The Elliott State Research Forest (ESRF), located in the Coast Range just north and east of Coos Bay, is located on the traditional lands of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribes, who were the original stewards of the land prior to Euro-American settlement and the forcible removal of the Tribes to reservations. In 1930, the 83,000-acre Elliott State Forest was established as Oregon’s first state forest. Starting in 1955 and for the next several decades, the Elliott State Forest helped fund Oregon public schools through the harvest and sale of timber and replanting of even-aged stands focused on continued timber production.
In more recent years, the Elliott State Forest had been at the center of growing tension between the forest’s historical role of helping fund public schools and the forest’s potential to provide benefits beyond harvest revenue, including habitat for native species, carbon sequestration, clean water and recreation, and Tribal cultural uses including hunting, fishing and gathering traditional foods and medicines.
In response, the State Land Board requested that Oregon State University (OSU), in collaboration with the Oregon Department of State Lands, explore the potential transformation of the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned research forest managed by the OSU College of Forestry.