Early Legislation and the Environment

Forested land

 

Oregon has drawn national attention for its environmental legislation. One key area has been forest management practices. Four significant pieces of Oregon legislation have impacted the forest industry.

The 1929 Oregon Reforestation Law was considered to be one of the most progressive pieces of forest legislation for its time. The law provided for the forestation and reforestation of Oregon lands; provided a classification system for these lands; created an annual forest fee and yield tax on forest lands and the crops yielded by these lands; and penalized violators of this law. The act triggered a great deal of interest in the region. Legislators continued to strengthen the law in the next few years (page 1 of letter describing legislation)..................(page 2 of letter).

In 1940, Gov. Charles Sprague "set in motion a movement to develop a well coordinated program of forestry and land use." The Governor's program was enacted in its entirety by the Legislative Assembly and included measures to strengthen the fire protection system, improve forest land acquisition laws, establish a research division to promote the use of wood wastes, and set minimum standards for cutting timber for commercial purposes. The 1941 Forest Conservation Act built on the last of the Governor's recommendations by recognizing the impact that the forest products industry had on the state. Provisions were included in the Act to "encourage forest practices that maintain and enhance such benefits and such resources, and that recognize varying forest conditions."

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