We are up to the wire on saving the Homesteader forest. But I am told it is not over until the auction. I am asking people to contact Doug Decker, state forester, by phone, 503-945-7200, and if they can to follow up with a letter. So far we have received no acknowledgement from ODF that the old growth forest ecosystem that exists is of any value. I received no response from Liz Dent to my last letter. But she is just a spokesperson. Right now, they are putting up the walls. Below is a letter I sent to Mr. Decker.
Doug Decker, State Forester:
2600 State Street
December 16, 2015
I live in the Nehalem River Valley, near Nehalem. Right now we are surrounded by water, mud slides, silt and mud—and we are a little crabby. Our creeks are running brown with silt. Our river is filling with silt. Approximately 2,000 of us who live in this valley have in one way or another contacted ODF with our concern about an older growth, complex forest along the Nehalem, called the Homesteader Tract (Buster Basin, Clatsop County).
So far, we have heard nothing from ODF that acknowledges our concern or even acknowledges the existence of the rare forest that exists at this site. When I wrote to the Clatsop County foresters, I received a letter from Ms. Liz Dent telling me that this area was designated as “young class forest.” In other words, you plan to cut it down and plant new trees. Perhaps most frustrating, the forest that exists now– over 100 years old, with a plethora of plant and animal species, and prime bird habitat—has been made invisible. Your language and actions make it seem there is nothing there of value. I have posted my correspondence with ODF on Upper Left Edge, a local newspaper.
There are trees in this tract over 100 years old, exceeding three feet in diameter. It is prime spotted owl terrain. In fact, a birder has located spotted owl in this tract. This is why we are asking you to treat this forest with care. We do not believe the biological surveys that were done are current and accurate. I refer you to the detailed descriptions on the North Coast Forest Coalition website.
Our preference, of course, is that you leave this forest alone– as a seed bed and as a buffer for the force of the waters that move across the valley. At the very least, please consider thinning or selective cut and leaving the trees over 36” for regeneration of the area. I am told that the big trees will probably be auctioned to Hampton who outbids Oregon loggers and has an old growth mill in Washington. For us, this is a further insult.
These older forests are becoming very rare. They are not replaceable. They are the natural heritage we would like to leave our children’s children. I fear that we are rapidly losing the belief that Oregon Department of Forestry shares this value.
42130 Anderson Rd.
Nehalem, Or. 97131