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Public Land Sale Treaten Biological Hotspots

The 640 acre Woodcock Creek and 640 acre Onion Mountian parcels in southwest Oregon's Siskiyou mountains are part of the proposal by the State of Oregon to sell off 4,920 acres of Oregon Common School Fund lands in Josephine and Jackson County . Governor Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown, and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will decide at a State Land Board Meeting in the near future (weeks or months) on whether to move forward on auctioning off these State owned public lands.
Woodcock Bog with rare plants bordering the Woodcock Creek Parcel
Woodcock Bog with rare plants bordering the Woodcock Creek Parcel
Oregon's Proposed Public Land Sale Threatens Siskiyou Biological Hotspots & Recreational Trails

The Oregon Biodiversity Information Center based at Portland State University (  http://www.orbic.pdx.edu ) has officially recognized the 640 acre Woodcock Creek parcel and the 640 acre Onion Mountain parcel in the Siskiyou Mountains as two of Oregon's most important biological heritage resource sites.

Both of these 640 acre parcels as well as 3640 additional acres in southwest Oregon are threatened by a proposal from the Oregon Department of State Lands to auction them to the highest bidder sometime in 2011.

The Woodcock creek state land parcel is located in Josephine County inside the Illinois River drainage as well as Oregon's largest unprotected inventoried roadless area, the South Kalmiopsis. (Register Date: March, 1990: APPENDIX 2. OREGON STATE REGISTER OF NATURAL HERITAGE RESOURCES.)

Many rare and endemic serpentine plants, Port Orford Cedar, as well as unusual geology can be found throughout this biological gem. The Woodcock bog (pictured), located directly adjacent to the State Land proposed for sale, is protected by the Medford BLM as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Research Natural Area.

The Onion Mountain parcel, about one mile Northeast of the Onion Mountain Lookout and 5 miles south of the Rogue River, is surrounded by Siskiyou National Forest Land. Its complex geology is marked by hundreds of unusual rock outcrops with subalpine elevation vegetation types. It also contains a high diversity of rare and Siskiyou endemic plant species.

Recreational and historic trails located inside the Woodcock Creek and Onion Mountain parcels are also threatened. These trails if acquired by private interests would likely be lost and destroyed if these proposed sales proceed.

The Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer hold the final authority as the State Land Board to approve of these public land sales.

Please contact Governor Kitzhaber, the Secretary of State Kate Brown and send copies of your letters or emails to the Director of the Department of State Lands and urge them to cancel all of the proposed 4920 acre Common School Fund land sales in Josephine and Jackson County or transfer them back to Federal ownership.


Governor Kitzhaber
RE: School Fund Land Sale
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
Governor's Citizens' Representative Message Line (503) 378-4582
Fax: (503) 378-6827
Link to Email:  http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml


Kate Brown
RE: School Fund Land Sale
Oregon Secretary of State
136 State Capitol
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1523
Fax: (503) 986-1616
Email:  oregon.sos@state.or.us

Ted Wheeler, Oregon State Treasurer
RE: School Fund Land Sale
159 State Capitol
900 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 378-4329
Email:  oregon.treasurer@state.or.us

Louise Solliday
Director
Department of State Lands
775 Summer St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-1279
 louise.c.solliday@dsl.state.or.us

Background

Common School Fund Asset Management Plan (2006-2016) - the second plan of its nature, designed in DSL's words, to 'dispose of' 12,000 acres of undesirable forest lands in western Oregon and 12,000 acres of rangeland in eastern Oregon. The reasoning stated is that these lands are too costly to manage and that acquiring other assets (not necessarily monetary) that might be more valuable in the future (they admit this depends on the economy).

(For Legal Locations of lands proposed for sale go to:  http://www.oregon.gov/DSL/LW/land_sales.shtml )

CSF lands - Common School Fund lands, 100% of the proceeds from the logging and/or sale allegedly goes back into the fund. State Land Board (SLB) has ultimate authority. ODF manages on the ground, and DSL pays ODF for this service. The State has slowly sold off or transfered ownership of over 2 million acres CSF lands since first acquiring them in 1859, now more rapidly.

GLOSSARY

SLB - State Land Board; includes Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer; works with DSL and BOF; has ultimate authority over Common School Fund land (mostly forest).

DSL - Department of State Lands; Advises the SLB on the condition of such lands and whether state land should be sold, exchanged or transferred to other entities.

BOF - Oregon Board of Forestry makes management decisions related to State and private forestland; members appointed by Governor, approved by State legislature; usually contains several timber company owners or relatives of timber owners. They recommend and approve parcels to be "decertified" . Jennifer Philippi of Rough & Ready Lumber currently sits on the BOF.

ODF - Oregon Department of Forestry; manages forested State land and performs a security role for private timber companies.

For other ways to help contact
Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates
 tsuga@efn.org