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Treasured Landscapes | Unforgettable Experiences

www.nationalforests.org WINTER – SPRING 2010

WONDERS ABOVE GROUND AND BELOW IN ARKANSASʼ O ARKS

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FIRST TIME

SNOWSHOEING THE COLORADO TRAIL

O F F I C I A L M AGA Z I N E O F T H E N AT I O N A L F O R E S T F O U N DAT I O N


help us help kids

make the outdoor connection The future of our National Forests depends upon new generations of people who love and help care for our country’s treasured wild places. As an organization dedicated to the long-term health and vitality of our great outdoors, the National Forest Foundation has made a commitment to giving kids more opportunities to connect with these inspiring places, through outdoor fun, skill-building and education.

Together with renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman, we’ve come up with a way that anyone can join in this effort.

The National Forest Foundation is proud to offer this commemorative print, Family Hike, to you for a contribution of $117.95 (matted & framed) or $79.95 (matted only). Each print is signed and dated by the artist.

We’re proud to soar with such great company.

To place your order, please visit: http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=11138 Or for more information contact: Debbie Snyder 1-866-773-4633, ext. 19 or dsnyder@nationalforests.org

With our Charity Miles program, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ members can donate their airline miles to a charity of their choice — like the National Forest Foundation. It’s one way to make generosity go a lot further — or in our case, higher. iStockPhoto.com / Steve Cole

All proceeds will support the NFF’s More Kids in the Woods fund—giving children opportunities to discover all the beauty, excitement and surprises waiting outdoors.


INSIDE THIS EDITION

INSIDE THIS EDITION

4 Welcome

Our forests’ role in climate change

DEPARTMENTS 5 Volunteer Perspective Youth corps in Illinois

6 Forest News

Updates from our National Forests

8 Tree Spotlight Ash tree

14 Ski Conservation Fund One dollar goes a long way

Photos by Sara Tucker; Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition; iStockPhoto.com / Clint Spencer

Photo by iStockPhoto.com / Cynthia Baldauf

INTRODUCTIONS

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Unforgettable Experiences

A Reluctant Snowshoer Hits the Colorado Trail

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Voices from the Forest

15 Field Reports

Finding Common Ground

National Forest Foundation partners in action

21 Outdoor Health

Staying well in winter

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26 Conservation Leaders Professor inspired by nature

Featured Forest

30 Kids & Nature

Children’s forest inspires tomorrow’s leaders

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31 Corporate Partners

Companies team up with NFF to be good stewards

32 Forest Perspectives Bridger Bowl Ski Area retires Korean war avalanche rie

Conservation

Place-Based Conservation Goes to Washington

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

YOUR NATIONAL FORESTS

Business Development Jeff Olson 406-542-2805, x17

Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Schoonen

NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION

OfďŹ cial Magazine of the National Forest Foundation

Consulting Editor John Frandsen Contributors Heidi V. Anderson, John Frandsen, Lloyd McGee, Joe Meade, Charles Money, Martin Nie, Mike Petersen, William J. Possiel, Jennifer Schoonen, Kassia Randzio, Jennifer Sublett, Buck Tilton, Jenna Williams Graphic Artist Jennifer Frandsen, Old Town Creative Communications, LLC

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Building 27, Suite 3, Fort Missoula Road Missoula, Montana 59804 406-542-2805

We welcome your letters and feedback, however, we cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or materials. Š 2010 National Forest Foundation and Old Town Creative Communications, LLC. No unauthorized reproduction of this material is allowed.

ABOUT THE COVER PHOTO

Š 2009 Casey Day / Colorado Ski Photography Skier: Trevor Gagstetter Location: Arapahoe Basin’s Falcon Run. In the background are Black Mountain (13,193’) and Grizzly Peak (13,427’).

Your National Forests magazine is printed on recycled paper with 30% post-consumer content. This magazine’s FSC certiďŹ cation ensures the highest environmental and social standards have been followed in the wood sourcing, paper manufacturing and print production of this magazine. To learn more log on to www.fsc.org.

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WELCOME

VOLUNTEER PERSPECTIVE

By Bill Possiel, NFF President

In 1992, I attended the United Nations Convention on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro. Participating helped form my conservation ethic in ways I would not have imagined. In attendance were 172 governments, with 108 sending their heads of state or government. Some 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended, with 17,000 people at the parallel NGO “Global Forum,” which had consultative status. Out of that conference came the first Climate Change Convention, which would lead to the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 with targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. That protocol has been signed by 187 nations. I write this column on the day that the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen begins and the global community once again attempts to come together to address one of the most challenging issues of our time. Many hope for an ambitious, sweeping successor agreement to Kyoto that will capitalize on pledges by countries to fight global warming. So what does this have to do with your National Forests? Our forests now store enough carbon to offset about 16 percent of the nation’s fossil fuel emissions, but “that number could be

YOUR NATIONAL FORESTS

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William J. Possiel, President Mary Mitsos, Vice President Jeff Olson, Vice President Board of Directors Executive Committee Chairman, John Hendricks Founder and Chairman, Discovery Communications Inc. (MD) Vice Chairman, Craig R. Barrett CEO/Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation (AZ), Retired Vice Chairman, David Bell Operating Advisor Pegasus Capital Advisors (NY) & Advisor to Google Inc. Treasurer, Bradley K. Johnson CAO, CFO, Recreational Equipment Inc., Retired (WA) Secretary, Timothy Proctor Schieffelin Source Capital Group (CT) Committee Member, Peter Foreman Sirius LP (IL) Tiki Barber, Chairman, Tiki Ventures LLC (NY); Hal Brierley, Chairman and CEO, Brierley+Partners (TX); Coleman Burke, President, Waterfront Properties (NY); Robert Cole, Partner, Collins Cockrel & Cole, P.C. (CO); Bart Eberwein, Vice President, Hoffman Construction Co. (OR); Robert Feitler, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Weyco Group Inc. (IL); Scott Fossel, Jackson (WY); Lee Fromson, Vice President of Gear and Apparel, Recreational Equipment Inc. (WA); Robert Katz, CEO, Vail Resorts (CO); Thomas Tidwell, Ex-Officio, Chief, USDA Forest Service (DC); Jeff Paro, CEO, InterMedia Outdoors (NY); Susan Schnabel, Managing Director, Credit-Suisse (CA); Chad Weiss, Managing Director, JOG Capital Inc. (WY); James C. Yardley, President, El Paso Pipeline Group (TX) The official magazine of the National Forest Foundation, Your National Forests magazine, is published twice yearly by Old Town Creative Communications LLC and the National Forest Foundation. Copyright © 2010 Your National Forests Magazine, Old Town Creative Communications LLC and National Forest Foundation. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Printed in U.S.A. on 100% recycled paper containing 30% post-consumer content and using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and processes that adhere to the highest social and environmental standards. Please recycle or pass on to a friend.

The NFF’s Carbon Capital Funds supports tree-planting and carbon offset projects.

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National Forest Foundation Building 27, Suite 3, Fort Missoula Road Missoula, Montana 59804 406-542-2805

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Photos courtesy of Shawnee National Forest

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS BEGIN AT HOME

reduced or even reversed if wildfires and insect infestation continue to increase,” says Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. The agency is trying to manage forests to combat climate change, while still reducing the risk of wildfires that have increased in frequency and intensity, in part as a result of global warming. The National Forest Foundation is doing its part by increasing public awareness and involving people in seeking solutions to the challenges our National Forests face. Through our Carbon Capital Fund, we are working to sequester carbon through reforestation, management and third-party monitoring. And through our Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign, we are working to restore native forests and grasslands so that they are resilient to climate change, continue to store carbon and provide many other benefits. When the Kyoto Protocol was being negotiated, the environmental community was adamantly opposed to including forests in the protocol. In Copenhagen, the global environmental community agrees that forests must be included in negotiations. And while much of the discussion focuses on tropical forests, there is so much to do here in the United States. Your National Forests are natural assets of exceptional value. They harbor native fish and wildlife, store carbon, supply fresh clean water, and provide enjoyment for millions. It is the National Forest Foundation’s privilege to work with the Forest Service, hundreds of nonprofit partners and the American public to care for these extraordinary places and help ensure that they continue to be part of the solution.

