Beaver Creek Marsh, © Roy Lowe
What is a State Natural Area? An Oregon State Natural Area is defined by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) by its purpose, the kinds of experiences that visitors can expect, predicted use levels, and many other factors. State Natural Areas are places of important natural resources and development within them is usually restricted to trails and interpretive or education facilities.
State Natural Areas are part of a larger consortium of organizations called the Natural Areas Program. The Natural Areas Program in Oregon is an outgrowth of an interagency effort to establish state, federal, and private natural areas throughout the Pacific Northwest. This effort has been overseen by the U.S. Forest Service to coordinate the interagency Natural Areas Committee. In addition, the Natural Areas Association helps coordinate efforts to establish and maintain natural areas throughout the US and the world. The Oregon Natural Heritage Plan describes the State Natural Areas System in Oregon and serves as a planning document for selection and establishment of priority natural areas. These lands are generally in government or conservation trust ownership, with the additional voluntary participation of private landowners where appropriate.
Additional registries are coordinated by the Natural Areas Program, including Dedicated Conservation Areas, Research Natural Areas, and Oregon Enhancement Watershed Board (OWEB) acquisitions. The OWEB planning document for evaluating potential resource acquisitions is a good summary of how priority natural resources are identified for acquisition and registration using lottery funds.
The Pacific Coast Joint Venture (PCJV) is another organization that is all about forming and guiding cooperative efforts between governments, land trusts, and private owners in the acquisition of natural lands for conservation. PCJV is part of a larger consortium of Joint Ventures. The initial acquisition of wetlands for conservation as a natural area in the Beaver Creek marsh (Happ Memorial Wetland) was made by Wetlands Conservancy with the assistance of PCJV.
Joining and coordinating conservation efforts is a powerful and efficient use of limited resources and money. These efforts clearly demonstrate that all of our actions are interconnected and interdependent. Collaboration is fun and relaxes the need to “do it all yourself”. Wild areas can act in the same way, by allowing relaxation into the spacious and interconnected world around us. At the same time, other creatures have a place to live and thrive. The diversity of the world remains intact and gives necessary natural services, such as clean water and air, healthy forests and farms, and abundant fisheries.
Posted by michael