Gov. John Kitzhaber visited the Tillamook State Forest last Monday for an up-close view of ongoing conservation work in state-owned forests.

After hiking to a streamside restoration project adjacent to the Gales Creek Campground, the governor spoke with Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) staff and community partners about the role of conservation and habitat enhancement in forest COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (center) was joined by Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck (right) and State Forester Doug Decker for a visit to the Tillamook State Forest last week.

“Conservation areas are a critical component of healthy, well-managed public forests,” said Kitzhaber. “They support our great coastal salmon runs and produce diverse wildlife and plant habitat. They provide clean water, carbon storage and recreation values that are hard to replace elsewhere.”

The tour focused on restoration efforts to improve habitat for steelhead and other species in Gales Creek.

Statewide, ODF manages more than 140,000 acres of designated high-value conservation areas in order to conserve habitat and protect and enhance streams, rivers, wildlife and unique, threatened or endangered plants.

“We are using the best available science and strong community partnerships to grow healthy forests and guarantee their benefits reach our children and beyond,” said Doug Decker, state forester and head of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The tour included representatives from the Gales Creek Watershed Council, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, county commissioners and members of the Alternative Forest Management Plan Stakeholder Group.

In April, the Board of Forestry finished designating high value conservation areas and directed ODF to use the new designations to increase the visibility of conservation work in state-owned forests. ODF is conducting public outreach and developing tools to help the public learn more about exploring these areas.

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