The Tillamook State Forest near Storey Burn Road. Photo: Chas Hundley

TILLAMOOK STATE FOREST - The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) announced it will resume road restrictions this fall in the western part of the Tillamook State Forest to improve deer and elk escapement during hunting season. 

The 15-year-old program is a combined effort of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Tillamook chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association (OHA). It is designed to reduce hunting pressure in clear cut areas of the forest. 

Elk and deer like to forage in clear cut areas. A lot of vehicle traffic in and out of such locations not only increases the animals’ vulnerability to hunters and poachers, it also creates a potential situation where a vehicle could unknowingly drive up behind a hunting party, ODFW spokesman Herman Biederbeck said. 

“The goal is to reduce the amount of open roads available to people,” he said. “We put gates up to close certain roads for three months -- September, October, and November -- which helps protect the elk and deer while also providing hunters with an opportunity for a ‘walk-in’ experience, where someone parks next to a gate and walks or mountain bikes in without having to worry about vehicles coming up behind them and ruining their hunt.”

Selected roads in the Trask, Wilson, and Nehalem River areas will be gated and signed. Hunters and other recreational users are welcome to access the gated areas by foot, mountain bike, horse or other types of non-motorized vehicles, an ODFW press release said. 

Biederbeck said funding for the program doesn’t come from any specific source. 

“It’s kind of a low-budget operation,” he said. “In other words, ODFW provides the roads and land, and the OHA typically pays for the gate installations and lines up contractors to complete the gate installs. When the roads have no more recent clear cuts, the gates are pulled and recycled to use at another location in the future.”

Motorized access by Oregon Department of Forestry staff or contractors working in closed areas may occur on occasion. Maps of the road management areas are available at the Tillamook ODF office, located at 5005 Third Street, and on the district’s website

Maps and information also can be found at the Tillamook State Forest blog