Forest Management

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Fire Suppression Is No Longer an Option
We’re in a new era of forest management. Our forests and rangelands are adapted to wildfire. Historically, summer lightning-ignited wildfires that burned every acre of the forest on a cycle of seven to 25 years. This regularly “cleaned up” debris and fuels, thinned out trees, made big trees fire-resistant and promoted a diverse landscape.
But for close to 150 years, man has done everything possible to put these fires out. Many timber harvests took just the big trees and replanting was done with trees of all the same type. In recent times, lawsuits have held up needed forest treatments.

Now we’re facing the consequences of these past actions, including:

  • A forest made up of younger, smaller and less fire-resistant trees.
  • A growing risk of high-intensity fires that threaten communities and leave behind lasting ecosystem damage.
  • Lack of habitat for fire-dependent animal species that help keep the forest healthy.
  • Overly dense stands of trees that are weakened due to competition for water and light, and are susceptible to insect infestation and disease.
  • Fewer large trees that provide key habitat.
  • Lack of shade near streams that keeps water cool enough for fish.

What’s a Healthy Forest?

A healthy forest is resilient. It’s made up of trees of varying ages and sizes, with adequate space and light, so they’re resistant to disease and drought, and able to withstand normal, periodic fires.
A healthy forest has low fuel loads (too much dead and dry timber and understory growth). It provides good wildlife habitat for diverse species and clean, shaded streams for healthy fish.
A healthy forest supports rural ways of life, producing predictable, sustainable amounts of timber and other wood products for local employment. It serves as a playground for residents and visitors—hiking, hunting, camping, horses, snow sports, fishing, limited motorized uses, cycling and more.

How We Get There

OFRC is working toward this vision of a healthier forest. We’re on the leading edge of modern forestry practices, which are centered on giving the community a say, building trust, using proven science, collaboration and supporting active management.

We’re dedicated to helping develop living-wage and entry-level jobs in the woods in biomass (firewood, chips, pellets and more), commercial harvesting, tree planting, mowing, controlled burning and recreational tourism.

We’re equally committed to ecosystem restoration that assures clean, abundant water and helps wildlife and fish thrive for the long haul.

We all benefit from a healthy, resilient, fire-adapted forest. There’s a lot to lose if we don’t take action.

We welcome you to be part of the solution and support our work.
Our meetings and events are open to all.