STRETCHING PERSONAL LIMITS IN AN

ILLINOIS WILDERNESS By Jennifer Sublett, Shawnee National Forest

The challenge? … Camp in a southern (weekends were spent at a local hunting Illinois wilderness for six weeks and work lodge). Rachel openly admitted it was to build and restore portions of the River challenging, “getting used to the wilderness. to River Trail (aka the American Discovery I’ve never really been out in the forest Trail) plus other often-used forest trails. camping.” As the initial orientation to the Not a project for the weak or faint at forest and the project unfolded each time, heart. Yet AmeriCorps *NCCC (National it was apparent that every crew member Civilian Community Corps) crews recently was nervous or at least unsure about set down temporary roots in southern what to expect from the challenges of the Illinois for the purposes of impacting projects and living in a tent, but equally change and learning about themselves and up for stretching personal limits to lend a their potential for growth. hand in the Shawnee. AmeriCorps is a federally funded and On any given day, crews would hike to highly regarded service program for adults the project and build trail, install water of all ages and backgrounds that began after bars and causeways, grade dips, construct President Bill Clinton retaining walls, and haul signed the National gravel by hand. When Community Service a crew is not working Trust Act of 1993. on trail rehabilitation, AmeriCorps members Forest Service represerve 10-12 months at sentatives provide them one location or various with outdoor education locations, depending that focused on survival upon the AmeriCorps skills, map and comprogram type. pass, sensory awareness Rachel, Keegan, Anna, activities, and nature and Amy are among observation. Members dozens of young people An AmeriCorps volunteer gives her learn to carry a backfrom AmeriCorps hosted all using a crosscut saw in the Clear pack properly, set up a by the Shawnee National Springs Wilderness. tent, dig a cathole, cook Forest in the past 18 a one-pot meal over a months. As crew member Keegan eloquently camp stove, and practice the principles of put it, “It’s definitely the most physically Leave No Trace. challenging project we’ve ever had. It’s a By the end of the three project periods, lot of hard work.” He was quick to add, crew members possessed a host of skills however, “This project was one that was they could continue to call upon when highly sought after by a lot of teams”—a they return to their “normal” lives. Anna, sentiment repeated for each of the three from the third round, attested to the skills rounds of crews that so far have participated learned on the Shawnee when she proudly in the “Shawnee Experience.” Amy, a crew stated, “I have been hiking several times and member from the first round, pointed out it’s been impossible to ignore the work that that she, “also learned a lot about [herself ] has gone into the trails that I have enjoyed and about working as a team in a different hiking on.” environment.” Southern Illinois is a rural area steeped So, what is the appeal of this Shawnee in tradition, tight family bonds, and National Forest project for AmeriCorps beautiful scenery with a Midwestern crews? A majority of the three crews’ flair. The Shawnee National Forest sits in members had little to absolutely no extreme southern Illinois and is comprised experience with camping, let alone in a of more than 280,000 acres. While the backcountry setting for weeks on end acreage is small, the opportunities packed www.nationalforests.org

Teamwork is a must for AmeriCorps volunteers using a rock basket to transport large rocks around.

within provide hiking, hunting, boating, equestrian, and camping experiences for many. The forest boasts seven designated wilderness areas, classified wild and scenic rivers, rolling hills, high overlooks, and more biological diversity than the Smoky Mountains. Maintaining the lands of the Shawnee for use and enjoyment on a limited budget has brought out the best in local, regional, and national citizens; the Shawnee Volunteer Corps has witnessed an increase in the number of volunteers that want to make a positive impact. Volunteer hours contributed during the 2009 fiscal year will surpass 11,500. The Shawnee National Forest is glad for the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and eager AmeriCorps crews and hopes to host a repeat performance in the spring of 2010!

With rogue hoe in hand, an AmeriCorps volunteer cuts trail in the Lusk Creek Wilderness.

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FOREST

NEWS

FOREST

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SHARES

NEW VISION FOR AMERICAʼS FORESTS

“Our nation’s forestlands, both public and private, are environmental and economic assets that are in critical need of restoration and conservation...” In his first major address regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined a collaborative vision for the management and restoration of the nation’s forests. “It is time for a change in the way we view and manage America’s forestlands with an eye towards the future,” Vilsack said. “This will require a new approach that engages the American people and stakeholders in conserving and restoring both our National Forests and our privately-owned forests. It is essential that we reconnect Americans

across the nation with the natural resources and landscapes that sustain us.” Vilsack’s vision includes cross-boundary management—an “all-lands approach”— that would facilitate closer collaboration with the Forest Service, other land management agencies and private landowners. He also emphasized the need for restoration, particularly to protect the country’s water resources. Nearly 87 percent of all the country’s fresh water supply originates from forests and agricultural lands, and more than 200 million people rely on their drinking

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

PUERTO RICAN PARROT BEGINS MAKING A COMEBACK

The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) is the only native parrot under U.S. jurisdiction.

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Just 24 Puerto Rican parrots existed in 1967 when this resident of El Yunque National Forest was declared an endangered species. Today, thanks to Forest Service cooperation with other agencies, 53-60 wild parrots are split between El Yunque and a state forest, with approximately 240 captive parrots living in two aviaries. Habitat loss from deforestation tops the list of a number of factors leading to the parrot’s demise. Hurricanes, hunting, nest robbing, natural and nonnative predators have all added to the parrot’s decline. Staff of the El Yunque National Forest have aided recovery efforts through pre- and post-breeding surveys. They climbed high in the forest canopy to install manmade nesting cavity structures to better track and

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protect the parrots. Traps were set around the nests to keep rats and mongoose from stealing the parrots’ eggs. The brilliant green parrots with their white-ringed eyes and vivid red facial band are native to Puerto Rico and found nowhere else in the world. Ensuring their future will protect a symbol of Puerto Rico’s natural and cultural history in the National Forest System’s only tropical rain forest.

Top Left Photo iStockPhoto.com / Aimin Tang; Top Right Photo by iStockPhoto.com / Alicja Bochenek; Center Photo Courtesy USDA Forest Service; Bottom Photo Courtesy The American Chestnut Foundation

water from public and private forests and grasslands. “Our nation’s forestlands, both public and private, are environmental and economic assets that are in critical need of restoration and conservation,” Vilsack said. “By using a collaborative management approach with a heavy focus on restoring these natural resources, we can make our forests more resilient to climate change, protect water resources, and improve forest health while creating jobs and opportunities.”

Main Photo by iStockPhoto.com / Missing35mm; Vilsack Photo Courtesy USDA; Parrot Photo Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service

Animas River Gorge in the Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan National Forest, Colorado

NEWS

SCIENTISTS RESTORE HOPE

IN EFFORTS TO SAVE THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT TREE Mt. Hood will be featured on an “America the Beautiful” quarter.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

QUARTERS WILL

HONOR FOREST SITES The United States Mint is honoring 56 national sites—including some of our National Forests—through the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program. In 2010, the first year of the program, the agency will mint commemorative quarters honoring national parks in Arkansas, Wyoming, California and Arizona, along with the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon. “These new quarters will honor some of our most revered, treasured and beautiful national sites—majestic and historic places located throughout the United States and its territories that truly make us ‘America the Beautiful’,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “The designs will help reinvigorate interest in our national parks, forests, fish and wildlife refuges, and other national sites, as well as educate the public about their importance to us and our history.” The coins are available through several online subscription programs. Beginning in 2010, the designs on the reverse side of the quarters will rotate five times each year, with the final (56th) coin in the series being released in 2021. Over the program’s lifetime, other National Forest sites to be honored include El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, and the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. For more information about the America the Beautiful quarters, visit www.usmint.

In 2008, scientists secretly planted 500 blight-resistant American chestnut trees in three National Forests in Southern could help in the efforts Appalachia. More than a year later, the to re-establish these iconic trees have survived well in the wild and trees throughout their native landscape. the scientists are hopeful for a chestnut According to scientists involved with the comeback. project, the success of the The American chestnut chestnut project also may lead once ranged from Maine to to solutions for other native Mississippi—giants up to tree species threatened 80 feet tall that provided by insects and disease. a major source of food for While the research still wildlife. In addition, the tree has several years to prove the served as an important part blight-resistant trees’ ability of the Appalachian culture to survive long-term in the and commerce. By the early forest, American Chestnut 1950s, to the detriment of Foundation President Bryan wildlife populations and This newly planted blightBurhans called the plantings, local economies, chestnut resistant tree is 88% American “a success story in the field of trees were nearly eliminated chestnut. ecological restoration.” from the landscape due to an To learn more, visit the exotic fungus from Asia called the chestnut U.S. Forest Service’s American chestnut web blight. site at www.fs.fed.us/r8/chestnut. Cutting-edge genetic research now offers the promise that a blight-resistant chestnut Massive American chestnut trees were an important part of Appalachian culture. Attempts are being made to bring them back.

gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/ index.cfm.

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TREE SPOTLIGHT

TREE SPOTLIGHT

By Jenna Williams

HOMETOWN TREE THREATENED BY EXOTIC BEETLE For many of us, childhood would not have been childhood without the experience of climbing a tree. Though you might have never stopped to distinguish the type of tree, there’s a good chance that at some point the sturdy trunk of an ash held you in your favorite perch above the ground.

Ash trees—any of the 45-65 species in the genus Fraxinus—are among the most popular of ornamental trees in America’s communities. Sixteen species of ash are found in North America, with heights typically reaching 40-70 feet. Tough and strong while still flexible and lightweight, ash wood properties (particularly white ash) make it popular for a variety of commercial products. Baseball bats and tool handles top the list of items made from ash, which also includes electric guitar bodies, drum shells, canoe paddles, snowshoes, furniture and flooring. The ash’s importance and popularity aren’t new, however. In Norse mythology, the “World Tree,” Yggdrasil, was an ash whose trunk ran through the center of the earth, holding the cosmos together, and whose crown arched over the globe. Yggdrasil was believed to be the central source of nourishment and existence.

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In some British cultures, ash filled many medicinal roles, especially for children. Newborn babies were often given a small dose of ash sap to ward off evil, and when a child became ill or hurt, it was believed he or she would be cured if delivered through a cleft of an ash tree. Elsewhere in Europe, it was believed that ash trees could ward off snakes. Additionally, herbal medicine administers ash sap, bark, or leaves in remedies for edema, jaundice, earache, toothache, snakebites, and wounds. The juice of crushed ash leaves relieves the swelling and itch of mosquito bites. The diversity among ash species allows the genus to prosper in a variety of environments. In relatively dry, upland areas you’re more likely to find blue ash. Black ash, with its shallow root system, prefers swampy woodlands and regularly flooded regions. Green

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Photos this page by bugwood.org / David Cappaert (Mich. State Univ.); Howard Russell (Mich. State Univ.); James W. Smith (USDA APHIS PPQ)

AMERICAʼS

ash is favored for urban and suburban landscaping. And white ash thrives in many eastern hardwood forests. While some trees can be “all male” (bearing no seeds) or “all female,” some individuals possess both genders and can even change, from year to year, which branches bear seeds and which do not. Seeds are carried in wing- or paddle-shaped husks (sometimes referred to as “helicopter seeds”) known as samaras, which grow in clusters and are transported mainly via wind after they dry out and fall from the tree. The tree’s large vascular vessels just beneath the bark have unfortunately made it possible for an unwelcome visitor to set up camp among millions of ash trees in

Photo Top Left iStockPhoto.com / Michael Hieber; Top Right bugwood.org / PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources; Bottom Left iStockPhoto.com / Elena Solodovnikova; Bottom Rght iStockPhoto.com / Jan Will

Ash byproducts of baseball bat production are sold as firewood.

