ELLIOTT STATE FOREST
The Elliott State Forest, located in western Oregon, is a unique natural treasure that showcases the diverse beauty and ecological significance of the region. Spanning over 82,000 acres, this forest is characterized by its towering old-growth trees, pristine waterways, and abundant wildlife. It offers a mesmerizing blend of lush greenery, vibrant wildflowers, and breathtaking views that attract nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. The Elliott State Forest serves as a vital habitat for a variety of species, including the critically endangered marbled murrelet, making it an essential area for conservation efforts. It also serves as a haven for recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping, providing visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the serenity and tranquility of this magnificent forest.
The Elliott State Forest is located in the southern coast range of Oregon and has a rich history that dates back centuries.
Prior to European settlement, indigenous tribes including the Coos, Umpqua, and Siuslaw, inhabited the region and relied on the forest for its abundant natural resources. The tribes utilized the forest for hunting, gathering, and cultural practices.
In the mid-19th century, Oregon witnessed an influx of settlers drawn by the promise of land and timber. The Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850 allowed settlers to claim land in the region, leading to increased logging activities. The Elliott State Forest, named after a former Oregon Secretary of State, Samuel H. Elliott, saw its first timber harvest around this time.
In 1930, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) acquired control of the forest, and it was designated as a State Forest. The primary focus of the management was timber production, and extensive logging occurred throughout the 20th century. The revenue generated from timber sales was dedicated to supporting the Common School Fund, which provides funding for public education in Oregon.
However, over time, concerns about the impact of logging on ecological values grew. The Northern Spotted Owl, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, was found in the forest, further highlighting the need for conservation. Efforts to balance timber production and conservation led to the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in 1995. The HCP aimed to provide protection for the Northern Spotted Owl while allowing limited timber harvesting.
The Elliott State Forest has faced challenges due to financial constraints and environmental controversies. Declining timber revenues and increasing costs resulted in a lack of fund allocation for habitat restoration and forest management. In 2015, the State Land Board decided to sell the Elliott State Forest due to unsustainable financial liabilities.
However, this decision faced significant public backlash, and concerns were raised about the potential loss of public access and preservation of the forest's ecological values. As a result, Oregon Governor Kate Brown proposed a new approach, known as the "Elliot State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan," in 2017. Under this plan, the forest would remain publicly owned while securing habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, Marbled Murrelet, and other species.
Elliott State Forest in Oregon is a public-owned forest that offers various recreational activities. However, it's important to note that as of now, there are no established campgrounds within the Elliott State Forest itself.
That being said, you can still enjoy camping near this area:
1. Loon Lake Lodge and RV Resort: This resort located just outside the state forest provides cabins and yachts for rent along with an option for tent or RV camping.
2. William M Tugman State Park: Located about 20 miles from Elliot State Forest on Eel lake where fishing & water sports are popular.
3. Umpqua Lighthouse Deluxe Yurts (State park): It's around half an hour drive away but has unique accommodation options like deluxe yurts apart from standard campsites.
4. Sunset Bay Campground: A little further out but situated right next to beautiful coastal views at Coos bay.
5. Umqua Riverfront RV Park: Offers river frontage sites which include full hookups plus cable TV and Wi:Fi access.