The recent harvest by the Oregon State University College of Forestry of trees that were 260 to 420 years old is a tragic loss for McDonald Forest and for the community. These beautiful and historic trees were important components of a diverse and healthy ecosystem.
The Executive Committee of Marys Peak Group, Sierra Club, appreciates that interim dean Anthony Davis admitted that the College of Forestry made a mistake. It is a major oversight that the college did not have guidelines to protect and study older trees found outside of their designated reserves of mature trees. Dr. Davis has halted harvest of trees older than 160 years and has directed the college’s research forests team to immediately develop strategies to retain individual older trees.
The Marys Peak Group urges the College of Forestry to implement a new plan with the purpose of protecting old growth trees. We also recommend that the plan be written so that it will remain in force following the appointment of the next dean and that it cannot be suspended during an economic downturn as happened when the 2005 Forest Plan was suspended in 2009.
The Marys Peak Group has worked closely with the College of Forestry for many decades. We appreciate this relationship and want to continue working together to protect the health of old growth trees and the forest in general.
We look forward to hearing more about the new plan as it is developed.
Corvallis (Aug. 2)
The writer is the chair of the executive committee of the Marys Peak Group, Sierra Club.