In February, the Oregon Department of Forestry announced its draft habitat conservation plan for state forests would result in a roughly 35% reduction in harvests beginning next year — a reduction that would likely last for the next 70 years. On March 7, I traveled to Corvallis to tell the Board of Forestry just how bad this habitat conservation plan would be for me, my family and our business.
Kottre Tree Farms consists of my father, uncle, me, my brother, a cousin and 20 others who move wood from the forest to local sawmills. Our annual payroll exceeds $1.4 million and we provide paid sick leave, vacation and full health benefits.
Most of our employees support kids in local schools. We also subcontract with around 15 other small businesses on the North Coast. Last year these businesses received $2 million from Kottre Tree Farms alone — work we were able to provide because of state forest timber harvests.
We work almost exclusively on state land. The current habitat conservation plan will likely destroy our family business and leave people unemployed.
The government's goal isn't to destroy livelihoods, increase wildfire frequency or severity, or contribute to raising housing costs. There's a lot of middle ground between protecting endangered species and maintaining our timber economy. The Board of Forestry just needs the will to find it.
That's why I stood before the Board of Forestry and asked them to develop a new habitat conservation plan that has more equity for rural communities and businesses.