Finding Common Ground
The logging industry used to be the heart and soul of Harney County. However, shifting federal policies, changes in ecological conditions, and a declining market for wood products meant less timber sales and the lumber mill in Hines, OR closed in the 1980s. The closure of the mill, along with other outside factors, has had a lasting negative impact on local communities.
Along with the loss of a thriving timber industry, land management policies have led to unnaturally high tree densities, which combined with climate change, have caused the Malheur National forest to be prone to fire, drought, disease, and insect infestations.
Convened in 2008, the Harney County Forest Restoration Collaborative (HCFRC) is finding common ground solutions to improve the declining state of sustainability on the Southern Malheur National Forest that includes:
- creating fire tolerant and ecologically diverse forest ecosystems,
- increasing economic capacity by supporting new and emerging markets, and
- improving the ability to restore forest on a landscape scale.