This fall, the State Land Board decided to dispose of trustlands that make up 90% of the Elliot State Forest. If sold to a corporate firm and liquidated, it would have horrific environmental consequences. Cascadia Wildlands and other environmental groups are seeking to formulate a proposal where the forest could be sold to a public entity or trust that places a high priority on the environment, such as its value for carbon sequestration.
The majestic old-growth rainforests in the Elliott store more carbon per acre than any other ecosystem in the world, thereby mitigating climate change at no cost to us. The old-growth forests of the Elliott act as the first "filter," providing downstream residents with clean drinking water and all of us with clean air.
The 93,000-acre Elliot State Forest is located in the Oregon Coast Range, where marbled murrelet and northern spotted owls make their homes. Both of these animals are listed on the Endangered Species Act and habitat conservation is crucial since their numbers are plummeting region-wide. According to the state's biologists, the streams that originate in the Elliott provide over 20% of the Oregon Coast coho salmon productivity in the state. The Elliott is also home to elk and countless other imperiled plants and animals.
"There is a real threat that the iconic Elliott State Forest could be sold off to Wall Street-type bankers, which means liquidating the forest to maximize revenues. This underscores the need for Oregonians and leaders in Salem to stand up together to keep this forest in public ownership for its salmon and wildlife habitat, its restoration jobs, its incomparable carbon storage capacity and for its outstanding recreations opportunities." – Josh Laughlin, Executive Director, Cascadia Wildlands
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Photos by Trip Jennings, James Johnston, and Cascadia Wildlands.