The Oregon Department of Forestry has delayed for now a plan to clearcut a 77-acre forest next to Hug Point and Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site. Recently, citizens filled the Clatsop County commissioners' chambers to discuss with ODF why the forest should be preserved.
ODF did not dispute a clearcut could jeopardize the quality and supply of drinking water. Just like clearcutting contributed to contamination of drinking water in Rockaway Beach. That is because clearcutting too close to drinking water sources often results in clearcut debris eroding into streams, contaminating drinking water and endangering wildlife.
ODF also did not dispute that tourism is important to our North Coast economy. People visit the North Coast for its beauty, recreation and wildlife. Yet this clearcut will be visible from these recreation areas and U.S. Highway 101, our scenic highway. A clearcut will contribute to the extinction of the marbled murrelet seabird and destroy wildlife habitat.
ODF pointed out local governments benefit financially from clearcuts. How does this benefit compare to the long-term costs of contaminated or inadequate drinking water, lost property values and lost tourism dollars?
One point was clear: ODF is funded from timber sales. ODF might not be as inclined to support clearcutting our forests, especially those near drinking water sources and recreation areas, if it was funded instead by the general treasury.
Urge ODF to preserve our Norriston Heights forest. Urge your legislators to overhaul forestry practices to protect drinking water and wildlife.