’s future,

we must eliminate the antiquated concept that the

value of a forest is measured in board feet.  We must

work together to educate, raise awareness, lobby,

change laws, and change minds.   Each of us can

speak out, share what we learn, engage others in

this effort.  The Elliott State Forest needs every

voice raised on its behalf.

Add yours.

Thank you,

Cristina Hubbard, Executive Director

Forest Web of Cottage Grove

February 2011

Keep the Elliott Public!

Now, in 2016, the Elliott faces even greater danger as the State Land Board is planning on selling off this 93,000-acre coastal rainforest—precious habitat for endangered species such as the Marbled Murrelett, Northern Spotted Owl, and Coho salmon--to private timber companies.  To learn more about this issue, please use the following links, and sign the petitions to keep the Elliott in public hands!

 

Thank you!

 

PETITIONS

Sign Now!  Keep the Elliott State Forest in Public Hands:https://act.myngp.com/Forms/5992884828658204672

Sign Now! Maintain Public Ownership of the Elliott State Forest

https://www.change.org/p/arnie-roblan-maintain-public-ownership-of-the-elliott-state-forest?recruiter=558684878&utm_source=petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper&utm_medium=copylink

 

ARTICLES

June 15, 2016 - Oregon Is Selling Its Public Forest to a Timber Company http://www.planetexperts.com/oregon-selling-public-forest-timber-company/

June 14,2016 - Oregon Appeals Court Set to Rule on Plan to Sell Off Elliott State Forest

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/elliot-state-forest-06-14-2016.html

 

June 5, 2016 - State should scrap Elliott forest privatization http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/34430132-78/state-should-scrap-elliott-forest-privatization.html.csp

 

April, 13, 2015 - Oregon Land Board Approves Elliott Sale

http://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-elliott-state-forest-for-sale/

Land board seeks sale of Elliott State Forest

http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20141209/land-board-seeks-sale-of-elliott-state-forest

 

April 21, 2014 - Elliott State Forest parcel to be sold to Seneca Jones, drawing environmental lawsuit

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/04/elliott_state_forest_parcel_to.html

 

April 21, 2014 - Suit Filed Challenging Sale of Elliott State Forest Land

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/elliot-state-forest-04-21-2014.html

 

 

December 11, 2013 - Q&A: State Moves Forward On Elliott Forest Sale

http://www.opb.org/news/article/qa-state-moves-forward-on-elliott-forest-sale/

 

November 21, 2013 - Conservationists Seek Solutions To Sale Of Elliott State Forest Land

https://www.cascwild.org/conservationists-seek-solutions-to-sale-of-elliott-state-forest-land/

 

             

WEBSITES

Umpqua Watersheds - Elliott State Forest Page

 http://www.umpqua-watersheds.org/archive/local/ESF_main.html

 

Coast Range Forest Watch - Save the Elliott State Forest Page

http://www.savetheelliott.com/

 

Oregon.Gov – Elliott State Forest

http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/LW/Pages/Elliott-State-Forest.aspx