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AOCC Commissioner's Meeting - Dec 2013


Partnership For Rural
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O&C Lands
Desk Reference

 

 

"Promises To Keep"

     

O & C

Oregon and California Revested Grantlands

The O&C Act of 1937 set aside approximately 2.4 million acres of federally-owned forest lands in 18 western Oregon counties for the economic benefit of those counties.

The lands were originally granted to the Oregon and California Railroad Company by the federal government in the 1860's to encourage development in western Oregon.

When the railroad failed to meet its obligations to sell the land to settlers, the government took back the land in 1916.  The 1937 legislation was passed by Congress to compensate counties for being deprived of property tax revenues and a privately-owned land base for economic development.

According to section 1181a of the O&C Act, O&C timberlands are to be managed for "permanent forest production" with timber to be "sold, cut and removed in conformity with the principal [sic] of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply, protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities."

Sustained yield forestry has worked well on the O&C lands.  In 1937, the softwood inventory was estimated to be about 44 billion board feet.  After more than 60 years of timber harvest and wise management, the softwood inventory is estimated to be about 60 billion board feet.

The 50 percent of total receipts paid to the counties form an essential part of county budgets, helping to pay for health and social services, law enforcement, corrections programs and many other public services.  The quality of life in the O&C counties would diminish without the benefits made possible by O&C revenues.

The O&C Act directs that 75 percent of receipts from the sale of timber be distributed to the 18 O&C counties.  Over the years, the counties voluntarily returned one-third of their entitlement to be plowed back into the management of the lands.  These plow-back funds, with a present value exceeding $2.0 billion, have helped pay for reforestation, road construction and maintenance, campgrounds, recreational facilities and other improvements on the land.

 

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"Promises to Keep"
Association of O&C Counties
2008