Oregon forest policy is based on a sustained conversation with OregoniansIt is not far-fetched to say that Clatsop and Tillamook counties are God's tree farm. The combination of soils and climate have created the temperate rain forest, which is the best culture medium for conifers. At the same time, our region is a laboratory for the environmental conflicts of our era. Dominant land owners such as Weyerhaeuser and the state of Oregon as well as smaller owners are made conscious of their role in the life cycle of the salmon.

In this ecosystem or any ecosystem, the best natural resources policy is long-term and sustained. Choosing a new course of action every few years is senseless and detrimental. We see this happening at the national level, where the Bush administration is reversing longterm consensus on natural resources and environmental policy that goes back as far as the Nixon administration.

Closer to home, we are seeing a legislative attempt to quarterback forest management in a budget note that calls upon the state Department of Forestry to increase the cut from the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests. That occurred after legislation to increase the harvest off those lands had died.

Reflecting on this series of events, The Oregonian commented that, "The Tillamook and Clatsop forests should not be managed by ballot initiative." Environmentalists are pursuing an initiative that would lock down parts of the two state forests.

That initiative is wrong-headed in the same way that legislative meddling in forest policy is wrong-headed.

The state Board of Forestry has spent years gathering the comments and perspectives of Oregonians on these two forests. The Department of Forestry's policy is based, in no small part, on a sustained conversation with Oregonians.

There is no good reason to meddle with the policy which the Department of Forestry has set.

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