In July, a team of state and local forestry professionals led an all-day field tour in Douglas County for state legislators and other public leaders. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute was the lead sponsor and organizer of the tour. OSAF was a co-sponsor and, throughout the day, SAF members played a prominent role in presenting current information and science-based concepts for managing both public and private forest lands in the region. Notably, the tour and discussion topics focused on timely and often controversial forestry issues, including clearcutting, pesticide use, and Variable Retention Regeneration Harvest on BLM O&C lands in Oregon. OSAF leaders helped address the controversial topics by highlighting and discussing key points from several OSAF position statements, including “Commercial Timber Harvest on Public Lands in Oregon,” “Clearcutting,” and “Using Pesticides on Forest Lands” (available at http://www.forestry.org/oregon/policy/position/).
Over 20 public leaders from western Oregon attended the tour, including eight state legislators, three legislative and congressional staffers, four state house candidates, and five county commissioners. Importantly, over half of the legislators on the tour were from the greater Portland and north Willamette Valley area, where a large voting bloc of urban and suburban constituents resides. One of these legislators, Brad Witt, currently chairs the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and several others stressed the value of the tour and the need for more legislators to attend such forestry learning events. The latter points were among the tour highlights featured in newspaper and TV stories by reporters who also attended the tour. Contact: Paul Adams, OSAF Policy chair, firstname.lastname@example.org