SIGNS OF EMERALD ASH BORER

“D-shaped” holes in the ash tree’s bark (Left hole) Woodpecker damage (Right hole; EAB larvae make a tasty treat for these birds.) Epicormic branching (branches that protrude directly out of the main stem) www.emeraldashborer.info

North America. The emerald ash borer (EAB)—or Agrilus planipennis—is believed to have traveled overseas to the United States in the early 1990s, via wood packing

materials from Asia. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002, and has since been identified in ash stands in 11 states. It’s not the adult borers themselves—metallic green beetles about one-half-inch long— that pose the major threat, but the larvae, which graze through the phloem and outer sapwood, injuring the tree’s system of water and nutrient transportation. As the larvae munch through the ash tree, they carve an expansive, grooving pathway that becomes larger as their bodies grow. When the larvae have matured into adults, they surface, leaving a “D-shaped” hole in the outer bark. The danger that the emerald ash borer poses to North American ash trees is substantial, considering the near 100 percent mortality rate of EAB-infested ash trees in areas of Michigan and Ohio. Since the insect’s discovery in North America, scientists estimate over 20 million ash trees have died from EAB damage. Although adult beetles are capable of migrating into adjacent ash stands through flight, the more concerning issue is the accidental

An apparently healthy tree is covered with galleries of emerald ash borer.

spread of the insect through human transport of firewood and other products. For this reason, ash-related inspections and quarantines in certain states are not uncommon, and people are cautioned not to transport ash firewood or other unfinished products that might spread the insects. So whether you’re dipping a paddle in the river, swinging a bat, or revisiting the tree climbs of your youth, give a nod to the loyal ash and do your part to help ensure its future.

PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL TRIBUTE,

THAT LEAVES A LASTING LEGACY.

Many of our lives are enriched by time spent savoring our National Forests. Through memorial or honoraria gifts, the National Forest Foundation offers a wonderful way to commemorate those experiences in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special occasion. The National Forest Foundation puts your tribute gifts to work caring for the waters, wildlife habitats and wild places treasured by your loved ones— perpetuating a legacy to be enjoyed long into the future. The NFF will notify the designated person(s) you specify regarding your gift on behalf of their loved one or special occasion. Tribute gifts and the honoree or special occasion will be recognized in our annual report. To learn more or to establish a tribute gift, please contact:

May my life be like a great hospitable tree, and may weary wanderers find in me a rest. ~ John Henry Jowett

Deborah Snyder: 406-542-2805 ext. 19 • dsnyder@nationalforests.org • www.nationalforests.org

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UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

Join the thousands of volunteers who play a part in helping to care for your National Forests everyday. If youʼre one of the millions who love to camp, hike, ski, hunt, fish, or paddle, we invite you to stay informed and get involved.

These forests belong to each of us. With use comes a responsibility to care for your National Forests. How will you exercise that responsibility? As a Friend of the Forest, weʼll show you how. Become a Friend of the Forest at www.nationalforests.org.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at:

www.facebook.com/nationalforestfoundation www.twitter.com/nationalforests

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Top Photo by Heidi Anderson; Bottom Photo by Sara Tucker

BE A FRIEND TO YOUR FORESTS

A RELUCTANT SNOWSHOER HITS THE COLORADO TRAIL By Heidi V. Anderson

Story reprinted with permission of Front Range Living – www.frontrangeliving.com.

To some, snowshoeing conjures up images of peacefully making one’s way through serene forests and blissfully getting in touch with one’s inner self. Not me. To me, snowshoeing means one thing: work. Having never been on snowshoes, I pictured myself struggling along, feet clamped in oversized tennis racket-like contraptions, cursing as I fell yet again into deep powder, while sweat trickled from my stinky armpits all the way down onto my frostbitten toes. Not what you might call an encouraging image. But when my editor suggested a “snowshoeing along the Colorado Trail” story, I thought, why not? I’m athletic, I know people who love it, and I’d be able to get my dog out for some exercise while trying something new. So here’s how a reluctant snowshoer-to-be actually learned to enjoy her first trek. A Trail for Everyone In 1973, the U.S. Forest Service gathered groups devoted to the Colorado outdoors and recommended a trail of 468 miles stretching from Denver to Durango. The Colorado Trail would challenge devoted hikers but also provide shorter segments for families and less avid enthusiasts. The

project gathered steam, run mostly by volunteers. By 1987 trails were linked into a continuous hike. The Colorado Trail is divided into 28 segments. Some intrepid hikers cover the entire route that spans national forests, wilderness areas, mountain ranges and rivers. Many choose one segment, perhaps a section most conducive to the weather or natural beauty of the area. I started, appropriately enough, at the bottom: finding a pair of snowshoes. I told my housemate about my assignment, and two days later I received an email from one of her friends. Her friend is a rep for Atlas Snowshoes, and she had heard that I was writing an article. Would I be interested in

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demoing some snowshoes? Now, I’m not a gear hound, but the idea of using some super-duper fancy titanium or whatever material intrigued me. But as it turned out, the point was moot, because the shoes weren’t available the day I ended up going. So I called my editor, who said I could use her husband’s shoes. I learned that snowshoes go by weight, so it didn’t really matter that they were a man’s shoe (although the Atlas rep would probably be able to argue convincingly otherwise). And while maybe it’s a little embarrassing to tell my weight, I also learned that I could blame it on an 80-pound pack (okay, slight exaggeration) and heavy winter clothing. So I stopped by and picked up a pair of snowshoes, some ski poles in case I needed them, and some gaiters. Great; I could check that off the list. Next, it was on to companionship. My border collie, Poe, goes almost everywhere outdoors with me, but I figured I’d probably enjoy snowshoeing with a human companion as well, so I called up my friend Sara. Sure, she was game, and she even had her own snowshoes and her own dog. Along with someone to talk with, it was nice to know that Sara could show me the ropes in case of disaster.

Heidi and her border collie, Poe, enjoy their first snowshoeing adventure along the Colorado Trail.

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UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

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uncomfortable, and not so cold that we’d be shivering and uncomfortable. It was in the 40s, with sunshine and a few flurries. We strapped on our gear after a few miscues on my part. Apparently you don’t need special boots—I was in hiking boots—but it helps to have gaiters, which keep any determined snowflakes from finding their way inside your shoes. I put on the gaiters, not realizing until we were on our way that I had them on the wrong way. (FYI, zippers should go on the inside of the leg, not the outside.) It didn’t seem to matter, though, as they kept my feet dry just the same.

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Finding the Trail Sara and I hopped in the car one Thursday morning in January and, after a quick, nutritious lunch, we drove over to the trailhead. The weather was ideal; warm and sunny enough to see some great scenery, not so hot that we’d be sweating and

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somewhat deserted in the winter, especially on a weekday afternoon, and we were sure to see some fantastic views. Plus, Steve added offhandedly, there’s less chance of avalanche danger. Did he say “avalanche”? I hadn’t even thought about avalanches. Was this something else I should worry about, along with using someone else’s shoes and keeping my dog close to me at all times? No, not where we were going. While it’s always wise to be aware of avalanche danger in the high country, the conditions in that area at that time weren’t conducive to avalanches. Phew. Okay, I had it all together: a plan, the right equipment, and the necessary background information. I was ready to hit the trail.

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Segment 7, Goldhill Trailhead to Copper Mountain, along the Colorado Trail

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

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Then we had to decide where we’d go. Part of the goal of the assignment was to explore the Colorado Trail, so I picked up “The Official Guide Book” by Randy Jacobs and dived right in. The book is written under the auspices of the Colorado Trail Foundation, and it is packed with maps, directions, and detailed descriptions of each section. After scouring through the book, I decided upon Segment 8, from Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass. We weren’t planning a long trip—a few hours on a sunny afternoon—and this segment appeared to have interesting views and landmarks near the beginning, so we’d still be able to enjoy our experience even if we were simply following the trail a couple miles up and turning around. The book had great directions, and after reading it we were almost ready to hit the road and drive to the trailhead. But I had learned from my friend Joy about the importance of talking with someone who knows the area. See, a few years ago, Joy flew out here from New York City for a winter ski trip. She had done her homework and looked at a map, so she knew the shortest route to Aspen. She landed at DIA, got in her car at 11 p.m. that night, and at 3 a.m., just a few miles from Aspen, came to the sign “Independence Pass Closed.” She had to backtrack up and around through Glenwood Springs—not a great way to start a vacation. So I gave a call to my friend Steve Lipsher, a reporter for the “Denver Post” mountain bureau. I ran our suggested route by him, and while at first he thought that was a fine idea, upon reflection he realized we might want to snowshoe a different segment. The Copper Mountain segment crosses— surprise, surprise—Copper Mountain, and during the winter with dogs in tow and skiers racing down the mountain, it might not be a great idea to mix the two. He suggested Segment 7, Goldhill Trailhead to Copper Mountain. The book confirmed his belief that this was a better trail for us. For one, it is slightly closer to the Front Range, and the trailhead is 5 miles south of I-70. It’s

