Oregon was once the largest timber producer in the world, and much of this timber came from Oregon’s so-called O&C Lands — 2.5 million acres set aside for the now defunct Oregon and California Railroad. Now they are at risk.
Most Oregonians have seen them because they are scattered throughout western Oregon. These forests are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and provide beloved hiking trails, drinking water, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage.
These lands are important for many reasons, and your donation will help Pacific Rivers protect the rivers and streams in our Backyard Forests.
Why O&C Lands are important:
- They are among the most productive softwood forests and storehouses of carbon in the world.
- The majority of western Oregon’s best remaining rivers – Rogue, Umpqua, Illinois, Coquille, Siuslaw, Alsea, Nestucca, Trask, Sandy, Clackamas, Molalla, McKenzie, and others – flow through O&C Lands.
- 1.8 million Oregonians get their drinking water from rivers that flow through O&C Lands.
- They occur in every county in western Oregon except one, including the Portland Metro Area.
Why O&C Lands are hard to protect:
- Most of the O&C Lands are 640-acre or smaller parcels of federal land interspersed with privately owned lands. Their scattered nature makes these lands’ rivers and streams difficult to protect because management varies dramatically throughout.
- The O&C Act allows for a large percentage of timber harvest revenues to go to counties to support essential services like schools and law enforcement. This creates pressure to log them.
- There have been numerous efforts to increase logging on O&C Lands, usually near rivers and streams because there are no other places left to cut that aren’t protected by law for endangered species or wilderness.
See our short film from 2013, Forests to Faucets: Clean Water or Clearcuts: