In a recent article Janice Reid made several statements that were either wrong, or at the very least misleading. Ms. Reid said she has studied the spotted owl for 30 years. She is, then, obviously aware of the science presented by many biologists concluding that the spotted owl will be replaced in its habitat by the barred owl. Barred owls have been replacing spotted owls for more than 30 years with such success that our federal agencies have adopted a misguided policy of killing the stronger, more adaptive barred owl, a beautiful large raptor. Many biologists see that as a futile attempt to “save” the spotted owl, the weaker of the species.

Ms. Reid suggests that the solution to the county’s economic challenges is, in large part, to be found in a more robust recreation economy. Recreation is recognized as an important component of the county’s overall economy. However, dollars generated by recreational activities do not directly benefit public safety, libraries, public health and many other vital public services, as revenues from federal timber harvests do. Moreover, jobs in the recreation sector are often seasonal and pale in comparison to wages paid in the logging and lumber manufacturing industry. Finally, there is no conflict between a robust timber economy and a robust recreation economy — the two are entirely compatible. Indeed, in western Oregon, the road system provided for timber management activities is the very same road system that is necessary for access for recreation. Timber harvesting and recreation have never been an “either-or” proposition in our region.

Ms. Reid states that increased logging on federal lands will not fix the economic challenges facing resource dependent counties today. While increased harvest levels are not a magic bullet, they would produce immediate and very substantial increase in desperately needed revenues used to pay for public services. And in the private sector, one need only review the U.S. House of Representative’s Resource Committee report, released five years after the listing of the spotted owl, to assess its impact. The report found that as a result of the listing, and the maze of regulations, coupled with environmental litigation that followed, a combination of 900 sawmills and pulp and paper manufacturing plants closed their doors. These closures resulted in the loss of 130,000 family wage jobs. Even the most casual observer can’t fail to connect the economic dislocation and job loss in small, resource dependent communities with dramatic increases in the number of free and reduced lunches in schools, substance abuse, gambling addiction and overall criminal activity.

Ms. Reid quotes a portion of the 1937 O&C Act, but leaves out the more important portions, which specifically require all O&C timberlands to be managed for sustained yield timber production in an amount not less than 500 million board feet per year. The amenities such as recreation, clean water and contributing to the economic stability of local communities are the intended result of sustained yield management, which requires that the annual harvest on the land base will not exceed the annual growth rate. This ensures a supply of timber for perpetuity.

The productive capacity of the O&C land base is a matter of record. In 1937, before harvesting began in earnest, there was approximately 50 billion board feet of timber on the O&C lands. In 1987, after 50 years of harvesting, there was still slightly more than 50 billion board feet of timber growing on the lands. Today there is approximately 73 billion board feet of timber on the O&C lands — almost 50 percent more than the timber standing in 1937. Ms. Reid’s claim that the harvest rates of the past were unsustainable is nonsense.

The Association of O&C Counties worked for many years with the agencies of jurisdiction and our state and federal elected officials to reach a balanced solution for management of these federal lands. Higher levels of harvest can be achieved through sustained yield management on the O&C lands, generating revenues for the counties, while still providing for the recovery of endangered species, providing clean water and fish habitats, and a wide range of recreational opportunities, and increasing carbon storage.

Ms. Reid is certainly entitled to her opinions. However, her suggestion that the economic activity, jobs and dollars generated by the timber industry can be replaced by recreational activities simply has no basis in fact. Half of Douglas County is owned and managed by the BLM or Forest Service. These lands generate no tax revenue and under current management policies, provide only a small fraction of historic receipts generated from timber harvest. Management of our federal forest lands must return in a form that is balanced and sustainable if we are going to maintain a quality of life that will provide opportunities for our young people to stay here and encourage others to relocate to our area.

Tim Freeman is a Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman and president of O&C Counties.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

(7) comments

Forester353
Forester353

The idea that you are going to turn Roseburg into Bend is both naive and lacks the understanding of what it actually took for Bend to transform, into a beautiful but overpriced metroplotan area, with wage disparity far greater than Roseburg. Some things to consider: How about 320 days of sun a year? How popular is hiking in the rain and mud? How is the fishing when the rivers are high? How is public access to private land, since most of its been locked up due to irresponsible dumping of garbage, ATV use and fire? (Bend isn't surrounded by O&C land - designated for sustainable timber harvest). What is the median income for Bend? There are numerous reasons that there are places like Sun River, Bend, Park City, Jackson Hole. Ever been to Merlin, OR - The Gateway to the Rogue River? Recreation is a mainstay of this area, it offers the similar opportunities as Roseburg for recreation if not more and there are no more mills in Josephine County. Study up on how well recreation has replaced the timber industry?
While dreams can come in all forms, reality comes in much fewer. As this topic has drug out for the last 25 years, or longer, our local public forests have become overgrown and the rate of catastrophic fires have increased dramatically. You can drive up the North or South Umpqua and enjoy the scenic firescape that have resulted from, not climate change, but management change - or more specifically lack of management.

