County forest operations cost-effective, sustainable Another voice column


Hood River County Forester

Special to the News

April 20

In the March 19 edition of the Hood River News, Mr. Mark S. Reynolds wrote an open letter to the Hood River County Forester, requesting information concerning the goals and purposes of a logging operation on Lower Neal Creek Road, as well as county-wide forestry practices in general.

While written public discourse is not always the most effective means for answering questions from an individual, in this situation it may be appropriate to respond in kind.

Regarding the specific logging operation noted in your letter — it’s not a Hood River County operation. Your questions regarding logging goals and practices in that area should be directed to the appropriate parties.

On a broader scale, Hood River County is in the timber business to generate revenue for public services. The overall management goal is to maximize long-term revenues through a cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally sound forest management program.

Approximately 40 percent of the county’s general fund is derived from our timber operation, providing services such as the Sheriff’s Department, Veteran’s Services, public health, probation and parole, jail operations, the county museum, elections, administration, the county library, tax collection (for all public entities in the county), etc.

Hood River County is unique in that its primary general revenue source is from timber operations, not from property taxes. In fact, the property tax rate for Hood River County government operations is only $1.41 per $1,000. The state average for county governments is almost three times that amount.

Hood River County conducts its forestry operations in full compliance with the Oregon Forest Practices Act, including the appropriate ground treatment and reforestation activities within prescribed time frames and conditions. All prerequisite preventive and protective activities with regard to habitat, stream protection, buffering and setbacks are observed.

The sustainable harvest level on Hood River County forestlands is 10.5 million board feet annually. This number represents the volume of wood the forest grows every year, with a 90-year rotation. Having a sustainable harvest level and management plan in place, Hood River County forest has received forest certification through The American Tree Farm System. Within the past year, in recognition of the tremendous asset the County Forest represents for so many of our citizens, we have formed a Forest Recreational Trails Advisory Committee.

That committee has recently completed development of a Trail Management Plan; that will help us to coordinate and standardize trail uses in County Forests, leading to more compatible and widespread enjoyment of this superior natural resource for all.

Further information concerning Hood River County Forest operations and practices may be obtained by calling 387-6888, or coming by the Forestry Department Offices in the Public Works Compound at the intersection of May and 18th streets in Hood River.

A copy of the Hood River County Forest Management Plan can be reviewed at the County Library.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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