Gilchrist State Forest
The Gilchrist State Forest, named for the timber family that owned the property for most of the 20th century, was dedicated in June 2010. The new state forest owes its creation to creative funding partnerships between the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Lottery and The Conservation Fund. The state purchased the initial 43,000 acres of former Gilchrist Timber Company land in 2009 with $15 million in Lottery-backed bonds.
At the same time, The Conservation Fund purchased multiple parcels totalling 25,000 acres adjacent to the new forest, retaining them until funds became available for a future purchase by the state. That transfer commenced in 2014, paving the way for both tracts to be managed by the Department of Forestry as a single state forest unit.
Why This Project MattersFragmentation is emerging as a major threat to private forestlands in Oregon and elsewhere. The commitment to create the new state forest kept intact land that otherwise would likely have been sold in many smaller parcels, with lost opportunities for multi-use forest management. The Oregon Department of Forestry will manage the land to provide a broad range of benefits over the long term, including wildlife habitat, timber harvesting that will provide jobs and revenue to support local government services, and public access for recreation.
“Forests are a part of Oregon’s identity and essential to Oregon’s economy and well-being. Even during challenging times...we need to make investments in our state’s economic and environmental future, and that is what we are doing...with the dedication of this new state forest. The Gilchrist lands have been treasured in this part of Oregon for decades. Thanks to the support and vision of the community, the Board of Forestry, The Conservation Fund and others, we can celebrate the beginning of a great new era for these forests.”—Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski