As I start my term as the Linn County Chapter president, we say thank you to Tim Otis, who remains on the board as past president. We also say farewell and a big thank you to our Bark Editor Rich Clark for all the time and talent he has dedicated toward keeping our chapter members informed. Rich will be finishing up with the April issue. Again, thanks to Tim and Rich.
Each legislative session is an important time for the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) and all family forestland owners. This year is no exception. There continue to be bills introduced that negatively affect landowners’ ability to manage their forests, as well as bills that support the sustainable management of forests. Bills, if amended, can support the sustainable management of our forests.
Just a side note: Not only does how we manage of our forests change over time as we continue to learn more about the interrelations of all that live in and under our trees, but the terms used to describe our actions change. Back in the 1970s when I graduated from OSU College of Forestry I heard that we were "actively managing" our forests. In the 1990s as forest certification grew in importance, we were now "sustainably managing" our forests. I still like to use that term. But today I’m hearing more and more that "forest resiliency" describes what we are doing.
Back to the legislature: There are a few bills introduced that address the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI). House Bill 3451 sponsored by Rep. Paul Holvey (D) will eliminate OFRI. House Bill 3019 sponsored by Rep. Zach Hudson (D) and five others as introduced will greatly reduce OFRI’s ability to carry out its statutory mandate. Senate Bill 530 sponsored by Sen. Michael Dembrow (D) and 11 others aims to create incentives for forest, ag, and range landowners to capture and store more carbon as part of the active management of their lands. This bill can benefit landowners as well as all Oregonians if some changes are made.
These are just a few examples of OSWA’s involvement with this year’s legislature. Roger Beyer, OSWA’s lobbyist, is a past legislator and OSWA member. He is tracking and assisting family forest landowners on over 140 bills this session. I think that OSWA’s legislative effort is the number one benefit of all the benefits members receive.
Any OSWA member can stay abreast of what’s happening at the legislature by joining its Government Action Team (GAT) video discussions held every other Wednesday from 7 to 8 a.m. Contact the OSWA office to get added to GAT.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is largely behind us, the Linn County Chapter is putting together a great list of tours and workshops for 2023. To learn more about past and future Chapter events, check the Events section of this website. This year’s tour events will be added here as the details are firmed up.