glacierkaren
glacierkaren

Some thoughts on Mr Freeman's longing for the timber industry of earlier times: if recreational activities don't contribute significantly to local economies, explain Bend. When the timber industry died out there in the 70's, their city council did their research, pivoted their direction, embraced change and the entire area has grown and profited. To some extent this is already happening with the proliferation of wineries in the area. Locals being priced out of the market is one downside of such an approach. I'd rather see Roseburg position itself as the people's place for natural resource-based recreation- fishing, camping, getting in touch with nature for those of us with less affluent pocketbooks. To some extent that is happening already, too. It's already a stopover spot for those traveling I-5. That could be expanded. So could the fact it's a regional shopping hub. What I see is that Roseburg has a lot of opportunities to move itself forward with the changing times. It's a lack of vision coupled with a misguided desire to return to the pàst holding the city back. Roseburg has to get rid of those in city government desperately clinging to the past in order to have a good future from the look of Freeman's thinking. How broke will the city have to get before those with the power to change things for the better step up?

tome
tome

I have been in the woods for around 60 years! I own a tree farm. I have yet to see one of these Spotted owls we are protecting! Are they that rare or a part of someones imagination!

Creeksend
Creeksend

You have no pocupines on your cornfield forest. Therefore the natural process for nestbuilding canmot be consumated in you lettuce patch.

PickNGrin
PickNGrin

Half a billion board feet was mentioned in the O&C Act of 1937, but that was temporary until such time that BLM identified annual productive capacity after meeting all its other mandates. BLM isn’t trying to limit timber harvests. Rather, in order to determine what the sustained yield is, they have to first determine the effect of meeting those other mandates. Critical habitat for northern spotted owl (as designated by US Fish & Wildlife Service) did limit the harvest land base. Certain land use allocations in BLM’s resource management plans limit timber harvest potential. BLM must comply with the Endangered Species Act. They must also comply with the Clean Water Act, Antiquities Act, National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Protection Act and many, many other laws. Public also asks for more recreation opportunities on public land, and BLM’s plans acknowledge the economic benefit of providing these. Logging on BLM lands might be part of the solution, but it’s not the whole solution.

There’s no question that timber harvests on O&C Lands create a revenue stream directly to the 18 O&C counties, with Douglas County receiving the largest share. However, one should not ignore the fact that recreation also has rather significant economic outputs and jobs associated with them that are simply good for community economic development and diversification. Grazing does too.

Within Oregon during their Fiscal Year 2014, BLM estimated its total economic output at $1.3 Billion and 10,154 jobs supported by BLM operations. BLM estimated public lands in the state received 8.1M recreation visits. Economic output is the total value of goods and services produced from operations on BLM-administered lands. Within the recreation sector in Oregon, BLM states that they generated $526M and 5,162 jobs. Within the timber sector, they claimed an economic output of $598M and 2,746 jobs supported by their operations that year. Economic output from grazing public lands in Oregon generated $152M in economic output and 2,230 jobs supported. The source of this data is from the FY15 U.S. Department of the Interior Agency Financial Report found on-line at: https://www.doi.gov/pfm/afr/2015/visualization/value

DCWolves97484
DCWolves97484

It is nice to see that the county commissioners are actively joining the conversations that have been happening on the News Review. As of late, it seems that the environmental groups, who have begun to increase their digital propaganda dissemination (out of a real concern that they are going to be giving up a lot of turf with this new presidential administration), have been trying distract the public from the fact, that there is a real solution to a lot of the problems that our county is facing.

It's like the old Hail Mary pass.

"Quick let's convince everybody to give up on timber receipts before the new administration can implement the necessary changes, and fix a lot of the problems that we (the environmentalist) have created. If we convince everybody to look the other way, they won't see that it was us who created these issues we have been having with budget deficits, major forest fires, and jobloss....If we act quickly we can still blame the commissioners and their pro-timber tax base."

I think this article does a good job at breaking down some of the insanity we have been seeing getting propogated from some of these groups. It also offers the reminder that the great 'O&C bait and switch' (which has been happening due to the federal government aligning itself with these environmental factions), has not been forgotten, and that the expectation is and will continue to be, that our county receive the timber receipts that it is entitled to under the spirit of the agreement.

Creeksend
Creeksend

I think you should quit writing Titty Tims guest editorials

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.