The Eagle Creek Community Forest advisory committee toured the forest yesterday, and along the way, we downloaded some spectacular wildlife captures from our trail cameras!
Eagle Creek Community Forest
On March 28, 2019, the deed was recorded, transferring ownership of this 319-acre forest property to the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. This journey started in February 2018. We would not have been able to reach this milestone without the great help we received from The Trust for Public Land who served as a tireless and fully engaged partner throughout the purchase process. The seller was gracious in extending deadlines so that we could apply for grant funding to assist in the purchase. We also engaged a land use attorney in the Portland area who was always at least one step ahead of us, proactively identifying potential issues and getting them resolved.
Community Forest Grant
The District was awarded a Community Forest Grant from the US Forest Service through the Community Forest Program. We have 120 days from the date of closing (March 28) to submit a Community Forest Plan to the Forest Service. An advisory committee is assisting us in this work.
What is a Community Forest Plan?
According to the final rule, a community forest plan is a tract specific plan that guides the management and use of a community forest, was developed with community involvement, and includes the following components:
- A description of the property, including acreage and county location, land use, forest type and vegetation cover;
- Objectives for the community forest;
- Community benefits to be achieved from the establishment of the community forest;
- Mechanisms promoting community involvement in the development and implementation of the community forest plan;
- Implementation strategies for achieving community forest plan objectives;
- Plans for the utilization or demolition of existing structures and proposed needs for further improvements;
- Planned public access, including proposed limitations to protect cultural or natural resources, or public health and safety. In addition, local governments and qualified nonprofits need to provide a rationale for any proposed limitations; and
- A description for the long-term use and management of the property.
We’ve assembled a group of people to guide us as we develop a community forest plan. The advisory committee currently includes representatives from:
- Clackamas County
- Clackamas River Basin Council
- Columbia Land Trust
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- OSU Extension Service
- Portland General Electric
- Private forest land owners (2) from the Estacada/Eagle Creek area
- US Bureau of Land Management
- US Forest Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
The District has retained Trout Mountain Forestry to help write the Community Forest Plan.
Wildlife Captured on Trail Cameras
We installed five trail cameras on April 24, 2019. Yesterday, we downloaded images from the five cameras to see what was captured. We expected to see human activity and the captures do show a few individuals walking the haul road, sometimes with a dog.
The cameras also caught a lot of deer, plus some elk, and a few coyote. But the stunning revelations were captures of a bobcat, mountain lion, and black bear.