The Tillamook : stories from a created forest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bz60d158k

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  • Starting more than 60 years ago, a complex of four forest fires occurring at six-year intervals burned almost 400 square miles of virgin Douglas-fir forest in the northwestern Coast Range of Oregon. The area, which became known as the Tillamook Burn, was the focus of an unprecedented reforestation effort drawing on the combined skills and resources of many Oregonians. Because of the cooperative character of the reforestation and the wide agreement of opinion on its rationale-to furnish timber for future generations-the Tillamook State Forest, as it was renamed, came to occupy a distinct niche in the culture of the West, at once shaping and exemplifying Oregonians' cultural values regarding forests. In recent years, American culture has become highly divided with respect to the relationship of humans with "nature." At the same time, the trees planted on the Tillamook Burn are reaching maturity and are being prepared by managers for their original destiny, to be cut for timber. Yet the Forest no longer exemplifies near-unanimous cultural values about the purpose and worth of forests. The original rationale of the Forest will likely be strongly challenged by disparate competing interests, and as the timber becomes more valuable those challenges will likely be met with equal force by defenders of the status quo. These conflicts may harden into a standoff such as now exists between timber interests and environmental activists and may eventually result in distinct winning and losing factions. However, if certain conditions are in place, the Tillamook's unique cultural associations may make it a crucible in which a more inclusive, participatory, and universally acceptable forestry can be forged.
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