State Forests are public forests, however, the surrounding communities have a special relationship with these lands. In the 1930s and 1940s, 15 counties donated roughly 600,000 acres of forestland to the state. In return, a contractual agreement between the counties and the state ensured the counties would receive a share of the harvest revenues and assurances that these lands would be managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry to achieve greatest permanent value” (ORS 530.050 (Management of lands acquired). GPV is defined as “healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon.” The counties and over 150 taxing districts receive 63.75% of all timber revenue from State Forests. Today, these harvests provide roughly $100M annually to the surrounding counties and support thousands of good, family-wage jobs in nearby communities.
The 15 counties who donated the land make up the Forest Trust Land Counties (ORS 526.156) and advise the State Board of Forestry and the State Forester on the management of State Forest (ORS 530.010 (State Board of Forestry authorized to acquire lands) to 530.170 (Disposition of revenues from lands acquired under former statute) and on other matters in which counties may have a responsibility pertaining to forestland. The board and the State Forester are required by law to consult with the committee with regard to such matters. [Formerly 527.735; 1997 c.120 §1].
County commissioners from the Forest Trust Land Counties participate in Board of Forestry meetings and discuss harvest and conservation plans with ODF leadership. They advocate for their constituents in matters of State Forest policy and management.