With over 150,000 acres of state forest under their management in east Clatsop County, one wonders why the local Department of Forestry is choosing to clearcut the only parcel they manage on the coast. At 77 acres, Norriston Heights lies in one of our most beautiful coastal recreation areas.

The devastation will be visible from U.S. Highway 101, the Hug Point State Park and nearby public beaches. Oregon’s largest cedar tree and endangered marble murrelet habitat are nearby.

Many of the trees are older than 65 years, making them our best sequesters of carbon, the front line of defense against global warming. This clearcut also threatens the water supply of two small coastal communities, Arcadia Sands and Picture Window.

While the Department of Forestry’s effort to garner public comment on the plan was less than halfhearted, they did schedule a public tour on July 2, but abruptly canceled it the day before, after getting word that many concerned citizens would be there.

This sort of end run around the public is typical of the local Department of Forestry. Several years ago, over 1,500 locals protested the cutting of trees over 100 years old on the Homesteader parcel, prompting the forestry to expedite the clearcut.

Clearly major reform of the Oregon Department of Forestry policy is long overdue. Step one has to be severing the ODF's budget from reliance on clearcutting the public’s forest, especially in a prime recreational zone.

Give Norriston Heights permanent protection.

ROGER DORBAND

Astoria

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