Protecting the Recreation Economy for Oregon's O&C Communities

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I grew up fishing – with my grandfather and my dad – and then brought this tradition home to my children and my grandchildren.  Fishing and clean rivers and streams are part of who we are; they are a part of our Northwest way of life.  

Now, I’m fortunate enough to work for an industry that both brings thousands jobs and billions of dollars to our local economies while at the same time holding fast to the values of healthy rivers, wild fish and well-managed forests.  We understand that these pieces are all intricately connected.  Our forests clean, filter, protect and feed our streams and wildlife, and these in turn create jobs and brings billions into our economy. 

It’s a balance.

Just like the balance that we must find on the O&C lands.  Timber is certainly a part of the solution.  Many of our rural communities depend on our forests for their survival.  And we can produce timber in a sustained manner while at the same time protecting the treasured rivers, salmon and wildlife that make Oregon, Oregon.  

This debate has been polarized for far too long.  We are smarter and more creative than that.  Now is the time to put aside the debate and find a solution – a fair balance between timber production and permanent protections.  Sustainably harvesting to protect water temperatures, to protect fish habitat, will help our timber counties and keep the $12 billion that outdoor recreation brings to Oregon’s economy. The key is finding a balanced approach to these issues. 

We owe it to our children and our children’s children to resolve this issue.  To find this balance.  Now is the time.

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