CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon’s State Land Board voted Tuesday to continue the process of evaluating how to transform the Elliott State Forest into a research forest managed by Oregon State University and its College of Forestry.
“We are appreciative of the support Gov. Kate Brown and the rest of the State Land Board have expressed for the College of Forestry’s research vision for the Elliott State Forest,” said Tom DeLuca, the Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry. “The Elliott provides a unique opportunity to conduct research that can address the challenges created by our growing climate and sustainability crises and inform decisions that will help us sustain ecosystems and economies.”
The 82,000-acre Elliott State Forest is in Oregon’s coastal range near Reedsport and at present is managed by the state to benefit the Oregon Common School Fund.
Two years ago, the Land Board, which consists of the governor, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Treasurer Tobias Read, asked OSU and the Department of State Lands to examine the potential for the Elliott to be managed by Oregon State as a research forest.
Since then, Oregon State has worked with the Department of State Lands and a range of stakeholder groups and community members to develop a proposed vision for turning the forest into a world-class research location while also considering important public values such as recreation, conservation and the timber economy.
“We look forward to furthering our work with the State Land Board, the Department of State Lands, Oregonians and stakeholders on the next steps to create a research forest plan that will provide benefits to all Oregonians,” DeLuca said. “From a scientific standpoint, the Elliott would provide OSU the ability to conduct large, landscape-level experiments that can endure time and be practical, relevant and collaborative.”
Oregon State University on Tuesday provided a second annual update to the Land Board on the research forest plans and process. Over the past two years, efforts have included the work of an OSU-led exploratory committee; extensive input from an advisory committee of stakeholders convened by the Department of State Lands; multiple public forums; and conversations with tribal governments, local governments, stakeholder groups and other interested Oregonians.
The university and the state lands department will continue to engage with constituents to refine and develop details of the research forest concept. The planning also will consider governance and financial issues, including that adequate resources will be available to the university to cover working capital, research start-up costs and annual operating costs, that DeLuca said must be resolved before OSU President F. King Alexander and the university’s Board of Trustees would approve of Oregon State University assuming management of the Elliott.
About Oregon State University: As one of only two land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 33,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.