O&C Lands

Radicle Training: Intro to Forest Policy

Attend this training if you are interested in engaging in the public process on lands management, or simply want to be more informed about the law and politics that influences current forest management.

Our take on Wyden's O&C Land Grant Act

Senator Ron Wyden has released his much anticipated bill outlining the future management of 2.6 million acres of O&C (Oregon & California Railroad) lands in western Oregon, and it’s worse than we thought. The forests on O&C Lands provide clean drinking water for 1.8 million people, in addition to habitat for endangered species like the marbled murrelet, spotted owl and many species of salmon. Furthermore, these forests are truly backyard forests for many Oregonians who live next to O&C land.


O&C Lands are the 2.6 million acres of public forest that blanket much of Western Oregon, stretching from outside Portland south through the Willamette valley, and down to the California border. Called O&C because of their ties to the Oregon and California Railroad Company, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the managing agency for the vast majority of O&C Land. O&C Lands form a checkerboard pattern, and are often interspersed with private timber land and other private land ownership. There is a small amount of O&C Land within the boundaries of Mt. Hood National Forest, and nearly all adjacent BLM land near Mt. Hood is O&C.

What makes O&C land different than other public forest land? The O&C Lands Act of 1937 established a special management status for these forests in the early twentieth century (read an in depth history here) that created the legacy which has followed these forests into the twenty-first. The Act tied logging revenue on O&C lands to the budgets of the 18 so-called O&C Counties in which these forests are situated. Decades of unsustainable logging, couple with increased environmental awareness led to reductions on O&C logging in the nineties, and the resulting reduction in timber receipts for O&C counties has caused the fate of these forests to become a subject of hot debate among politicians, environmental advocates, and the timber industry.

Representative Peter DeFazio introduced a controversial O&C management bill this past summer, and Bark and allies have been awaiting similar legislation by Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden's draft O&C Lands Trust Act was released in November, and as feared it is another band-aid fix: heavy on clearcuts and rollbacks to environmental protections, and light on lasting solutions to boost and sustain rural Oregon county governments. The good news? Wyden’s bill is still a draft and has yet to be introduced to the Senate. We are working to influence Wyden and keep our public forests protected. Contact Meredith @ bark-out.org for more info on O&C Lands, Wyden's O&C Lands Trust Act of 2013, and ways to get involved.


Special Alert: Senator Wyden hopes you don't see this

Wyden announced his new plan for public O&C forests that would increase clearcuts and slash environmental protections! Read more and take action below.


More Than 200 Protest Proposal to Clearcut More of Oregon's Forests

by Center for Biological Diversity
PORTLAND, Ore. Oct. 1, 2013 — Holding dozens of banners and signs opposing clearcutting, more than 200 people gathered today outside the office of Sen. Ron Wyden at Portland's Holladay Park for an hour-long rally in support of policies that include responsible management of Oregon's publically owned forests.


Special Alert: October 1st: Act for Oregon forests

Dear Barker,

Senator Wyden is ready to ramp-up clearcuts, degrade drinking water quality, and slash federal environmental laws in his new legislation for O&C lands.


O&C lands bill threatens forest watersheds

Rep. Peter DeFazio's attempt to roll back the clock and transfer federal lands to a timber trust is fraught with problems as noted in this op-ed.Increased mechanization has displaced many jobs in the woods. Read more ...

Special Alert: From handouts to clearcuts - exposing the O&C controversy

Senator Wyden and Oregon Counties failed to do their job, and they want to clearcut our public forests to bail them out.

By now you've probably heard of "O&C lands."

But have you heard what Oregon's county leaders have done with their massive federal subsidies for the last 13 years to bolster their economies? No? Me neither.

It's time we ask the tough questions, together.


The Oregonian: Washington and Clackamas water agencies tell Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden to protect watersheds

While Portland's Bull Run Watershed is completely off-limits to logging and other activities, water managers in the suburban counties say that isn't true in the rivers and streams where they collect their water.


The history and legacy of O&C Lands

A somewhat brief explanation of the forests known as O&C Lands, and their controversy today.