Grazing lands

A rancher west of Wamic trains his cattle to follow his truck, a useful way to move cattle to fresh grazing or working areas. Grazing lands are part of the forestland classification in Oregon land use laws. Such lands are due for review beginning Dec. 18. Mark B. Gibson photo/file

The Hood River-Wasco counties Forestland classification Committee will be reconvening Wednesday, Dec. 18, to review and update forestland classification within Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District, The Dalles Unit.

The committee is required by state statute to review existing forestland classification, last updated in 2012, and make appropriate changes.  

The committee will meet at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at 1785 Meyer Pkwy. in Hood River. The meeting is open to the public.  

The seven members of the committee are appointed by Hood River and Wasco Counties’ Board of Commissioners (four members), Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, Oregon State University Extension Service and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).  

Committee members include Kristin Dodd, ODF representative; Doug Thiesies, Hood River County Forester; Paul Jones, Hood River County Representative, forestland owner; Steve Kramer, Wasco County Commissioner; Dave Anderson, City of The Dalles, Wasco County forestland representative; Glenn Ahrens, OSU Extension Service; and Jim Trammel, Oregon State Fire Marshal representative.

Forestland classification is the process by which the committee will review the criteria used to classify forestland within the counties and determine any appropriate changes to the criteria based on current statutes and fules for Oregon.

Forestland includes lands suitable for growing timber, grazing livestock, or a combination of timber and grazing. The committee will apply the updated criteria to non-federal lands in Hood River and Wasco counties, classifying the lands as timber, grazing, or joint use.

Forestland within ODF’s Central Oregon District Boundary is assigned a Forest Patrol Assessment that is reflected on a landowner’s county tax statement.  This assessment pays for ODF’s wildfire protection for these lands.

The committee will spend the next several months reviewing the previous criteria used and revising the existing classification, where warranted.  When edits are complete, a draft of the designated forestland classification will be presented to the public at informational meetings and at a public hearing where landowners can provide testimony to the committee. Upon adoption of the final classification with each county clerk, the Forest Patrol Assessment will be updated for landowners in Wasco and Hood River counties for the upcoming tax year.  

For additional information on forestland classification processes or ODF’s Central Oregon District, visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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