Public lands are open to all, but research shows not everyone feels equally at home in them. That’s a problem for our national forests, which are managed by public resources that won’t be made available if the public doesn’t understand their needs. And it’s a missed opportunity for Americans who are not aware of, not encouraged to, or who don’t feel empowered to enjoy the incredible recreation opportunities, inspiration, and personal health and well-being that can be found on public lands. That individual disparity adds up to effects on society as a whole, though less public awareness of rural and ecological issues and in less diversity among applications for forestry-related science programs and for natural resources jobs.
This New York Times article talks about the disparities that exist, and how members of some underrepresented communities are seeking to change it.
VANCOUVER, Wash.(May 29, 2019) – Experience free outdoor activities and family fun at the annual National Get Outdoors Day event Sat. June 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Climb a rock wall, learn to shoot a bow and arrow, catch a fish, play soccer, experience disc golf, listen to live music, and more with activities suitable for children and families!
Learn more about how Pacific Northwest residents experienced the outdoors 180 years ago through a living history exhibit of a Hudson Bay Company fur trader encampment at Fort Vancouver. Costumed re-enactors will demonstrate cooking, crafts, games, dances, music, and weaponry from the 1840s, and host activities for participants to experience elements of that era first-hand.
Get Outdoors Day at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site brings more than 35 land management agencies, non-profits, and outdoor-based businesses to introduce the public to fun outdoor activities.
Booths and food vendors will be lined along East 5th St., to the west of Pearson Air Museum.
“We love working with all of these partners at Get Outdoors Day to help encourage kids and families to experience their public lands,” Gifford Pinchot National Forest Acting Supervisor Angie Elam said.
“Get Outdoors Day brings together multiple agencies and organizations to provide a lively event full of activities and opportunities that embrace the health benefits that outdoor recreation provides,” Fort Vancouver Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said. “As an urban national park, Fort Vancouver NHS serves as an ideal gateway to national parks, forests, trails, and other public lands.”
During the event, the Friends of Fort Vancouver will host two lectures at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center (1501 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, WA).
From 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Native American artist Lillian Pitt shares stories of the Columbia River People with children from “Salmon and Coyote Tell my Family Stories.”
From 2-3 p.m., Volcanologist and author Dr. Kevin Scott presents “The Voice of This Stone: Learning from Volcanic Disasters Around the World.” For more information visit: https://tinyurl.com/getoutdoorsvancouver.
New this year: From noon-2 p.m., Repair Clark County will be at Pearson Field Education Center, located next door to the activities at Fort Vancouver, will promote conservation by helping local residents repair damaged items, including outdoors gear and accessories. Skilled volunteers will donate their expertise and labor to help repair participant’s broken or damaged goods. For more info, visit: www.RepairClarkCounty.org.
National Get Outdoors Day is a national free event that encourages everyone, especially youth, to pursue healthy, active outdoor lifestyles – including experiences in our parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forests, Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, City of Vancouver, Parks Foundation of Clark County and other public, private, and non-profit groups partner together to present the annual event for residents of the greater Portland, Ore. and southwestern Washington metropolitan areas.
Participating groups and activities include:
Bluegrass jam Audubon Society Bonneville Lock & Dam City of Vancouver Vancouver Parks & Recreation Vancouver Urban Forestry Water Resource Education Center Vive Northwest C-Tran Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Friends of Trees Hike it Baby Gifford Pinchot National Forest Master Gardeners Friends of Fort Vancouver Girl Scouts of OR & SW WA National Wildlife Federation Mount St. Helens Institute Mt. Hood National Forest Pacific Crest Trail Association Quick Start Sports Cascade Forest Conservancy Silver Star Search & Rescue Timber Lake Jobs Corps SW WA Anglers Kids Hiking WA Trails Association US Fish & Wildlife Service – National Wildlife Refuges USDA Forest Service – Fire & Aviation WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Columbia River Gorge Nat’l Scenic Area Glen’s Hands-On Gizmos WA Timbers Football Club Oregon Caves National Monument OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) Ultimate Hunt Backcountry Horsemen Fishing Pokemon Go Urban Abundance Waste Connections Confluence Project
Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (press release)
OLYMPIA, Wash. (May 10, 2019) – Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind, USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, and Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa today signed a “Shared Stewardship” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), calling it a model for other states to follow.
