Ecola Creek Forest Reserve Trails

The health and future of the Ecola Creek Forest Reserve was on the agenda as the Cannon Beach Parks Committee at the Feb. 28 work session.

Depending on future input, recommendations could include a temporary moratorium on recreational fishing and limits on logging within the 1,040-acre property.

The Ecola Creek Forest Reserve plan, updated every five years by the the Parks Committee, highlighted almost two-dozen priorities.

While the primary objective is to lay the groundwork for the plan update, potential projects surfaced.

Along with fish habitat monitoring and a possible moratorium on recreational fishing in the reserve to better understand its impact on salmon populations, the plan could provide guidance on road maintenance, tree thinning, invasive species removal and better signage.

Committee members said road maintenance impacts every aspect of the plan, including logging, fire prevention and public access.

More roads mean more people which can mean more trash and a greater fire risk.

“If we recommend improving roads, that increases access,” committee vice chair Jillayne Sorenson said in reference to the increased fire hazard when people enter forested areas.

While tree thinning may be necessary in some areas of the reserve either for ecological reasons or for safety, preparing the roads so that the trees can be removed might be too expensive.

The committee was in general agreement that the cost of improving the roads for the purpose of timber removal alone likely exceeded the resale value of the trees.

Rules and signage about fishing are unclear, committee members said, and more information is needed on aquatic habitat.

Sorenson suggested a temporary fishing moratorium in order to collect more information.

The committee will hold another work session on March 14 in preparation for the regular meeting March 21.

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