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An “unusually large” commercial salal operation has been uncovered in the Siuslaw National Forest.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced the seizure late Monday night. Lincoln County worked with the United States Forest Service and the Oregon State Police on the operation.

Salal is a dark, leafy, evergreen plant indigenous to the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest. It is commonly used in floral arrangements and also has medicinal properties.

The plant is considered a “special forest product” under state law, and the cutting and transportation of products such as salal are regulated. The unlawful cutting and transport of a special forest product is a Class B midemeanor. In some cases, in which high-value quantities are involved, it can rise to felony Theft 1.

Officials estimate that the salal taken in the Lincoln County operation had a wholesale value of $4,000.

No information was available regarding any arrests in the case or where the salal was seized.

Forest lands in Lincoln County, both public and private are routinely patrolled by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the fish and wildlife division of the Oregon State Police and federal law enforcement officers with the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Funding for the patrols comes from the forest enhancement program, which is a collaboration of 17 community partners, both public and private.

The Siuslaw National Forest encompasses more than 630,000 acres along the central Oregon Coast between Coos Bay and Tillamook, In some places it extends beyond the crest of the Coast Range, almost reaching the Willamette Valley. The forest lies primarily in Lane County (39 percent of the forest) and Lincoln County (27 percent of the forest); the rest in descending order of land area are Tillamook, Douglas, Yamhill, Benton, Coos, and Polk counties.

The headquarters for the forest is in Corvallis.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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