Hampton Lumber prioritizes environmental sustainability

Hampton Lumber owns 140,000 acres of forestland in Oregon and Washington and manages 300,000 acres of public forestland in British Columbia. The company, a WFPA member and based in Portland, has more than 1,600 employees who help make the business sustainable and successful.

Company Co-Owner David Hampton responded in the Oregonian this week after the paper wrongly labeled the company “anti-environment” because of a policy stance the company took on marbled murrelets.

We were labeled “anti-environment” by The Oregonian/OregonLive because of our position on a natural resources policy proposal. Or were we labeled as such simply because we grow trees and manufacture renewable wood products for a living?

The Oregonian’s assertion is cartoonish and couldn’t be further from the truth, Hampton writes.

Environmental sustainability is key to what we do. We plant over a million trees a year and keep roughly 80,000 acres of forests in Oregon forested decade after decade, providing clean water, clean air and wildlife habitat. We value that and work to keep our forests and communities healthy and sustainable long-term. We also take pride in the role we play in supporting outdoor recreation in the state. Access to our forestlands in Oregon is free and open to the public most times of the year (including for a recent Cycle Oregon mountain bike event) so residents and visitors can get out and enjoy not only Oregon’s wild places but its working landscapes as well.

Hampton Lumber takes policy positions based strictly on research.

We advocate for natural resource management based on the best-available science, not anecdote or emotion, which can certainly run high when discussing Oregon’s forests. With environmental issues, sometimes policy proposals are put forward before the science is solid.

That’s why we urged natural resource agencies to look at recent research from U.S. Fish & Wildlife that shows marbled murrelet populations improving in Oregon and to wait for completion of Oregon State University’s comprehensive study on the marbled murrelet before making changes that would fundamentally alter forest policy in the state.

Some feel that doing something –anything — is better than nothing. However, when it comes to writing policy, that course of action can sometimes end up doing more harm than good.

As a lumber manufacturer and forestland owner, natural resources policies affect us deeply. We walk these woods every day and understand the needs and realities of working forests, perhaps more than most in this state. As such, we weigh in when we have concerns or disagreements and we ask that when policy changes are made, they reflect the best-available science and take into consideration the impacts those decisions will have on all Oregonians. When we don’t feel policy proposals meet those standards, we will say so.

The Oregonian did a disservice to its readers by veering into advocacy, not journalism.

Disagreeing with a handful of environmental groups on a policy proposal doesn’t necessarily make you anti-environment. We are in desperate need of journalists these days, not commentators. The “news” piece in the Oregonian earlier this month was thinly-veiled, partisan commentary.  We need reporters to take the time to reach out and learn about the many sides of an issue. At a time when rhetoric and misinformation seem rampant, thoughtful and informed dialogue is needed on all sides, not assumptions and name-calling.