Elliott Research Forest: After senior state officials decided on Tuesday to formalize the Elliott State Forest’s redesignation as a site for scientific discovery, Oregon now boasts what it calls North America’s largest study forest.
North America’s Biggest Forest Has Been Recognized As Oregon New Elliott Research Forest
With the establishment of the 80,000-acre Elliott State Research Forest, a dispute over how to administer a state forest in southwest Oregon that was failing to bring in money for public education has finally come to a close.
The Common School Fund, which depends on money from the sale of wood in state forests, among other resources, to help pay for public education in Oregon, was disassociated from the Elliott when the board authorized the transformation of the forest from a regular state forest to a research site.
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Through a partnership with Oregon State University, the Elliott forest will continue to be owned by the public.
Salmon, the northern spotted owl, and marbled murrelets are among the species of animals whose populations are in decline that have habitat thanks to the Elliott. Political leaders in Oregon have been battling for decades to find a solution that would allow the forest to adhere to regulations for wildlife conservation while also fulfilling a legislative requirement that the forest fund public schools.
As a publicly owned, active research forest, the Elliott will continue to support local businesses, recreation, education, and conservation, according to state authorities.
Treasurer Tobias Read stated in a statement that “The Elliott will give a better strategy for working forest management, strengthen environmental safeguards, and, importantly, retain the forest in public hands.” We should be pleased that this priceless natural resource will benefit both the present and future generations of Oregonians.
Gov. Kate Brown and Secretary of State Shemia Fagan joined Read in endorsing the final strategy.
Since the year 1859, when Oregon became a state, natural resources have been used to fund education there. The Common School Fund has historically received funds from the logging of state forests. While state income taxes and municipal property taxes are now the main sources of funding for education, there is still a big need to make up for the money lost from Elliott’s logging operations.
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The Elliott was no longer producing enough money to support the costs of managing it, and the state considered selling most of it before the idea to transform it into a research forest.
The Legislature’s ratification of a bill transferring $221 million into the Common School Fund to replace money that logging on the Elliott could have otherwise earned made Tuesday’s vote possible.
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