The Oregon State University Board of Trustees met recently and heard an update on the university’s plan to manage the Elliott State Research Forest.
OSU and state officials, with consultation from a stakeholder group, are negotiating terms of a potential agreement for the university to provide research management of the 82,000-acre forest, which is situated in the Coast Range near Reedsport. The OSU Board of Trustees is expected to consider the terms of a potential agreement at its April 14 meeting. If adopted, the resulting agreement would be voted on by a new Elliott State Research Forest Authority Board of Directors anticipated to be formed by the state on Jan. 1, 2024.
“The university envisions the forest supporting scientific collaboration that addresses critical questions related to forest ecosystems, management and sustainability,” said Tom DeLuca, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry.
Three years ago, Oregon’s State Land Board asked OSU and the Department of State Lands to examine the potential for the Elliott State Forest’s future. Since then, the university has worked with the Department of State Lands and many stakeholder groups and community members to develop a proposed vision for turning the forest into a world-class research location while also incorporating public values such as recreation, conservation, education, cultural values and the local economy.
Trustees heard support for the university to pursue management of the research forest by four members of the forest advisory board: Keith Tymchuk, Reedsport community leader; Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Portland Audubon Society; Melissa Cribbins, former Coos County Commissioner; and Colin Beck, a representative of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.
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