I have been meaning to use more video to tell our story. Here’s my first shot at doing that. This is the active management portion of the Era of Megafires presentation that Paul Hessburg with the Pacific Northwest Research Station put together with North40 Productions, both from Wenatchee, Washington. Vaagen Bros contributed much of the raw video.
I was interviewed along with Mike Petersen, Executive Director of The Lands Council. As you will see in the video, Mike and his organization were not supporters of active management during the time known as the “Timber Wars”. However, due to consistent collaboration with other community members in Northeast Washington, there is a new way of managing the Colville National Forest. Mike and I believe that we are getting closer to fixing many of the problems of the past to create a new future for our forests and rural communities that depend on them.
I recently spent another full day of meetings with Mike and the rest of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (NEWFC) leadership. We have been working for some time to broaden the community participation. The last six months has seen the development of a Tri-County (Ferry-Stevens-Pend Oreille) Forest Group that includes the commissioners from all three counties as well as a number of different stakeholders. It’s so great to see the work that we have poured in for the last 15 years finally start to expand.
We are developing new relationships based on trust and respect. It is our sincere hope that we can create an even deeper rooted model of collaboration that can help change the way we do business in and around our forests. Not only focused on forestry, but include all recreation types, special use permits like grazing and ski areas, and help solve some of these long standing issues. Helping our Forest Service understand the needs of the people and bringing new resources to bear to get more work done is what collaboration is all about.
Progress might be slow, but we continue to push. This time we may have momentum.