WYOMING

We shuffled across the snowy, icy parking lot, with the dogs on leashes, while I got used to the feel of the shoes. I ditched the ski poles at the start of the trail, because it was flat enough that I didn’t need them. I was surprised at how easy the snowshoes were to walk in; I had expected to be as graceful as an elephant, but it really was River more gliding than lumbering. Hey, this is going to be fun, I thought. I was right. After the first few steps, while I didn’t exactly forget that I had snowshoes on, I was able to stop thinking about what I was doing and enjoy the scenery. And wow, it was amazing. A few minutes into the trail and we were far enough away from the highway that it didn’t exist. The world shrunk down to two humans, two dogs, and the mountains. The trail starts off relatively flat, but there is nothing boring about it. The first mile or so is what Jacobs calls “an alternating landscape of sagebrush meadows and lodgepole forest with an understory of lupine.” I wasn’t sure what that meant when I read it, but when I experienced it, I discovered it meant open views alternating with skinny trees so tall I felt like I was in the middle of a Tolkien novel. The forest was full of surprises; a human-built teepee

On a clear day, the Colorado Trail offers stunning views.

here, raccoon tracks there, a tiny pine tree no larger than my pinky growing right next to the trail. And then suddenly through a clearing we saw the Breckenridge ski area, close enough that we could count individual runs, but far enough away that we couldn’t hear traffic or other sounds of human civilization. We admired and continued on. About a mile into our journey, we came to a clearing where several trails seemed to intersect. The Colorado Trail is well marked with small blue triangles, however, so we weren’t misled by the logging trail and instead continued along our way. Sara and I planned to hike 2.5 miles of the 13mile segment and loop around for a total of 5 miles. We “climbed” (much of the trail was a gentle incline) for about two hours or so, stopping occasionally to catch our breath, step off the trail for some awe-inspiring views, and take a few photographs. As a writer, I hate to admit it, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and does a better job of describing the scene than my words can. So all I can say now is, take a look at the photos we captured, and you’ll have a great idea of what surrounded us. At the top of a small hill—what the

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guidebook called a rocky summit, but the rocks must have been covered with several feet of snow—we rested, ate a snack, and turned around. Heading back down the trail was much quicker than going up, and it surprised me how different the trail looked. Sure, we saw the same views as we did on the way up, but because it was a quicker journey, the feeling wasn’t the same. The change in scenery didn’t exactly rush at us, but it was a different pace. The feeling wasn’t better or worse, just different. When we got back close to the trailhead, we picked up the abandoned ski poles and I took off my snowshoes to see how different it was to step on the snow without them. I immediately sank through snow I had easily walked on before, proving that yes, snowshoes really do work. “Thanks for getting me out today,” Sara said. “That was really fun. Are you going to do this again?” Yes, it was fun. I don’t know that I’m ready to rush out and buy my own superduper special titanium gear, but the next time friends invite me out on a snowshoeing trip, I’ll be ready to join them. As long as I can borrow some equipment without disclosing my weight.

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SKI CONSERVATION FUND

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a dollar Can Make More people visit National Forests for: A) Camping B) Fishing C) Picnicking D) Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

In a project supported by the NFF’s Ski Conservation Fund, volunteers with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado work to repair the Meadow Creek and Lily Pad Lakes trails near the Eagles Nest Wilderness on the White River National Forest, Colo.

The intense powder hounds among you might not be surprised to hear that “D” is your correct answer. With 135 alpine ski areas located on National Forests, these public lands attract more than 30 million skier visits per year. A 2003-2008 outdoor recreation study found that 15 percent of forest visitors listed downhill skiing or snowboarding as their main forest activity. For the last few years, many of these winter recreationists have pitched in with small contributions that add up to big results for the forests surrounding popular ski hills. The National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund raises money for forest stewardship projects that take place on the forests where each participating ski area is located. Skiers and lodge guests make voluntary $1 contributions added to their room or lift ticket charges—money that the NFF then matches with federal funds. Through a competitive grant process, local organizations apply for and are

awarded these funds to implement an array of projects benefiting the forest, watershed, wildlife and recreation resources surrounding the ski areas. Since the Ski Conservation Fund was established, skiers have contributed more than $1.5 million. With the NFF’s matching support, those contributions now total more than $2.3 million dedicated to local forest conservation and stewardship. As projects are completed, the conservation results from this skier support are piling up, with project accomplishments that include: • 3,327 volunteers contributing 25,000 hours of their time; • 215 miles of trail work; • 1,400 trees planted; and • 500 acres of invasive weeds treated. With the growing number of ski areas taking part in the Ski Conservation Fund, more communities and National Forests are benefiting from the collective support of downhill enthusiasts. For skiers, giving a little something back to their favorite mountain landscapes has become as easy as zipping down the bunny hill.

Photos by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado; iStockPhoto.com / DIGIcal

what a differenCe

The next time you set foot on a hiking trail or enjoy a secluded camping spot in a National Forest, you can most likely thank one of the National Forest Foundation’s many partners for their hard work. By engaging in collaborative partnerships, providing grants to local organizations and encouraging community participation in on-the-ground conservation projects, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) helps the Forest Service meet complex challenges to forest health. Here are just a few examples of how the NFF and its partners make a difference in National Forests throughout the country.

2009-2010 ski season nff ski Conservation fund partiCipatinG partners Alta Ski Area, UT Alta Lodge, UT Arapahoe Basin, CO Beaver Creek, CO Bear Valley Mountain Resort, CA Breckenridge, CO Bridger Bowl, MT Copper Mountain Ski Resort, CO Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area, CA Grand Targhee Resort, WY Heavenly, CA Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY Keystone, CO Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA

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Loup Loup, WA Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, CA Mount Bachelor, OR Mount Baker Ski Area, WA Mount Shasta Ski Park, CA Ski Apache, NM Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, UT Solitude Mountain Resort, UT The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, CO Timberline Lodge, OR Togwotee Mountain Lodge, WY Vail, CO Winter Park, CO

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Jerry Dame’s painting will be auctioned to raise funds for the Whychus Creek restoration.

REPORTS

oreGon “paint-out” spotliGhts

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Umbrellas and easels sprouted along the banks of an Oregon Wild and Scenic River last July as artists gathered for the first Whychus Creek “Paint-Out.” The outdoor art competition attracted 30 plein air artists from across Oregon to capture their vision of a wild river near the mountain community of Sisters. The event was organized to help promote the National Forest Foundation’s restoration work on Whychus Creek during a September Friends of the Forest Day volunteer stewardship project. The paint-out also helped to spotlight the NFF’s selection of Whychus Creek and the nearby Metolius River as project sites under the NFF’s Treasured Landscapes restoration campaign. Artists were challenged by the July heat, lugging easels, paints and canvases across rough trails to find just the right spot for inspiration. They had just four hours to hike, paint, frame their piece, and return it to Sisters for judging. Some perched on cliffs, while others befriended shady old growth pines. John O’Brian, a retired dentist from Bend who chose a remote leafy site below a waterfall, said, “I was so enthralled with that particular spot, the river going over a series of falls, the way the water breaks against the rocks.” www.nationalforests.org

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A winning piece by Janet Guiley of Bend was featured on the Whychus Friends of the Forest Day poster. A painting by Jerry Dame of Harrisburg was chosen by the NFF for auction at a fundraising event. Paintings by Donna Simpson, Phil Bates, Paul Alan Bennett, and Kay Baker were chosen as “Best in Show.” The event was conceived by artist Kathy Deggendorfer, who visited Whychus Creek with NFF and Forest Service organizers. She was captured by both the area’s beauty and the signs of reckless damage done by visitors who shoot trees, draw graffiti on rock cliffs, and litter along the stream. By drawing attention to the area, she hopes to bring a change. “Overall I think the paintout was a rousing success,” Deggendorfer said. “People who didn’t come were talking about it and maybe we planted a little seed of something that can grow.” Sisters artist Paul Bennett was impressed by both the place and the people. “It was really quite wonderful, the sense of camaraderie, artists encouraging each other’s work, it was quite a celebration,” he said. “It’s like quilting in a way, each person does a piece and when you saw the whole body of work you couldn’t help but feel proud and think this is really something here!”

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FIELD REPORTS

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El Paso Corporation Staff Repairs Trail Damage

In the spring of 2009, El Paso Corporation’s Ruby Pipeline division announced a major partnership with the National Forest Foundation. El Paso made a significant contribution to the NFF for tree planting to help them offset carbon associated with the construction of a new natural gas pipeline. But El Paso’s commitment didn’t end there. The company saw the NFF’s Friends of the Forest (FOF) Days volunteer events as a great opportunity to get their employees personally involved in forest stewardship. In June and September 2009, El Paso Corporation hosted FOF Day volunteer events for their Colorado Springs employees. The NFF organized the work parties in cooperation with the Pikes Peak Ranger District on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest. During the June event, 60 individuals, many of them El Paso interns, helped to relocate 1 mile of the Crags Trail, build a new trailhead, install drainage structures and a new bridge, and build buck-andrail fence. The project helped to relieve congestion and visitor impacts in the very popular Crags Campground. On Sept. 30, 2009, another 30 El Paso employees installed post-and-cable fencing at the Rainbow Falls ATV area on the Pikes

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Peak Ranger District. The fencing will help to better manage the heavy ATV use, increase user safety, and reduce erosion. “While the June day was hot and the work hard, participants at the end of the day walked the length of the new trail and felt a sense of accomplishment in what they had done,” said NFF Vice President Jeff Olson, who participated in the work day. “One El Paso representative called it a terrific teambuilding experience and a great way for them to connect with the forest.” ABOVE: Volunteers work on the Crags Trail. BELOW: MillerCoors has improved Colorado’s Clear Creek.

