The Viewshed Forest is our scenic view.
It is the setting for Yachats, the “Gem” of the Oregon Coast.
The Viewshed Forest is our backyard.
It is easily accessible and could provide incredible opportunities for hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
The Viewshed Forest is a source of beauty and inspiration.
Whether viewed from below across the Yachats River estuary, or 360 degrees of views from the top.
What does View the Future want to achieve?
To guide our efforts the following information has been prepared.
- Work to foster and support specific and measurable goals to preserve, protect, manage and/or enhance our local forestlands, including their viewsheds, their wildlife habitats, and watersheds.
- Develop and implement programs and projects that are based on specific goals that work toward preservation and conservation of local forestlands
- Encourage individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and the community at large to become involved in local preservation and conservation issues and to promote a collaborative process in problem solving that benefits all parties.
- Educate individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and the community about land preservation.
- Foster proactive working relationships with and seek the guidance of environmental organizations; city, county, state and federal government units and their branch agencies; the logging industry; local residents and property owners; and individual experts in order to obtain collaborative agreements for local preservation projects that will be supported by these various systems and groups.
- Preserve and protect the Yachats viewshed
- Protect and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife
- Prevent deterioration of the Yachats River and its tributaries
- Provide enhanced recreational opportunities for residents and visitors
- Encourage sustainable forest management practices
- Seek, accept, and manage funds from public and private agencies, government, and individuals, consistent with these objectives.
Short Term Goals
- Use trail easements, conservation easements, and ODOT right-of-way easements to develop a trail connection to Cape Perpetua along US Highway 101, connecting to the Amanda Trail easement on the Kittels’ property. This coastal route would build on recent efforts of the City of Yachats , ODOT, and some willing property owners to connect the Oregon Coast Trail to the south end of Yachats Ocean Wayside. Again, VtF would work with willing property owners to secure the necessary easements and develop relationships with other property owners to educate them about the value of easements across their properties.
- Explore the development of a second trail system along the west ridge that would also connect with the existing trail on the north side of Cape Perpetua . This could be called the ridge route . In addition to the Kittels, one other property owner along this route has expressed interest in a trail easement to facilitate this connection. VtF will work with all willing property owners along this route and seek to develop relationships with other property owners to complete the trail. VtF should explore the rules and mechanics surrounding any tax implications for owners who agree to conservation easements. This could provide a powerful incentive for owners to more readily enter into these agreements.
- As work on the two trails evolves, VtF should initiate a dialogue with the City of Yachats with the objective of eventually including this new trail system in Yachats’ planning documents for trails, parks, and recreation venues. VtF should also develop a relationship with the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation and the Port of Alsea to create full partnerships among these entities for the development, care, maintenance, preservation, and protection of the trail system.
3. Initiate a discussion with the owners of the property on the south side of the Yachats River across from Quiet Water regarding possible conservation or trail easements: Wetlands constitute a significant part of this property. The current owners may be willing to entertain the possibility of a conservation easement or other protection for the wetland and/or a trail system that would extend to Cape Perpetua and provide access to the city’s property located adjacent to this site and opposite the water treatment plant, which has potential for recreational use (i.e., picnicking, boat access) as well as for educational or interpretive use. This area represents a significant portion of the river estuary and wildlife habitat near the mouth of the river which has remained fairly undisturbed.
Long Term Goals
- Work with the property owners to negotiate a conservation easement that would protect the most visible ridges from clearcutting.
- Pursue using Lincoln County ‘s Land Legacy Program to fund a conservation easement on this property.
- Use the value of conservation easements on west ridge properties as match for grants to leverage the funds for either conservation easements or outright purchase of some portion of the property.
- Negotiate a conservation easement or purchase of some portion of the property after it has been logged. Realistically, it is difficult to work with large industrial timber companies whose business interests push them to clearcut their harvestable timber. It is therefore very likely that the property will be logged within the next decade. While not our preferred approach, it might represent a more efficient use of limited financial resources and lock up a larger tract of land for future generations.
The Viewshed Forest is 1,080 acres south of Yachats, visible from almost any part of town, and providing spectacular views of the ocean, dramatic headlands, and the town of Yachats. It is the home of elk, bear, cougar, deer, eagles, and marbled murrelets.
It has been a commercial tree farm for more than 80 years, with repeated clearcut timber harvest. The Viewshed Forest is now owned by Hancock Natural Resources Group, a global resource management corporation. After six years of seeking strategies to protect the viewshed, View the Future joined forces with the Oregon Coast Community Forest Association to negotiate the purchase of this land as a sustainably managed community forest. A conservation easement would be placed on the 300 acres which form the critical viewshed area visible from town.
View the Future is a locally-based, non-profit organization that has been conserving land for scenic views, wildlife, environmental health, and recreation since 2004. We work with willing landowners to permanently protect land for future generations.
Now Is Our Opportunity To Decide:
Should this property be managed according to local community values
or to meet the investment goals of remote corporate owners?
Photos courtesy of Ken Gagne