The North Coast Land Conservancy hopes to buy 95 acres near Tillamook Head that will close an important gap between its properties and state land.
The organization recently secured more than $600,000 in state funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the bulk of which will go toward the purchase of privately-owned forestland on the north face of Tillamook Head.
The land conservancy will need an additional $200,000 to $300,000 to acquire the property, according to Jon Wickersham, associate director.
It is a special property, he said, with salmon-bearing streams and upland forest habitat that has been logged historically but is in good shape.
The acquisition of the property is the next step in a 15-year effort by the land conservancy to preserve lands on this particular coastal headland. The organization owns Boneyard Ridge Reserve to the south and Circle Creek Habitat Reserve to the east. The Elmer Feldenheimer State Natural Area and its hiking trails are to the west.
“What’s really important about that property is the connectivity between Circle Creek and the state park land,” said Melissa Reich, stewardship director for the land conservancy.
The property also features unique pockets of wetland and mosses more often associated with bogs and fens.
Of the $600,000 the land conservancy is receiving from the state, $108,829 will go toward restoring native forest habitat in the nearby Boneyard Ridge Reserve. The land conservancy plans to begin thinning a 70-acre portion of the property in the fall and introduce more diversity, both in terms of the age and species of trees. The site had been clearcut in the past and densely replanted with hemlock and spruce.
“We’ve never done forest restoration on any scale and so we’re pretty excited to dip our toes into this type of work,” Reich said.
The land conservancy plans to experiment with constructing habitat piles for songbirds, small mammals and salamanders and will also leave behind other woody debris.