The MOU, only the second of its kind in the nation, establishes a framework for Washington state and the USDA Forest Service to work collaboratively toward mutual goals and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing communities, landscapes, and natural resources across the state. The partnership will work together to improve forest health – a cornerstone of clean water and abundant wildlife habitat – and create exceptional recreational and outdoor opportunities across the state.
“The challenges we face transcend boundaries,” Chief Vicki Christiansen said. “This agreement strengthens and advances an already strong partnership between federal and state agencies in Washington state. Working together, we can ensure that we’re doing the right work at the right scale to improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and benefit local communities.”
“Wildfire, forest health, and habitat loss are not issues that respect property lines,” Commissioner Hilary Franz said. “To truly tackle our wildfire and forest health crisis, at the pace and scale this crisis demands, we need a strong partnership between Washington state and the USDA Forest Service. This agreement ensures that our response will be unified, well-coordinated, and deliver maximum benefit for the people.”
“Washington’s fish and wildlife are facing real challenges,” Kelly Susewind, WDFW Director, said. “Large-scale collaborations like this are critical if we are to preserve our native species. It is encouraging to have the state’s three largest landowners come together in this new agreement and work more effectively to promote healthy wildlife and ecosystems in Washington.”
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes a framework to allow the State of Washington and the USDA Forest Service to collaboratively advance shared priorities, coordinate investments, and implement projects on a landscape scale across Washington.
Under this Shared Stewardship strategy, agencies will focus on forest and watershed restoration projects that improve ecosystem health, reduce wildfire risks, and benefit fish and wildlife habitat, among other priorities.
The “Shared Stewardship” MOU is just the second of its kind in the nation, serving as a model for other states. Idaho was the first state to sign such an agreement (December of 2018).
The MOU builds on strong, existing partnerships, such as the Good Neighbor Authority agreement between DNR and USFS. Signed in 2017, the Good Neighbor Authority allows DNR to conduct forest health work on federal lands. A Good Neighbor Authority agreement with WDFW signed in January this year provides additional opportunities.
The agreement supports Washington state goals and existing plans, such as DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which will restore the health of 1.25 million acres of federal, state, private, and tribal forest.
By working together, the agencies will maximize resources and create the efficiencies needed to return Washington’s forests to health, which is a cornerstone to healthy wildlife habitat and clean water.
This partnership creates a unified voice on issues before Congress and the state Legislature.
SANDY, Ore. (May 7, 2019)– The Mt. Hood National Forest will host its annual Youth Fishing clinics May 18, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Hood River Ranger District and June 1, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Clackamas River Ranger District.
The May 18 clinic will be offered at the Middle Fork Irrigation Pond on Laurance Lake Rd., in Parkdale, Ore. This clinic designed for children 11 and under, although older teens, young adults, and parents are also invited to participate.
The June 1 clinic will be offered at the Small Fry Pond at North Fork Reservoir, located 7 miles south of Estacada, Ore. on Oregon Route 224. This clinic is intended for children 17 and under. Young adults and parents are also welcome.
Children attending the clinics will have the opportunity to fish with an expert angler and learn how to cast. Both clinics will include a wide array of activities, such as fish-related arts and crafts, fly-tying, a fishing derby, and other games with prizes donated by local businesses.
Educational displays will teach youth about the salmon life cycle and anatomy, aquatic insects, watersheds and aquatic ecosystems.
Refreshments will also be available at both events, courtesy of local businesses and partners!
“While this fun family event is an opportunity for kids to try their hand at fishing it also gets them outdoors where they can learn firsthand about fish and the importance of taking care of water resources,” Jane Dalgliesh, Fish Biologist for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said.
Children should bring lunch, warm clothing, a rod and reel if possible, and a cooler to bring home their catch of the day.
Limited quantities of rods and reels will be available for participants to use. Bait will be provided.
Please note: Children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Also, an Oregon State fishing license is required for partipants ages 12 years and older in order to fish, and must be purchased from the state or an authorized vendor prior to the event; fishing licenses will not be available for purchase at the clinic.
These clinics are being conducted by the Mt. Hood National Forest, in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, USFWS, and the Middle Fork Irrigation District.
For more information, interested participants may contact:
Jane Dalgliesh (June 1 event); at (503) 630-8801
Caitlin Scott (May 1 event); at (541) 352-1221
For even more national forest and forestry-related activities and events, check out our Your Northwest Forestscalendar!
SWEET HOME, Ore.(May 1, 2019) — Sweet Home Ranger District, Willamette National Forest have announced the 2019 guided forest interpretive tour dates, and registration for these activities is now open to the public.
