Wyden, Merkley Praise Eastern Oregon Forest Stewardship

Wyden, Merkley Praise Eastern Oregon Forest Stewardship

Oregon senators say Malheur National Forest project success should be a model for others

Washington, D.C. – Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today encouraged federal officials to build upon the proven job and economic gains from the forest stewardship contract in the Malheur National Forest to create similar successes elsewhere in rural Oregon and nationwide.

A long-term stewardship contract lets the government design projects that focus less on short-term economic gains and allows proceeds from timber sold to be reinvested into a healthier landscape.

In a letter today to U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, the Oregon senators wrote about the promising results from the 10-year stewardship contract that began in 2012 on the Malheur National Forest.

Wyden and Merkley cited substantially increased harvest levels over the past six years with no litigation on vegetation projects.

“The 10-year stewardship contract in Grant County is an excellent example of what the long-term commitment means—it has driven job creation, helped the local real estate market and stabilized school enrollment,” the senators wrote.  “It has supported new biomass markets and driven millions of dollars in private investments into new facilities, making use of the smallest trees coming off the forest.” 

Wyden and Merkley encouraged the Forest Service to use the Malheur National Forest success story of jobs and economic activity midway through its 10-year period as a way to take full advantage of the new 20-year stewardship authority just passed by Congress.

The entire letter is here.

A web version of this release is here.