Providing a durable legacy for Oregonians
The Tillamook Rainforest includes 518,000 acres of state land in Clatsop and Tillamook counties, between greater Portland and the Pacific Ocean. Six rivers here in the Nehalem and Tillamook Bay systems—the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry—host extraordinary runs of wild fall Chinook and winter steelhead, as well as spring Chinook, coho, chum, and rainbow and sea-run cutthroat trout.
These forests and their rivers provide clean drinking water for 500,000 Oregonians and offer flood protection, carbon sequestration, and climate regulation. They are also popular recreation sites for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, biking, horseback riding, mushroom gathering, and ATV trails.
Unfortunately, a small but vocal alliance of timber interests, county commissioners and state officials consistently push to clearcut nearly all of the North Coast state forests. To balance conservation and logging, Wild Salmon Center and our local partners have spearheaded efforts to designate conservation areas in the Tillamook.
Thanks to leadership from Governor Brown, a steady shift in politics in Salem, visionary members of the Oregon Board of Forestry, and relentless public pressure – led by WSC’s Bob Van Dyk – the outlook has changed dramatically in 2020.
The state Board of Forestry voted unanimously to move ahead a plan to protect roughly half of the Tillamook — 250,000 acres — in stream and forest reserves for 70 years.
If this habitat conservation plan is approved, it will be a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure the region’s rivers become one the most important long-term strongholds for wild salmon and steelhead remaining along the Pacific Rim.
In decades to come, as our region wrestles with the impacts of population growth, climate change, commercial logging, pollution, and urban development, the Tillamook conservation areas created under this plan will serve as oases for salmon and people for generations to come.