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Our forests are the headwaters of the nation—a fact that inspired more than 60 volunteers to get busy on a warm August 2009 day in Colorado. For the third year running, MillerCoors sponsored a Friends of the Forest Day volunteer stewardship event—the National Forest Foundation’s signature volunteer program. These events give citizens the chance to make a hands-on difference through projects that improve their local watersheds, habitats and recreation areas. This year, the Colorado volunteers went to work restoring Clear Creek on the Arapaho National Forest. “Clear Creek is a major water supply for 20 cities and towns, from Idaho Springs to the Denver-Boulder area,” said Jim Maxwell, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. “People as far down as Omaha, Nebraska, drink water from this watershed.” In addition to the NFF and the Forest Service, partners in the project included the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation. Volunteers from MillerCoors, Trout Unlimited and the microbiology department at the University of Colorado-Denver pitched in, seeding native plants along Clear Creak, creating wetland ponds for native boreal toads to colonize, repairing stream beds by planting vegetation, and building buck-and-rail fences to block vehicle access. Eventually, native greenback cutthroat trout (Colorado’s state fish) will be reintroduced to the stream.

Bottom right photos by Lisa Herron / U.S. Forest Service

volunteer restoration projects

MillerCoors Employees Improve Colorado Watershed

Bottom right photo by flickr.com / Krystal Pritchett

Corporate partners sponsor

REPORTS

Mine surveys help protect bat roosts

Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains harbor important bat habitat.

NFF thanks new

Partner Members The NFF relies on partnerships to strengthen and enhance the conservation work we do across the country. Our partners work hard to make sure that all of us can enjoy our local forests and recreation resources. In addition to their valued on-the-ground conservation accomplishments, many of our partners have recently joined the NFF as Partner Members. We thank them for this commitment and honor their dedication here. Appalachian Forest Heritage Area American Hiking Society Boy Scouts of America—Order of the Arrow Clearwater Resource Council Coalition for the Upper South Platte El Dorado National Forest Interpretive Assoc.

Forestry Action Committee Four Corners School of Outdoor Education Great Burn Study Group Heart of Oregon Corps Inc. Mid-Klamath Watershed Council Mount St. Helens Institute National Wildlife Federation—Montana Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group Poudre Wilderness Volunteers Rocky Mountain Field Institute Salmon Valley Stewardship Sugar Pine Foundation The CREW The Lands Council The Nature Conservancy in Montana Watershed Research & Training Center Wild South WildPlaces

Despite spooky Halloween symbols and vampire lore, the scariest thing about bats might be their disappearance from our ecosystems. In the desert Southwest, many unique and rare plants—including the stately saguaro—depend heavily on nectarfeeding bats for pollination. Arizona’s National Forests offer key habitat in caves and abandoned mines for 28 species of bats, including a federally listed endangered species—the lesser longnosed bat. South of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest, the Santa Rita Mountains harbor dozens of these abandoned mine sites. Increasing recreational use has led to a growing issue of disturbance and destruction to the bats’ mine and cave roosts, not to mention raising the public safety

risk as people venture into these caverns. In addition, heavy recreation traffic increases the spread of the fungus that causes whitenose syndrome—a disease now decimating bat colonies nationwide. In a project funded by the National Forest Foundation, Bat Conservation International is working to protect the bat habitat, prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome, and also enhance public safety. They have assessed more than 50 abandoned mines for their usage by bats, protecting prime bat roosts by installing bat-friendly gates. In reducing the disturbance and damage to bat roosting sites, Bat Conservation International benefits not only the bats, but also the broad spectrum of desert biodiversity that depends upon these nighttime pollinators.

California community restores burned forest In 2007, the Angora Fire burned 3,000 acres near the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, consuming more than 200 homes in the process. Since then, local residents and community members have been anxious to aid the healing process in their surrounding forest. With National Forest Foundation support, the Sierra Nevada Alliance and NevadaTahoe Conservation District have facilitated citizen engagement in restoring about 100 National Forest urban intermix parcels within subdivisions impacted by the Angora Fire. The groups involved community members in planting trees, watering the seedlings, and monitoring the plantings for competing vegetation and weeds. Because these forest parcels provide recreation access to surrounding public land, the Alliance will also use the restoration process to educate people about leave-no-trace ethics and good stewardship practices. A community effort is restoring burned areas near Lake Tahoe.

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A Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School student plants a seedling in the Angora Fire burned area.

Homeowners groups, schools and local nonprofits are among the groups tapped to take part in the community-centered stewardship effort. In the process of creating an outlet for this public involvement, the partners helped forest neighbors apply science-based restoration techniques that better ensure the long-term success of the replanting. They aim for their efforts to serve as a springboard for other similar community forest projects in the Tahoe Basin in the future.

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TREASURED LANDSCAPES

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BAT CAVES, BASS FISHING AND BUGLES ABOUND IN THE

OZARK NATIONAL FOREST By Jennifer Schoonen

The supermarket tabloid headline read: “Ozarks Catwoman found roaming woods looking for a mate!” The cover photo showed a woman who looked like she just stepped offstage after a small-town, low-budget production of “Cats.” At the time, as recent transplants from the Northern Rockies to Southwest Missouri’s Ozarks, my family got a huge chuckle out of the story. Now safely ensconced back in the Northwest after three years in the Ozarks, we still hear the stereotypical jokes about the wooded hills and canyons of southern

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Missouri and northern Arkansas. Easy to joke about if all you’ve seen of the Ozarks are tabloids and bad movies. But today, I find myself fiercely defending the Ozarks—as would anyone who has ever spent even a day or two in this splendid tangle of woods, caves, rivers and canyons.

Shaped by Water

Dripping methodically from cavern ceilings, meandering through shady oaks and hickory trees, tumbling over the edge of rocky bluffs—water feeds and shapes and defines the landscape of northern

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Arkansas and its Ozark National Forest. This sculptor of the Ozarks landscape has carved canyons and caves, filled copious rivers and streams, and nurtured a verdant swath of mixed hardwood forests. Though people commonly refer to the region as the “Ozark Mountains,” geologists define this range as the “Boston Mountains.” These rugged hills began as a collection of ancient plateaus, uplifted with few folds or faults 300 million years ago. Weather and water have since created the dramatic v-shaped canyons, river valleys and exposed sandstone and limestone cliffs that make this such a fascinating land to explore. The wealth of water resources—critical to both the region’s natural character and to local communities—led President Theodore Roosevelt to sign the proclamation creating the Ozark National Forest in 1908. Broken into five distinct sections, the forest encompasses 1.1 million acres bounded by major waterways—from the Arkansas River along its southern section to the White River in the north. Today, water is not only the lifeblood of northern Arkansas’ community water systems but of the regional recreation economy as well.

Photos by iStockPhoto.com / Clint Spencer, David H. Lewis

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas TM

Photo by iStockPhoto.com / Clint Spencer

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it’s not trout that come to mind with the Ozarks, but the challenge of battling smallmouth bass hunkered down in deep, clear Ozark fishing holes. The Ozark’s rivers offer everything from lazy, scenic canoeing excursions to thrilling Class II, III and IV rapids for more adrenaline-pumping whitewater adventures. Six of the Ozark National Forest’s rivers are congressionally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, including the popular Mulberry River and Big Piney Creek, providing remote floating experiences for visitors looking to truly get away from it all. But one doesn’t have to be a water lover to love the Ozarks. Several nationally designated scenic byways cross the Ozark National Forest presenting particularly stunning views in the fall when the lush hardwood forests glow in reds, oranges and golds, as well as in the spring when the delicate branches of dogwoods erupt with soft, white blossoms and the bushy redbuds break out in brilliant magenta flowers. When it’s time to stretch your legs, hundreds of miles of Ozarks hiking trails can accommodate. The Ozark National Forest is home to the highest point in Arkansas—

After a couple of attempts to restore elk to the Ozarks, about 500 wapiti now thrive there.

AMERICAʼS FIRST NATIONAL RIVER

By Boat or By Boot

Visitors and locals alike savor some of the nation’s best water-based outdoor recreation on the Ozark National Forest. World-class trout fishing lures anglers to the White River on the forest’s northern Sylamore Ranger District. For many anglers

Mount Magazine—which tops out at 2,753 feet. Through a partnership with the Arkansas State Parks, the mountain offers a full catalog of outdoor adventure, used by hikers, rock climbers, hang gliders, mountain bikers and more. Serving up one of the most scenic hikes east of the Rockies, the Ozark Highlands Trail stretches more than 165 miles, traversing the forest from near the Oklahoma border at Lake Fort Smith State Park on up to the Buffalo National River. Along the way, the trail crosses more than 60 named creeks and rivers, passes hundreds of seasonal waterfalls, and skirts rocky bluffs with expansive vistas. The splendor of rushing rivers and blooming trees above ground is rivaled by the Ozark’s unique underground treasure. As the largest “living cave” administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Blanchard Springs Caverns transports visitors into a subterranean wonderland. Seeping and dripping water continue to shape this limestone cavern, which harbors a 65-foot formation named the “Giant Column,” a car-sized pile of antique bat droppings, and yards of “cave drapery.” Two developed cave trails wind through water-carved

TOP: Canoeing the Buffalo Rver BOTTOM: A majestic bluff overlooking Kyle’s Landing on the Buffalo River

In a region plugged and diverted and flooded by dams, one amazing thread of water escaped unaltered for decades. Then in 1972, a 135-mile stretch of the Buffalo River was designated as the nation’s first “National River” to be managed by the National Park Service. Although just portions cross the Ozark National Forest, the Buffalo National River is integral to the resources and landscape of the forest and surrounding wildlands. From its trickling source in the Boston Mountains, the Buffalo twists and tumbles past towering limestone bluffs for 150 miles, dropping a total of 2,000 feet in elevation. As one of the few remaining unpolluted, free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states, the Buffalo sustains a plethora of biological diversity. From hardwood forests of oak and hickory to cedar glades, the varied habitats lining the Buffalo are home to 55 species of mammals and 250 species of birds. While many venture along the Buffalo to catch

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a glimpse of its wild inhabitants, history too attracts visitors. A trip down the Buffalo carries one past numerous historic cultural sites—some dating back more than 10,000 years. Some of the region’s earliest residents— the Ozark Bluff Dwellers—left behind artifacts and petroglyphs as evidence of their lives sheltered among the caves and crevices of the rock escarpments. More recent settlers have left behind signs of their Ozark lives in the crumbling walls and foundations of homestead cabins and mills. A treasure to behold, the Buffalo National River still holds true to the congressional reports justifying its special designation in 1972, which stated, “It is not one single quality, but the combination of its size, its completeness, its wild qualities and its associated natural, scenic and historic resources that makes the Buffalo worthy of national recognition.”

