National Forest Foundation Programs
The recreational treasures of National Forests include:
- 148,295 miles of trails
- 9,126 miles of scenic byways
- 4,418 miles of wild and scenic rivers, and
- 5,107 campgrounds
With millions of acres in need of restoration and millions of people unaware of how National Forests enrich their lives, the NFF set forth on a national campaign of restoration. We are working to restore our damaged forests and Americans’ connection to these public lands.
Within Washington State we are working to support key restoration needs at numerous sites along I-90, the popular recreation corridor. Here we are targeting forest and watershed restoration via invasive plant removal, a critical component to restoring ecological integrity. This work also includes a youth engagement component that provides opportunities to diverse youth from the Puget Sound region to experience the wonders of the forest through hands-on learning and stewardship activities. For instance, at Gold Creek Pond we provided a stewardship opportunity for mildly autistic youth to learn about and remove oxeye daisy, a common invasive plant in the area.
We also offer a technical assistance program through Conservation Connect, a learning network for collaboration serving community based groups involved in collaborative stewardship on National Forest lands. Through this program we provide facilitation and direct capacity building support, and foster peer-to-peer learning to promote objectives of collaborative forest stewardship.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
For the past 2 years the NFF has partnered with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to enhance youth service-learning activities on the forest. Staff worked with diverse urban youth, who might not otherwise have a chance to access national forest lands. In 2011 we reached over 700 youth and community members who contributed over 3,600 volunteer hours on the forest.
Nearly 75% of participating youth had never before visited a national forest or participated in a volunteer stewardship project prior to this program. In addition to providing these young people with the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the forest, this innovative partnership resulted in 30,000 sq. ft. of invasive plant removal, 2 tons of trash removed, 7,640 ft. of trail maintained and 1,320 ft. of new trail built, and other important stewardship accomplishments.
In 2012 the NFF will publically launch a national conservation campaign aimed at revitalizing our National Forest lands. We will select 14 sites across the country to support and restore. We have dedicated the Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest as our campaign focus in Washington State. Our efforts here will help support rehabilitation of anadromous fish habitat, reduce the risk of wildfire and lessen the impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, and enhance sustainable recreation facilities so critical to the economy of the region. This work will be done in coordination with local partners to ensure a lasting legacy of stewardship.