The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation has proposed that a segment of the North Coast’s longest River, the Nehalem, be designated as a State Scenic Waterway. The State Scenic designation allows the state to reserve our natural waterways for their scenic, habitat and recreational values that Oregonians hold dear. The Nehalem River is an ideal candidate for the designation, with old native forests, stunning trails, scenic waterfalls, and prime habitat for fish and wildlife.
The proposed State Scenic Waterway designation of the Nehalem is a picturesque 17 mile-segment from Spruce Run Campground to the Cougar Valley State Park that meanders through public state lands. This section includes critical habitat for some of the best wild salmon and steelhead runs in the Pacific Northwest, as well as older forest that are important habitat for endangered marbled murrelets. Not only is this area great for fish and wildlife, it also provides amazing recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, and camping.
Unfortunately, the Oregon Department of Forestry has recently proposed a large timber sale which would clear cut sections of the proposed Nehalem State Scenic Waterway. The department also aims to open approximately 750 net acres of older forest to clearcutting, as well as to aerial spray of thousands of acres.
The older forests surrounding the Nehalem help maintain and promote healthy riparian areas with vegetation and cover that provides cold-water fish habitat and protects water quality. The large limbs in these older forests also provide some of the best and prime Marbled Murrelet habitat left in our state forests. Cutting these older forests would further harm the already endangered marbled murrelet.
If the Department of Forestry pursues the timber sale in the proposed Nehalem Scenic Waterway, it would not only be harmful to important salmon and marbled murrelet habitat, but also to the public who hike, fish, camp, and float the clear waters.
Write Governor Brown today and ask her to stand up for the Nehalem River by telling the Department of Forestry to defer any clearcuts in the Nehalem and ensure balanced, sustainable, and science-based management of our state forests.