Yesterday, the Oregon State Land Board approved adding the Table Rocks Preserve, also known as the Wood/Beech Tract to the Oregon Register of Natural Heritage Resources Register. The 1,714.75-acre preserve is located in Jackson County approximately 10 miles north of Medford and is home to a number of listed species and rare habitats.
In putting the Wood/Beech tract of the upper Table Rocks Preserve on the register, The Oregon State Land Board has now designated 100 such properties throughout the state, which stand as examples of Oregon’s Natural Heritage.
This acquisition also completes the protection of the vernal pool habitat on the summits of both the Upper and Lower Table Rock in addition to the majority of the remaining habitat on the flanks of the two Rocks. This area is home to both the vernal pool fairy shrimp, which the US Fish and Wildlife Service lists as a threatened species, and the dwarf wooly meadow-foam, a species of concern in the area protected by the project.
Secretary of State Brown is one of three State elected officers who serve on the Oregon State Land Board, along with Governor Kulongoski and Treasurer Westlund. The State Land Board was established under the Oregon Constitution to manage lands, which were awarded to States by the U.S. Congress in 1802, and serves as trustee of the Common School Fund.
Oregon’s Constitution, Article VIII, Section 5(2), specifies that the Board
…shall manage lands under its jurisdiction with the object of obtaining the greatest benefit for the people of this state, consistent with the conservation of this resource under sound techniques of land management.
Over the years, many of the original school land sections were sold or traded to private individuals and other agencies. Today, the Board́s land base includes nearly 1.6 million acres of state land and resource assets, including agricultural and range land in eastern Oregon, forest land in western Oregon, numerous small tracts, and the submerged and submersible lands beneath the statés tidally-influenced and navigable waterways. The Board also holds title to mineral rights on all these lands and manages the mineral rights on other state agency lands (about 2 million acres total).
The Board leases state lands and other resources to public and private interests for a variety of business activities. Rangeland is leased to ranchers for grazing, timber is sold, and waterway areas are leased for uses such as sand and gravel removal, houseboat moorages, marinas and log storage.
The funds from these leases and sales go towards funding the Common School fund and are a key source of revenue for Oregon’s schools.