Woman looks up tree
Great Peninsula Conservancy. Photo credit: John F. Williams


Washington’s forests are the iconic foundation for our incredible state

Washington’s expansive and productive forests are fundamental to our natural resource economy and rural livelihoods. In addition, our forested watersheds are critical for the clean water and habitat that supports many of our state’s most iconic and endangered species. And last but not least, our forests serve as key recreational destinations that drive our thriving outdoor industry. 
 Despite these benefits, Washington loses many thousands of acres of working forestland every year to fragmentation, and hundreds of acres of ecologically significant forests are converted to homes and commercial development. In addition, climate change has accelerated the size and frequency of wildfires in the state, placing our rural homeowners and frontline communities at tremendous risk.

 

The members of the Forest Affinity Group are committed to developing strategies to address the multiple challenges forests face in Washington. We do this by advocating for robust public funding, developing creative financing strategies, supporting landscape partnerships, and much more.
                 
Together, we envision a future that maximizes the economic, ecological, and social benefits of forestland in Washington.

In this future, large tracts of productive working forestland are protected from fragmentation and eventual conversion; community stakeholders have a voice in how public forest resources are used; local, state, and federal partners collaborate across boundaries to ensure diverse, connected, and resilient forests provide for fish and wildlife; and people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities are able to access the mental, physical, and cultural benefits of time in the woods.

Project Highlights


2018 – After local developers started converting timberlands into subdivisions, the Columbia Land Trust stepped in with a plan. They created a partnership with Skamania County and Pope Resources with a goal of placing 85% of the 24,000-acre holding into multiple conservation efforts. As such, this project completed multiple goals simultaneously. Conservation of this land held steady encroaching development, sustained forestry jobs and provided critical habitat to iconic Pacific Northwest wildlife including the bald eagle, gray wolf, northern spotted owl, and wolverine. This land also encompasses a creek and major tributary, which secures some of the last remaining habitat for endangered bull trout in Washington State.

Skookum Creek by Whatcom Land Trust
Photo credit: Whatcom Land Trust, Dennis Miner and Michael Dyrland

2018 – Between Whatcom and Skagit Counties there is one of last remaining uninterrupted tracts of land that crosses the foothills of the Cascades all the way to the Puget Sound.  Known as the Cascades to Chuckanuts Conservation Corridor (C2C), it’s critical for the region’s fish and wildlife.  Skookum Creek is a central feature and is known as the largest cold water tributary to the South Fork Nooksack River.  Whatcom Land Trust holds conservation easements on Skookum Creek as well as downstream waters, including Edfro Creek, Port Blakely I&II, Nesset Farm and Christie Creek. To date, Whatcom Land Trust’s acquisition of 1,400 acres in the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor will be the largest contiguous land conservation in the C2C. Ultimately, the results of this work will be improved water quality, increased habitat connectivity and enhanced wildlife and human quality of life. 

Nisqually Community Forest by Nisqually Land Trust
Photo credit: Daniel Codina

2018 – The Nisqually Community Forest project started back in 2011, with the seller, Hancock Timber Resource Group. The Nisqually Land Trust met with Nisqually Watershed stakeholders for discussion about future plans for the sprawling watershed. In 2013,  the group completed Phase I of the project and released a summary report outlining the mission and next steps.  They envisioned a working forest of upwards of 30,000 acres that sustainably provided the watershed with forest products, recreation, education, and job opportunities along with improved water quality, protected wildlife habitat, and sequestering of carbon. The purchase of these acres was made possible in part by grant funding from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Program and the Washington Salmon Recovery Board, administered by the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, and the Pierce County Conservation Futures program. The Conservation Fund also saved the day with a substantial, eleventh-hour loan. 

Trillium Creek Forest by Whidbey Camano Land Trust
Photo credit: Ahmad Kadhim
2011 – The story of how Whidbey Camano Land Trust successfully conserved the Trillium Community Forest is the story of how strong community support overcome seemingly impossible odds. When the foreclosure sign went up on the 654 acres on a ridge in Whidbey Island, Whidbey Camano Land Trust knew it was a chance to create a permanently protected community forest. In recent years, the property had been logged repeatedly and was once slated for dense development.  However, once the land trust signed an “Option to Purchase” agreement the clock began ticking and they had only 120 days to raise over $ 4 million.  These acres now provide public access to hiking and riding trails, corridors for wildlife, and protection for the headwaters of three watersheds.
Forest Affinity Group
Chelan Douglas Land Trust
Columbia Land Trust
Jefferson Land Trust
Great Peninsula Conservancy
Kittitias Conservation Trust
Forterra
Okanogan Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Nisqually Land Trust
North Olympic Land Trust
Skagit Land Trust
The Trust for Public Land
Whatcom Land Trust
Whidbey Camano Land Trust