Restoration Renaissance: A New Paradigm in John Day
The remote rural community of John Day, Oregon, is enjoying a restoration renaissance. The only mill left in the county, Malheur Lumber Co., is humming along with 104 employees working extended hours processing a steady supply of logs from federal forest restoration projects. Restoration work has become an economic engine for the community: Careful thinning of smaller trees increases forest resilience while providing additional material for local industry. And the results are real: Local school enrollment has grown from 570 to 615 students, the highest it’s been in fifteen years. Unemployment has fallen from a high of 14 percent in 2012 to 8.9 percent in 2015. Community leaders hope that more jobs will give the younger generation a reason to stay in, or come back to, the community.
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