OSWA: A Valuable Resource For Family Forestland Owners

Written by Bob Parker, Extension Forester, Baker/Grant Counties.

Family forestland owners in Oregon have many excellent resources available to help with successfully managing their woodland properties. In this article, we highlight the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, otherwise known as OSWA.

There’s no doubt that OSWA has a lot to offer, just take a look below. If you have any questions about OSWA or would like to join, you can contact them by phone at (503) 588-1813, email them at oswa@oswa.org or visit their website at www.oswa.org.

An Educational Resource

You probably know that ODF Stewardship Foresters are available to provide on the ground expertise and OSU Extension Forestry and Oregon Forest Resources Institute offer educational publications, classes, workshops and tours. Another important option to consider is becoming a member of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) which offers wide ranging, highly valuable services.

The OSWA vision is “To be an influential and proactive organization which is united in its efforts to represent the diverse objectives of family forestland owners who practice and promote good forest stewardship” – which they do extremely well. OSWA membership puts you in touch with fascinating people who are continually challenging themselves to become better stewards of the land. No other group makes living and working in the forests of Oregon more enjoyable than OSWA.
OSWA Membership.

OSWA Membership

Join a local chapter! OSWA has 15 active chapters statewide, representing 20 counties. Chapters are the cornerstone of OSWA, organizing local activities and producing information tailored to the needs and interests of the community. Our chapters host educational tours, meetings, workshops and classes that give members a chance to meet and network with similarly minded people.

Outstanding Publications. When you join OSWA, you will receive some outstanding publications. The Oregon Forest Family News, a statewide joint newsletter with Oregon Tree Farm System, is published 6 times per year and contains information about the latest news impacting family forestlands in Oregon. It includes profiles of people who work with the forest, articles about forest management, suggestions for marketing your products and other resources to help you better manage your forestland asset. The “letter to the editor” section is a forum for members to share their views about issues affecting them. Many chapters have their own newsletters keeping members informed with important information.

Northwest Woodlands Magazine. This quarterly publication produced in cooperation with small woodland owner groups in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Its goal is to keep you informed on regional issues and is dedicated to the management of family forestlands in the Northwest. Every issue contains many articles by regional experts and forestry education specialists.

Woods Tours. Local chapters, frequently in collaboration with OSU Extension and others, sponsor field tours, giving members the opportunity to observe and learn from other successful land owners. OSWA also has four to five Howdy Neighbor Tours each year, in partnership with Oregon Forest Resource Institute (OFRI). During these tours participants can explore new ways to manage your forest for wildlife, timber, water quality and recreation, discover Oregon’s environmental and economic issues with a balanced perspective, learn ways to work safely in the woods and much more.

Professional Representation. Forestland owners are concerned about changing laws and regulations that may negatively impact their ability to manage their properties. OSWA strives to promote the important and essential roles that family owned woodlands play in society and works closely with local and state agencies, legislators and the political process in Oregon to ensure that family owned forests continue to thrive and prosper. OSWA maintains a professionally staffed office suite in Salem with an Executive Director on call and accessible to members throughout the week. OSWA also hires a lobbyist to represent the interests of family forestland owners at the state Capital.

OSWA Partners. Partnerships with other organizations designed to benefit small woodland owners, interfacing with Oregon State University Extension Foresters and Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) to provide education and training opportunities. OSWA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oregon Tree Farm System (OTFS) to partner on common issues and take advantage of OTFS’s affiliation with American Forest Foundation (AFF), an organization designed to protect the interests of small woodland owners, at the national level. OSWA also participates on the Committee for Family Forests that advises the Board of Forestry on family forest issues, and collaborates with Oregon Department of Forestry on private forest and fire issues.

Fire Fighting & Woodland Liability Insurance. Under Oregon state law, all landowners may be liable for the expense of fighting certain fires on their property, which can be extremely expensive. Through a group program, special discounted fire-fighting expense liability insurance is available for purchase by OSWA members. General timberland liability insurance is also an option for members through a discounted group program.