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OUTDOOR HEALTH

Blanchard Springs Caverns

See for Yourself

Tabloid tales of strange creatures aside, ticks, copperheads and ice storms posed the only realistic threats during my time in the Ozarks. Though no catwoman ever leapt out of the trees while I lived in and toured the region, this wild place did leave a mighty impression. The sheer cliffs and rugged mountains that made Ozarks life and travel so hard centuries ago have helped to preserve a landscape that seeps with natural beauty and eons of geologic transformation. With twisting tentacles of river valleys and miles of underground caves, it’s not hard to imagine your own stories of undiscovered critters. But don’t let your imagination have all the fun— the Ozark National Forest is a land worth exploring from mountaintop to cavern floor.

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WINTER – SPRING 2010

Old homesteads dot the Ozarks.

Under the umbrella of the Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and the Forest Service will be working together to restore forest conditions and create new and enhanced habitat that will support many of the region’s native species. Work will take place throughout the Richland Creek, Brock Creek, and Mulberry River watersheds over the next four years. The NFF, the Ozark National Forest and local partner organizations will put the forest back on a path toward conditions that characterized the region before European settlement. Today’s unnaturally dense forest will be thinned and treated with prescribed fire across thousands of acres that are too dense today to support native species, and so dense that the weakened trees themselves are succumbing to disease and insects. With the support and partnership of donors, the NFF and partners will also work to improve Ozark recreational resources and to help the forest consolidate some checkerboard land ownership, easing some management challenges. “By this partnership with the NFF and their donors, we’re going to be able to meet a lot of those goals that we couldn’t do without this funding,” Whalen says.

MAINTAINING

WINTER WELLNESS By Buck Tilton

Photos by iStockPhoto / Kyle George, Roman Sigaev, pederk, dra_schwartz

passageways alongside an underground river and the world’s largest flowstone. Thanks to northern Arkansas’ karst topography, the region harbors hundreds of caves, many of which provide habitat for the Ozark National Forest’s rarest wildlife species. The Ozark big-eared bat and Indiana bat are among the 14 federally endangered species that call this forest home. More common forest residents include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bears, raccoons and numerous songbirds. In 1981, the state of Arkansas reintroduced elk—a once-native species that had been absent from the landscape for decades. With the herd now numbering about 500, bugling bulls have become a popular attraction along the Buffalo National River and in parts of the Ozark National Forest. So popular are these Ozarks wapiti that each year the town of Jasper, Ark., hosts an annual Buffalo River Elk Festival, featuring elk bugling contests and the crowning of “Miss Elk Fest.”

There’s a reason Arkansas is dubbed “The Natural State,” and the Ozarks have much to do with it. The state’s northern region, encompassing the Ozark National Forest, supports tremendous natural assets, resources and beauty. When President Roosevelt created the Ozark National Forest in 1908, it was the first National Forest east of the Rockies and the first to protect a hardwood forest. Homesteaders arrived in the early 1800s and supported themselves through subsistence farming and small-scale timber harvesting. But by the end of the 1800s timber harvesting became big business, and settlers had stripped bare the Ozark mountainsides and river corridors. Erosion and flooding followed in streams that no longer had the protection of the oak, hickory, cherry and walnut trees that held the delicate forest soil together. Today, the forest is still recovering from the dramatic deforestation that occurred over 100 years ago. And while in some areas the lack of tree cover created problems, in others it is dense, overgrown vegetation that threatens the health and vitality of critical habitat. Historically, low-intensity fires burned regularly through the Ozark Mountains, maintaining more open woodlands essential to local ecology. Those fires have been fought and extinguished in the past century, inadvertently harming the habitats that support the region’s diverse fish and wildlife populations. “It’s now a heavily forested landscape but it wasn’t historically like that. It used to be savanna-type woodlands,” says J. Keith Whalen, forest fisheries biologist for the Ozark National Forest. “We’re trying to get the landscape back to what it was.”

Photos by flickr.com / Scott Adams; iStockPhoto.com / Jerry Dorris, Clint Spencer

RESTORING THE OZARKS

Winter: a great reason to stay warm but not a great reason to stay indoors. National Forests in winter are much more than fewer leaves, fewer people, and lower temperatures. The attitude of the forests changes in winter to something quiet and subdued, the energy stored yet palpable, waiting for warmth. Winter forests are definitely worth a visit. But winter is also definitely less forgiving. There are many habits you can develop to better deal with cold outdoors. The first and most important is maintenance of general health: a well-nourished, rested, and generally healthy person will almost always deal with cold, or other stressors, better than those who are less healthy. Here are a few other things to consider in order to maintain winter wellness:

Buck Tilton, M.S., is the author of more than two dozen books including Wilderness First Responder, and is co-founder of the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS.

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1. The most common mistake along the path to winter health, at least according to many authorities, is failure to adequately hydrate. You need to be drinking enough water to keep your urine relatively clear—just as in summer. And remember thirst may be sluggish in winter. Keep water handy and drink as an act of discipline. 2. You need to eat well. The energy you require to move, to stay warm, to enjoy, comes from the food you swallow and then metabolize. With no logs of carbohydrate and fat on the inner fire, the blaze will go out, leaving you not only pooped but a more likely candidate for hypothermia and frostbite. Eat well at meals and keep snacks in your pocket. 3. Stay in shape. Fit people wear down more slowly than the unfit. They stay more alert and more coordinated, and they turn the potential energy of food into real energy more readily. 4. Take rest days and mix light days of exercise with more strenuous days. Rest allows you to grow and repair tissue throughout your body. It also lets you recharge your body systems in order to stay as well as possible. White blood cells, your immunological defense front, for instance, dwindle in number, sometimes significantly, after only two days of stress without adequate rest, making you more susceptible to colds and flu. www.nationalforests.org

5. Even on days of strenuous exercise in the cold, take care of camp chores quickly and take some time to relax. Fatigue makes you susceptible to bad decisions and a poor disposition. 6. Dress correctly, in appropriate layers, to maintain body heat without becoming a sauna near skin level. Layers allow you to ventilate your clothing when you start to heat up and to remove a layer when venting is not enough. The idea is to stay dry. Sweating not only takes fluid from inside your body but also encourages evaporation and the loss of core heat. And layers reduce exertion. Yes, you get more tired when you are struggling to maintain the right temperature. 7. Eat the blueberry. Once upon a time, a Zen monk fell from a cliff, grabbing a blueberry bush on the way down to stop his fall. The roots of the bush began slowly but surely to rip from the cliff wall. Realizing his imminent doom, he noticed a ripe blueberry likewise clinging to the bush. The monk ate the blueberry. Making the best of every situation is not a characteristic we are all born with, but it is a habit we can all become addicted to. Nothing makes or breaks a winter trip—health-wise and otherwise—more predictably than attitude.

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CONSERV ATION

CONSERV ATION Photo by iStockPhoto.com / Cynthia Baldauf

PLACE-BASED CONSERVATION

GOES TO WASHINGTON By Martin Nie, professor of Natural Resource Policy College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana

Editor’s Note: Place-based conservation efforts, in which people with very different perspectives and interests come together around stewardship of a specific piece of public land, have been on the rise in recent years. We have seen a “snowball” effect: when one group finds success in identifying a zone of agreement and works effectively with the Forest Service, other nearby communities take notice, learn from their predecessors, and launch efforts There is increasing interest in resolving multiple-use conflicts through placebased conservation. Throughout the West, divergent interests are discussing how they would like particular forests to be managed. Many of these proposals include provisions related to economic development, forest restoration, wilderness designation and funding mechanisms, among others. But unlike more typical collaborative efforts, some groups are seeking codification through legislation of their agreements. Numerous factors have precipitated this interest in going to Washington in search

on their own National Forests. It is a quiet revolution of people sitting around a table, looking at maps, taking field trips into the woods, and talking face to face after years of conflict in the courts and the media. Collaborative stewardship has become an accepted approach to conservation, born out of the creativity that emerges from years of fighting and discord. With Sen. Jon Tester’s recent efforts, collaborative stewardship may be formalized into law.

Sen. Jon Tester, Montana

of legislation, including perceptions of agency gridlock, unresolved roadless and wilderness issues, and the disarray that now characterizes forest planning. Nowhere is the place-based approach more apparent than in Montana. In July 2009, Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester introduced Senate Bill 1470, the “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA).” If enacted, it would direct management on three National Forests in Montana: the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, and parts of the Lolo and Kootenai. This approach is a significant departure from the present and it raises several questions and opportunities that are addressed here.