These professionally-guided nature tours are a chance for visitors to learn more about the plants, animals, geology and cultural history of the Sweet Home area, located at the edge of the Willamette Valley, in the Cascade mountains, and tours typically fill quickly.
Most tours meet at the Sweet Home Ranger District Office and take approximately six hours, returning by 3 p.m (longer tours return by 5:30 p.m.). Transportation to and from trailheads or other start points is provided by the USDA Forest Service.
This year’s tour topics include general outdoor preparedness, wildflowers, and the history of the Kalapuya tribe in the Willamette Valley, as well as opportunities to make art in nature, paddle boarding, horseback riding, citizen science projects, and mountain biking.
Pre-registration is required. Most tours cost $10 per person ($5 for those with a senior or access pass), plus a $3 processing fee. Register via the National Recreation Reservation System at www.recreation.gov (search for “Sweet Home Nature and Heritage Tours”) or call (877) 444-6777 and press “1” for tours to make a reservation (ask for “Sweet Home Nature and Heritage Tours”).
These events are offered under the Recreation Fee Program authorized by The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Fees are collected to fund protection and enhancement of local historic sites for public use and enjoyment, and for the continuation of conservation education programs.
As an organization that has a value around interdependence, it is important for us to create experiences for peer-learning and building collective understanding around key concepts we want to move out on.
Recently, our Pacific Northwest regional leadership team had the amazing opportunity to learn side-by-side in an interactive forum with our district rangers, research and Washington Office colleagues, state partners, and some tribal representatives to explore what Shared Stewardship means, where it came from, and how it will apply to our work all the way down to the district level.
We have heard interest from other regions and stations so we hope we can soon expand our knowledge in this arena beyond even our own regional borders.
One of the things we explored was how Shared Stewardship may be a new term for many, but it is certainly not a new concept. The evolution toward Shared Stewardship represents the convergence of several factors over the last decades—new authorities and policies that govern our work, new and expanded science that informs it, and our own internal exploration and discovery of Who We Areand how we need to show up in community.
explored how our Shared Stewardship approach will build on the strength of our
existing partnerships and collaborative groups in the region that have matured
over this same time period. And we were clear that we will need to embrace new
ways of doing business and different ways of being.
Together we heard from our state partners directly and
learned how they are uniquely positioned to convene stakeholders across
communities to evaluate the needs and agree on cross-jurisdictional planning
areas. We started to lay out the vision
for our Oregon and Washington Shared Stewardship agreements that will be signed
with the states this spring and we discussed how to share decision space with
governors’ offices and state agencies to set broad priorities together based on
the holistic needs and values of our communities, state forest action plans and
other tools. We also worked in small
groups to workshop projects ideas at the state scale to not only meet our
essential timber volume and fuels acres treated goals, but also integrate them
with the our other priorities that our states, tribes and communities are
telling us are important, like recreation, access, and infrastructure.
Given the strong history of collaboration in our
region and the strength of our existing Good Neighbor Authority agreements, we also
spent some time exploring how Shared Stewardship is different and here’s what I
would offer on that account:
Shared Stewardship with the States will
elevate planning and decision-making from the national forest level to the
state-level when appropriate. Together Forest Service and the states will use
scenario planning tools to assess opportunities, risks and alternatives for
managing the risk, and set priorities for investments that will bring the most
bang for the buck.
It will use new and existing science to do
the right work in the right places at the right scale. Instead of random acts of restoration, we
will share decisions and place treatments where they can produce desired
outcomes at a meaningful scale.
It will take full advantage of our
capacity for shared stewardship across shared landscapes using all of our tools
and authorities for active management. We will work with the states and other
partners, including local communities, to choose the most appropriate tools
tailored to local conditions.
As we embrace Shared Stewardship, we are also being intentional in creating a safe, supportive and resilient work environment because it is a determining factor in our ability to invite others into shared stewardship work with us—and as the Chief says, that’s what Shared Stewardship is—an invitation.
Once the agreements are signed this spring, the region is exploring how to develop more forums and workshops alongside our state partners and with our on-the-ground workforce to start sharing the priorities and planning projects across boundaries, at scale that lead to real progress. So…stay tuned for more!
Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the agency’s Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6), visit: www.fs.usda.gov/r6.(Originally published April 10, 2019, at: https://www.fs.fed.us/blogs/leaders-perspective-shared-stewardship).
