With announcement November 30th of a $400,000 grant award from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, North Coast Land Conservancy is now appealing to the community to complete fundraising for the Rainforest Reserve, a landmark conservation project under way on Oregon’s North Coast.
“Once again the Rainforest Reserve rises to the top because of the incredible place it is,” said Katie Voelke, executive director of North Coast Land Conservancy. “The Murdock Trust is the last big funder we have reached out to, and after a rigorous screening process, they chose to support us generously. This grant is a win for all who love the Oregon Coast.”
The proposed Rainforest Reserve is a 3,500-acre tract of forested coastline south of Arch Cape, adjacent to Oswald West State Park and above Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. When completed, the Rainforest Reserve will create an uninterrupted 32-square-mile conservation corridor stretching from the summits of 3,000-foot peaks—the horizon you see looking south from Cannon Beach or north from Rockaway Beach—to Short Sand Beach and the sandy seabed and rocky reefs of the nearshore ocean.
Creeks high in the proposed Rainforest Reserve provide drinking water to local communities. Allowing this stretch of temperate rainforest to grow to maturity will help mitigate the effects of climate change locally and globally by drawing down carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in the trees for centuries to come.
“We believe the strongest and most sustainable solutions come from a spirit of collaboration,” said Steve Moore, executive director of the Murdock Trust. “Organizations like the North Coast Land Conservancy help our communities thrive by working to build solutions that serve the common good through an inclusive approach. We are grateful for their efforts to help preserve and protect the natural beauty of our region while also modeling a collaborative method to find solutions.”
With support from the community, NCLC hopes to complete fundraising and take ownership of the Rainforest Reserve by the end of 2021. Gifts from individual donors, public agencies, and private foundations such as Murdock have now contributed $9.3 million toward the campaign goal of $10 million, leaving $700,000 yet to be raised.
“This grant award launches us into the last stretch of this marathon campaign,” Voelke added. “It’s all hands in now. Every donation counts.” More information about the Rainforest Reserve and a donation link can be found at NCLCtrust.org/creating-a-rainforest-reserve.
NCLC launched its campaign to conserve the Rainforest Reserve in November 2016 with signing of a purchase and sales agreement with Ecotrust Forest Management, a forestland investment management company that had just purchased the property. But NCLC had been negotiating with EFM and previous landowners for nearly a decade, attempting to find a way to conserve this biologically diverse landscape harboring rare plant and animal species. The effort to put this land into conservation actually began in the first half of the last century with Samuel Boardman, Oregon’s first state parks superintendent, who envisioned creating “one of the great natural parks in the nation” but who was not able to achieve that vision before his retirement.
North Coast Land Conservancy, headquartered in Seaside, is one of Oregon’s leading land trusts. Currently it protects habitat reserves and conservation easements totaling nearly 5,000 acres between the Columbia River and Siletz Bay.