Background Before proceeding with the questions, some background is necessary. Prior to the FJRA’s introduction, three separate groups of diverse interests agreed upon proposals for how they would like individual National Forests to be managed. These groups included the controversial “BeaverheadDeerlodge Partnership” dealing with the largest National Forest in Montana, the smaller-sized “Three Rivers Challenge” focused on part of the Kootenai, and the relatively modest “Blackfoot-Clearwater Landscape Stewardship Project” centered on part of the Lolo. Tester modified some of these agreements and then lumped them together into one multi-faceted bill. There are four provisions of the FJRA that need emphasis: the designation of wilderness and special management areas, a timber supply

Big Hole Valley, near Beaverhead National Forest

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provision, forest restoration goals, and the use of stewardship contracting. First, it seeks to designate specific acres of wilderness and special management areas on the three National Forests. The latter designation is designed to protect some places from resource use while allowing and enhancing some types of motorized recreation. In exchange for these designations, the bill mandates that specific amounts of acres are to be logged to supply timber over the next 10 years. Priorities and sideboards are set for where these projects can happen. Non-timber related restoration goals are also set in the bill, though compared to the treatment mandate, they are not quantified nor prescribed in as much detail. There is no guarantee that the restoration work will be done once the treatments are accomplished. The bill relies heavily upon the use of stewardship contracting to achieve its treatments and restoration work. This authority allows the Forest Service to trade its goods (timber) for services to be rendered by a private contractor, such as restoration work like replacing culverts or rolling up roads. While Tester’s bill has garnered national attention, there are place-based initiatives across the West. Each initiative is different in significant ways. But all are searching for more durable, bottom-up, and pro-active solutions to National Forest management. Some negotiations, like that on the Clearwater and Nez Perce (ID), may result in proposed legislation. But others, including arrangements on the Colville (WA) and Fremont-Winema (OR), aren’t based on forest specific laws but instead operate through formalized agreements and protocols under current laws and regulations. Questions Senator Tester’s bill is a bold and constructive response the status quo. It advances the debate over National Forest management in significant ways—putting all the big issues and conflicts squarely on the table, right where they belong. In doing so, his bill has generated a vigorous debate while shaking up traditional political alliances.

MAP OF PROPOSED LAND DESIGNATIONS UNDER FOREST JOBS & RECREATION ACT

MONTANA

IDAHO

Some tough questions will need to be answered by proponents and opponents of any place-based legislation. Laid out below are perhaps some of the most important. They go beyond the FJRA, with the assumption that if enacted, similar place-based forest laws are forthcoming. 1. Would a proliferation of placebased forest laws change the relatively consistent mission and mandate of the Forest Service? If replicated more broadly, the placebased approach to forest management could disaggregate the National Forest System. Law-by-law, the National Forests could be governed by forest-specific mandates, not

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NATIONAL FOREST LANDS EXISTING WILDERNESS AREA PROPOSED WILDERNESS PROPOSED RECREATION, MANAGEMENT, AND PROTECTION AREAS TIMBER SUITABLE OR OPEN TO HARVEST

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CONSERV ATION S. 1470

Forest nt and recreational use of National To sustain the economic developme to add land in the State of Montana, System land and other public Preservation System, to release certain land to the National Wilderness to designate new areas for recreation, certain wilderness study areas, and for other purposes.

UNITED STATES IN THE SENATE OF THE JULY 20, 2009 referred bill; which was read twice and Mr. TESTER introduced the following Natural Resources to the Committee on Energy and

A BILL

ent and recreational use To sustain the economic developm and other public land of National Forest System land add certain land to the in the State of Montana, to System, to release certion Preserva ss Wilderne l Nationa designate new areas for tain wilderness study areas, to . recreation, and for other purposes House of RepresentaBe it enacted by the Senate and 1 in Congress assembled, 2 tives of the United States of America 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS. SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE;

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unlike the unit-specific “enabling” laws governing the National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. A relatively consistent mission and mandate applicable to the National Forests would be replaced by more sitespecific prescriptive laws detailing how particular forests must be managed. This might be good for some forests, but what effect would it have on the National Forest System on the whole? 2. Will the FJRA conflict with preexisting agency mandates, environmental laws, and planning requirements? Forest-specific laws already on the books, like the Tongass Timber Reform Act and the Herger-Feinstein (Quincy Library) Act, have engendered more conflict than consensus partly because of how these laws sometimes fail to fit into the preexisting legal/planning framework. In these and other cases the Forest Service is forced to walk a statutory minefield with legal grenades thrown from all directions. One way or another, the agency gets sued for either complying with existing environmental laws or for ostensibly subordinating the new place-based one. A quick study of these cases informs us that the answer to forest management might not be another law placed on top of myriad others but rather an untangling or clarification of the existing legal framework.

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3. Will it work and how will it be paid for? One purpose of the FJRA is to generate a more predictable flow of wood products for local mills, thus the bill’s timber harvest mandate. The probability of achieving community stability through forest management has been debated ad nauseum. Alas, most agree that there are simply too many uncontrollable impediments to achieving this objective, like fluctuating housing starts, cheap Canadian imports, vacillating court decisions, swings in agency budgets, and so on. But realism aside, the FJRA is to be admired for its focus on sustainable forests and communities, and for understanding the benefits of having a functional timber industry in Montana. Before proceeding with a forest-specific law with a harvest mandate, lawmakers should consider some alternative ways to achieve greater predictability. This includes an innovative effort on the Colville National Forest to provide a steadier, sustainable, and less contested stream of timber for local mills, with accompanying restoration objectives (see “Voices from the Forest,” page 27). In this case, a collaborative group works with the agency to achieve its objectives via formalized agreement and a mutually agreed upon decisionmaking protocol. Before proceeding with a legislated timber mandate, however modest it might be, it makes sense to learn from this and other initiatives and possibly adapt them elsewhere. The FJRA would be primarily implemented and paid for by using stewardship contracting. This tool’s popularity stems partially from the highly uncertain congressional appropriations process, a process that chronically underfunds the Forest Service and its nonfire related responsibilities and needed restoration work. But on the BeaverheadDeerlodge, there are serious questions as to

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whether there is enough economic value in this lodgepole pine-dominant forest to pay for the restoration work. As a safety valve, the FJRA authorizes spending additional money to meet its purposes, but there is no guarantee that such funds will be appropriated, or if so, they wouldn’t come from another part of the agency’s budget. The question, then, is what happens if such envisioned funds don’t materialize? Will money be siphoned from other National Forests in order to satisfy the mandates of the FJRA? The place-based law approach could move the National Forests closer to a Park Service model, where state congressional delegations sometimes treat parks like their own fiefdoms, exercising inordinate control over a unit via committee and purse strings. The approach brings to the fore other budgetrelated questions. Will senior congressional delegations be more successful in securing funding for place-based laws in their states? Will it create a system of “haves” and “have nots” in the National Forest System? And perhaps most important, would these budgetary situations benefit or hurt the National Forest System as a whole? 4. What precedent will be set if the FJRA is enacted? Congress has a history of deferring to state congressional delegations in wilderness politics. So, for example, if one state’s delegation defers to Montana’s in passing the FJRA, then Montana’s delegation may be asked to do the same when the other state proposes its own wilderness bill. And those proposals may not be as carefully crafted as Sen. Tester’s bill. Take, for example, the “Clearwater Basin Project Bill” considered in 2004. This “charter forest” idea was adamantly opposed by conservationists because it provided an undue amount of influence to local interests to set forest management priorities, schedules, and agendas. This “pilot project” was defeated, but the dynamics could be different in the future if place-based legislation becomes more widely accepted. Also legitimate is the fear that if passed, the FJRA creates a precedent and possible expectation that future wilderness bills must be packaged with economic

Photo by flickr.com / Raymond Hitchcock

Complying with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) is one big unanswered question in the FJRA. The bill requires the Forest Service to satisfy its NEPA duties within one year. But without additional financial and human support, it’s hard to fathom the agency meeting this deadline.

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CONSERV ATION development provisions if they are to be politically feasible. To be sure, compromise is inherent in the Wilderness Act, and all sorts of special exemptions and political deals are written into wilderness laws with some regularity. But trading wilderness for a timber harvest mandate is a different beast altogether. The real question here is not whether it is reasonable to require two National Forests to mechanically treat 100,000 acres over the next 10 years; but rather what those numbers will look like in other states if all of a sudden harvest mandates are politically palatable. 5. Why not experiment in more serious fashion? The FJRA includes a vague reference to “adaptive management,” and thus an implicit acknowledgement that there are uncertainties inherent in the bill. In this vein, the bill sets up a monitoring program whereby the Forest Service will report to Congress on the progress made in (1) meeting the bill’s timber supply mandate, (2) the cost-effectiveness of the restoration projects, and (3) whether or not the legislation has reduced conflict as measured by administrative appeals and litigation. Not included on the list are specific ecological (non-timber related) monitoring requirements. This is a good start. But given the

importance of this legislation, and the impact it could have on other place-based proposals, why not approach matters in a more deliberately experimental fashion? This could be accomplished in different ways but the principles would be the same: let’s proceed cautiously, try different approaches in different places, carefully monitor the results, and go from there. These experiments could be housed within a more structured experimental framework, with appropriate legal sideboards and oversight. This could be done by beefing up the bill’s monitoring and evaluation requirements, to include other ecological and policy/process considerations. Changes could be made to the legislation to ensure that its ecological restoration goals are achieved in tandem with its forest treatment mandate. Why not try different approaches to its implementation and learn lessons from that experience? In doing so, the FJRA could teach valuable lessons that might be tried elsewhere, and the Forest Service could be brought into the process as partners, rather than subjects. Such a legislatively created framework is one way of ensuring that future place-based proposals won’t be used as a backdoor way of undermining environmental law and devolving federal lands to self-selected stakeholders. With a more deliberately experimental design, the Senator’s bill could inform

Proposed Snowcrest Range Wilderness, 89,798 acres

a larger system-wide look at National Forest law and management. All sorts of ways in which to reform National Forest management have been proposed in the past, and most of those proposals focus on systemic measures imposed on all National Forests from the top-down. Rarer are proposals seeking to learn lessons from the bottom-up, and the FJRA offers such an opportunity. All of the efforts mentioned are admirable in their goals to secure broader-based solutions and conservation strategies. If lawmakers ever revisit National Forest law they should first study how placebased groups have approached things. Conclusion The above questions are not driven by politics. Nor are they asked with the purpose of trying to defeat the Senator’s bill or to criticize his courageous entry into Montana wilderness and National Forest politics. They are meant instead to get the public thinking about the big picture and how the parts are going to fit or not fit together. The stakes are high. If the FJRA becomes law, place-based legislative proposals may spring up throughout the West. The FJRA would be the first one out of the gate, setting precedent for others, and this is reason enough why it must be scrutinized so carefully.