Corvallis, Ore.– March 18, 2019 – With the March 12 signing of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, President Donald Trump authorized designation of the Devils Staircase Wilderness and three Wild and Scenic rivers on the Siuslaw National Forest, along with number of other land conservation actions across the country.
These Congressional designations recognize the unique value and wild character of these special places and protect them in perpetuity.
Covering more than 30,000 acres, Devils Staircase Wilderness is a remote and rugged pocket of national forest located east of Reedsport, Ore.
Wasson and Franklin creeks, which received two of the river designations, flow through the this area to the Umpqua River.
The area has no trails, nor official access points.
The challenging terrain and decades-ago acknowledgement that the area was unsuitable for timber production is why Devils Staircase is one of the few remaining old growth refuges in the Oregon Coast Range.
This pristine tract of forest provides outstanding habitat for northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and coastal Coho salmon, all federally threatened species, along with other fish and wildlife.
“The Forest Service long ago recognized the ecological importance this area has in Coast Range,” Robert Sanchez, Siuslaw National Forest Supervisor, said. “With the new wilderness and wild and scenic designations, we will continue to manage this area as we have been, with a light touch that promotes the natural processes at work there and with minimal sign of man’s influence.”
The third Wild and Scenic River designation is a portion of the Nestucca River, which flows through the north end of the Siuslaw National Forest on the Hebo Ranger District.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 established a legal definition of wilderness and created a means by which Congress can ensure the wild character of special places will be preserved for future generations.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 established a tool for ensuring rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, or recreational value remain free-flowing, and that protections are in place to preserve the values for which it was designated, for the enjoyment by future generations.
The five-week government shutdown was a trying time for Forest Service employees and their families. Our partners, volunteers, permittees, and contractors were also impacted, as well as many businesses and communities closely tied to national forests and the work we do.
On behalf of the Forest Service employees across the Pacific Northwest, I want to thank everyone who stepped up to help and support our employees and the national forests during this challenging time.
We are grateful and touched by this outpouring of support. Citizens and businesses offered assistance to help employees make ends meet and care for their families.
State and local agencies chipped in to help protect and maintain recreation sites.
Dedicated volunteers came out in droves and partners carried on our shared conservation work.
Times like this underscore the importance of shared stewardship. Our shared commitment to public lands – and each other – drives everything we do.
Today, we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before.
The opportunities and challenges we face transcend boundaries and impact people beyond the jurisdiction of any single agency or organization.
That’s why we are committed to working across boundaries in shared stewardship with states, partners, and local communities to support each other and accomplish shared objectives.
We’re glad to be back at work doing what we love – caring for the land and serving people.
We are currently assessing the shutdown’s impacts and determining how best to adjust to ensure we continue to deliver the services the public expects.
We will engage our partners and local communities in these conversations as we adapt and move forward together.
Service is one of our bedrock values.
We are heartened and humbled to know that when the need arises, our communities, partners, and the public we serve are here for us, too.
We thank you wholeheartedly for your support and look forward to continuing our work together in shared stewardship.
Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the agency’s Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6), visit: www.fs.usda.gov/r6.
The Washington Trails Association recently re-posted an interview with Yewah Lau, district ranger for Hood Canal Ranger District, on the Olympic National Forest, to highlight their “Thank a Ranger” campaign.
Yewah Lau spoke to the association’s member magazine about diversity, and the values that brought her to a career with the agency, in 2017.
Would you like to show your thanks and appreciation for a forest ranger through WTA? Read the article online at https://www.wta.org/news/signpost/the-changing-face-of-the-national-forest-1, then fill out the “thank you” form at the end of the page to express your thanks and pledge to thank a ranger on the trail during your next forest visit (please note: filling out the form discloses your email address and may result in additional emails from WTA).
From the article:
As the local decision-maker for the happenings on the east side of the peninsula, from Sequim to past Hoodsport and along some of its south side, her role is all-encompassing: recreation, vegetation and wildlife management, working with local staff and specialists to help protect resources, and interacting with and creating opportunities for the public.
Yewah deals with big complex multi-stakeholder issues, working with diverse factions, like elected officials, community groups and local tribes, something that she finds extremely fulfilling…
“I have met women who were the first: the first wildlife biologist in their forest or office, or the first firefighter … I feel like I’m following in their footsteps.”
Ultimately, though, Yewah’s work is driven by an overarching principle:
“Our obligation is to protect natural resources, wildlife and watersheds. We have a mission that is unique and complex because we’re serving the American public and also trying to find the best combination of what all of those values are.”