Elliott State Research Forest


Oregon State University (OSU) and the Oregon Department of State Lands have worked collaboratively to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned state research forest. The ESRF presents the opportunity to address some of the most pressing issues facing forest and habitat management. OSU remains a committed partner and interested in the potential for OSU leading research on the ESRF. However, our involvement remains unclear given the response to recent developments. For the reasons outlined in OSU President Murthy’s November 13th, 2023 letter, the president has decided to refrain from asking the OSU Board of Trustees to consider our participation in the ESRF at this time. It is important to note that the Board of Trustees has not said “no” to OSU involvement. President Murthy has chosen not to ask the Board of Trustees to authorize OSU participation in management of the forest at this time due to Tribal and other concerns about the current strategy, including the increasing constraints being placed on the forest’s management and research activities that we believe will compromise achieving the mutually agreed goals.

Senate Bill 1546, passed by the Oregon Legislature in March 2022, legally established the ESRF and formation of an independent public agency to oversee it — The Elliott State Research Forest Authority (ESRFA) — which would contract with OSU to manage and conduct research on the forest. The bill also established specific requirements regarding timeline, expectations for public accountability and transparency, and mandated the ESRF’s ongoing contributions to conservation, economic growth, recreation, education and forest research.

In spring 2023, the Department of State Lands and state leaders sought a legislative amendment to extend the approved timeline for establishing the research forest and its management by OSU and the College of Forestry. This legislative amendment, Senate Bill 161, was passed in June 2023, and extends the deadline for completion of deliverables to Dec. 31, 2023. The additional time is allowing for adjustments to the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) based on public comment and input from the ESRFA Prospective Board and the Services (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service). The extended timeline also allows for any adjustments to be reflected in the forest management plan and financial plans.

Happening Now 

December 2023 ESRF Forest Management Plan

The documents from the planning process are now available, including the December 2023 FMP, a watershed atlas, and the public comments and responses.

Additional Updates 

For additional details regarding the Elliott State Research Forest, refer to the Department of State Lands ESRF website.