Protecting Oregon's O&C Lands: A Balanced Vision for Western Oregon's Legacy Lands and Waters
Nestled throughout western Oregon are 2.8 million acres of federal lands – commonly referred to as O&C lands – rich with biodiversity and fraught with management challenges.
These lands are some of the most unique landscapes in the world, harboring many distinct plant communities—temperate rain forests, ancient conifer forests, oak forests and savannas—including more than 300 plant species found nowhere else on Earth.
The O&C lands provide a home to a variety of endangered species, including wild salmon, steelhead, spotted owls and marbled murrelets. In addition, these complex landscapes provide important habitat for elk, blacktail deer and black bear ensuring continued good hunting for the many Oregonians who traditionally gather their food this way.
At the same time, the ancient trees that once graced these lands were the economic backbone of many rural communities, and as such, for decades these lands have been subject to simple tradeoffs between species protection and timber production. However, with science-based forest management, forest resiliency can be improved while protecting and often improving wildlife habitat as well.
The O&C rivers provide clean drinking water for more than 1.8 million people in dozens of communities, small and large, across western Oregon. These lands also provide a key resource for fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, hunting, and other recreation. On a statewide basis, these industries contribute more than $12.8 billion annually to the economy and support more than 141,000 jobs.
Though recognized for their ecological and economic value, many of these public lands lack permanent protection. Federal laws can be used to protect some of these areas, but for others, new laws and administrative action will be necessary to ensure their protection for future generations. The Coalition for Our O&C Lands advocates adherence to our current environmental laws while also providing for responsible timber production, forest restoration projects and the protection for different types of lands and waters within the O&C landscapes.
It’s easy to say we support a balanced plan for managing the O&C lands, but defining that balance is the important and hard work that must happen now. read more
Oregon’s rural communities are struggling. We need a plan that restores economic health and resilience to these communities. read more
A balanced approach on O&C lands, while including protections of special places, clean drinking water and wildlife habitats, must also include responsible timber harvest. read more
Oregon is blessed with clean, cool waters, and the O&C lands are teeming with spectacular rivers that flow through city and town. read more