It’s been a devastating two years for Oregon’s forests—2020 saw historic wildfires that tore through thousands of acres, and then last year’s record-setting heat wave killed numerous trees in the Coast Range.
Despite those losses, the state is making significant progress when it comes to restoring its woodlands.
The statewide nonprofit Oregon Parks Forever recently announced it has been able to fund the planting of 553,000 trees. Those saplings were placed in multiple state parks across the region, including Silver Falls, Collier and North Santiam. Smaller parks in Josephine and Marion counties also received some of those trees along with the Tillamook State Forest.
Oregon’s wildfire season has intensified over the past 30 years, with 2020 seeing the second-largest number of acres burned since 1990. This comes at a time when public land managers’ budgets are increasingly stressed due to ongoing funding challenges as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon Parks Forever anticipates further devastation as climate change increases temperatures and causes prolonged drought.
The nonprofit launched its Wildfire Tree Replanting Fund in January 2021 with the goal of planting at least 1 million trees. Donations are still being accepted on the Oregon Parks Forever website.