The Tillamook Rainforest is many things to many people and other creatures. It’s home to fish and wildlife, including wild salmon and steelhead that feed ecosystems and fuels local economies. It’s a place of refuge, sustenance and play for thousands of residents every week. It’s a source of clean water and air that millions of Oregonians rely on every day.
In a new video series, WSC and the Protect the Tillamook campaign are telling the stories of a handful of forest users and their place in the Tillamook. Put together, they speak to the importance of this landscape for all kinds of Oregonians.
Yassine Diboun is an ultramarathoner, professional coach and business owner. And he spends a lot of time training in the Tillamook. He uses the forest not only to get his miles in and develop his trainees: he goes there to feed to his soul.
“Some people go to the mosque or church. I go to the Tillamook.”
Outdoor recreation is such an important part of Oregon’s economy and our culture.
Statewide it’s a $15 billion industry. On the North Coast alone, fishing, hunting, birding, trail riding and other activities contribute $500 million to the local economy every year.
Access to outdoor recreation on public lands consistently ranks as one of the most important parts of life for Oregonians. They won’t trade it for anything.
That’s why it’s so important that we have balanced management that includes conservation and recreation on 500,000 acres of state lands that stretch across the Tillamook Rainforest. Learn more at forestlegacy.org.
Laura Tesler is a fisheries biologist and underwater photographer who travels the world to swim with fish. One of her favorite places to go is the wild salmon streams of the Tillamook Rainforest.
Here, six world-class wild salmon and steelhead rivers—the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry feed giant mother trees, black bears, stalking herons and anglers from around the country. Drawing up to 100 inches of rain annually, the forest, stream network and connected tidal wetlands drive a natural fish factory, with thousands of coho, cutthroat trout, winter steelhead, and famous runs of fall chinook that arrive in waves from September to March. The Tillamook River basin is also home to the southernmost viable runs of chum salmon.
With their streaked spawning markings, chum traditionally served as important food fish up and down the West Coast.
That’s why it’s so crucial that we have durable streamside protections in the Tillamook. So that fishing communities and wildlife that depend on salmon can continue to thrive.
Faith Briggs is a filmmaker and outdoor brands ambassador. She surfs, flyfishes and trail runs on North Coast public lands. And she has amplified the story of Oregon outdoor recreation communities and iconic Oregon brands and their connection to public lands.
Now, she’s looking at the public lands that she works and plays on in a new way. “I’ve never thought of myself as a climate activist,” she says. “But forests — including the Tillamook — can play a huge role in climate change.”
Oregon’s coastal forests, including the Tillamook Rainforest, are some of the best places on Earth to soak up greenhouse gases that are heating up the planet. They are a huge asset as we all work to combat climate change. And conserving these forests to tackle that global problem has huge benefits here at home — in the clean air and water they provide to millions of Oregonians everyday.
“Protecting the Tillamook is about creating the future we want,” says Briggs.
Chris Hager is a hunter and fisherman who spends a lot of time in the Tillamook Rainforest chasing steelhead and bowhunting for Roosevelt Elk. “Steelhead were kind of a gateway drug to getting out and hunting for other wildlife,” he says.
Like a lot of Oregonians who fish and hunt on the North Coast, Chris treasures these public lands.
“I’m one of the best versions of myself when I’m in the woods,” he says. “I can’t believe how lucky we all were to have these in our backyard”
And he’s liking what he sees in the state’s new conservation plan for the 500,000 acres of state land that comprise the Tillamook Rainforest. The plan sets aside durable conservation areas for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, for the next 70 years. It will ensure long-term access for sportsmen and women. And it will deliver a reliable supply of logs to North Coast mills in the region.
“When you look at all the elements of the plan—for wildlife, for access, for the timber industry—it’s really a win-win for all sides,” says Chris.