CONSERVATION LEADERS

SHAPED BY NATUREʼS

INSPIRATION By Kassia Randzio

If you want to find Mike Freed, throw on a backpack and lace up your hiking boots. You might try walking the Appalachian Trail from end-to-end. If you don’t come across him in the East, it’s worth checking the Pacific Crest Trail or Continental Divide Trail, or any number of our country’s National Forests. If he’s not on foot satisfying his walking addiction, he’ll be sitting around a campfire, crafting lines of poetry, or enjoying an evening beside a lake and listening for the call of a loon—the inspiration for his trail name. Dr. Michael “Loon” Freed is a lifelong outdoor rambler. He grew up in Minnesota’s Mississippi bottomlands, a place he describes as quintessential Prairie Home Companion country. In adulthood, he migrated north to the all-American town of Grand Marais where, when building a log cabin on the shore of Lake Superior, his son and daughter were at his side and neighbors stopped by to lend a hand. Since retiring from teaching, he’s had the opportunity to walk our forests and travel

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Ripples I like it when the land ripples like wavelets of liquid rock and hard water hand held like snow and ice land held like water in lake pockets like stony streams Bulges, canyons, coves and small valleys the side of a ridge outcrops and ledges like a muscular arm, the earth flexes and bulges on its way to becoming a coal mine and bulges leaving ripples for me to dabble in to peek around, playground, and preserve. Mike Freed April 1984

WASHINGTON LOGGERS AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS FIND

COMMON GROUND Lloyd McGee (right), forester for Vaagen Bros. Lumber, accepts an award for the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition from Rick Brazell of the Colville National Forest. Photo by fotolia.com / Liddy Hansdottir

LIFE AND WORK

to the National Forest Foundation. His gift ensured that his special piece of land would be protected and started a fund to help preserve other National Forest inholdings. Since then, land conservation facilitated through Freed’s gift has enhanced the NFF’s mission to care for the National Forest System. This is just one way he’s given back to our forests. Freed believes that public involvement is the key to managing our public lands. Some people contribute land, others contribute money, and still others contribute time. As he says, volunteering in the forests “has made our country richer, and it’s made the people who do it richer.” Freed gave everything he had to teaching, prioritizing time with students over personal time for travel and recreation, but in retirement Mike “Loon” Freed has likely welcomed more sunrises and sunsets from the comfort of a sleeping bag than most people see in a lifetime. So, next time you’re out hiking in a National Forest, keep your eyes open for the Loon. He’ll be ready to share stories of adventure, a love of the land, and perhaps even an inspirational poem or two.

Photos by Chris Widmer

PROFESSOR LOONʼS

the world, but at heart he’s rooted in a small Minnesota town with a wonderful work ethic and lots of wild land where, he says, “Nature is embedded in everything we talk about.” This omnipresent feeling of being close to nature shaped his childhood, his career as a professor, and continues to shape his days in retirement. From his posts as a professor of natural resources in Oregon, Illinois, Arkansas and Virginia, Dr. Freed inspired students to move beyond academia to apply lessons to the broader world. He is the kind of professor who, several years into retirement, still keeps student projects in storage— tangible memories of his relationship with generations of young conservationists. (One of those former students happens to be NFF President Bill Possiel.) He believed in handson, interactive learning before these were buzz words. His philosophy: “Let nature do the teaching.” In Oregon, he gave students the opportunity to share their environmental knowledge with the public as interpretive naturalists in state parks. Years later, most of these park naturalists are still working in conservation, a tribute to their professor’s inspiration. In the East, he brought students to West Virginia’s Dolly Sodds Wilderness. In these ways, he encouraged students to become a part of the natural landscape, inspiring wonder and awe for the wild world. However, teaching was not a one-way street for Freed; he also reveled in being taught by his students. One group of students introduced him to raccoon hunting, running through the forest at night listening to the baying of the hounds and night sounds of the woods. Another of his students, eschewing a highly visited Arkansas icon—Hawksbill Crag—introduced him to a more secluded overlook nearby. Freed ended up purchasing 40 acres adjacent to this equally beautiful, little known bluff. He’d visit from time to time, camping on his land and enjoying views into the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, a 12,000-acre wildland below. Freed understands that preserving a place isn’t just about public lands; the surrounding landscapes also enhance our National Forests. Visiting his Arkansas overlook less and less, in late 2002 he donated his property

VOICES FROM THE FOREST

Editor’s Note: Collaboration has done more for our National Forests than just bringing diverse voices into the management debate. It has changed the way that conservation and stewardship get done. In fact, it has ensured that conservation and stewardship CAN get done. The National Forest Foundation has made collaboration the keystone of our conservation mission. When diverse stakeholders strive to identify their common ground, they break down roadblocks to restoring and improving the forests that benefit them all. Such is the case in Northeast Washington, where one NFF partner—the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (NEWFC)—has turned a hotbed of natural resource conflict into a model for collaborative stewardship. In their own voices, two key players—Mike Petersen, executive director of The Lands Council, and Lloyd McGee, a forester for Vaagen Bros. Lumber—share the evolution of their partnership and the rise of a highly successful collaborative organization.

Q: What made you decide to try

to build a relationship with the interests on the “opposite side” of the forest management debate? Mike Petersen: The management of public lands has been controversial and Mike Peterson, executive director of The Lands Council

disputes have often ended up in court. My organization had been successful at reducing the timber sales through appeals and litigation, but this had made it even harder to gain new wilderness. Our goal of protecting roadless areas was not coming to fruition and the timber interests were willing to discuss how we might meet our mutual goals. Lloyd McGee: As a forester, I’ve been involved with the timber wars for the last 25 years. I have observed a stalemate that has paralyzed the National Forest System and all interested stakeholders. Since there have been virtually no winners in this war, I explored what could be done differently. With the support of my employer, Vaagen Bros. Lumber Inc., in 2002 we entered into dialogue with the local environmental leaders to discuss a truce. We started by asking, “How can we work together on common interests and build trust?”

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Q: How did you begin to form the

collaborative relationships that led to the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (NEWFC)? MP: Our initial conversation was with a mill owner, Duane Vaagen—someone I had met many times in the past at meetings. We had a common ground of not liking how the Colville National Forest was being managed. In a sense, we brought together the same cast of characters who have always been involved in forest management issues—but now we have friendly relationships that have us working as a team and not adversaries. LM: The local environmental leaders were receiving the blame for the mill closures in the area and they embraced the idea of being a part of finding positive local solutions and creating a collaboration model. We met with other timber interests, local leaders and businesses to increase the diversity of the participants. Then we realized that to be effective, we needed to talk to the Forest Service Leadership Team. We agreed to work closely with the Colville National Forest Leadership Team to create a Memorandum of Understanding that would formalize the communication and trust-building processes between the coalition and the Colville National Forest.

Q: How have meetings of the

coalition changed over the years? MP: The attendance is similar, a core group of 7-8 people, with others who attend

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VOICES FROM THE FOREST

balance on the Colville National Forest? MP: Our coalition has a philosophy that the Colville National Forest has an abundance of opportunities for logging, hunting, fishing, a host of other recreational uses, and wilderness. Yet, we realize that multiple use doesn’t mean you can do everything on every single acre. So our first goal was to find balance across the million-acre forest. Our coalition quickly found a common interest in permanently protecting roadless areas and keeping the timber infrastructure in the rural communities of Northeast Washington. Our work has been to craft restorative treatments that help protect communities from wildfire, using the existing road system as much as possible. We still have a couple of challenges. One challenge is that, even though there have been no appeals and our coalition has helped expedite the public input process, the Colville is still having difficulty getting out projects. LM: NEWFC has created a balanced land management proposal with three management areas on the Colville National Forest. Our management areas are based on road densities across the forest. The most heavily roaded areas total approximately 400,000 acres. They are where the biggest road investments have been made and where active management for forest products will

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NEWFC participants gather in the Colville National Forest to design collaborative solutions.

be emphasized. The inventoried roadless areas are where the Forest Service has inventoried blocks greater than 5,000 acres with no inventoried roads. There are approximately 220,000 acres in this category. These potential wilderness areas would be managed for their wilderness characteristics and are currently being evaluated for wilderness recommendation. The third management area is restoration. These areas are lightly roaded and are between the roadless and heavily roaded areas. These 380,000 acres will be managed for restoring forest health and old growth characteristics. These three management categories allow for a balance of all land uses and recreation types.

Q: How have the challenges

NEWFC deals with changed over the years? MP: The reason for our remarkable success on the Colville is due in large part to the efforts of our coalition. We haven’t done this by changing environmental laws, but by getting out in the forest, working with the Forest Service, and finding a common set of interests. Everyone in our coalition is committed to telling their constituents about what we are doing. As we have come to agreement on many forest management issues, such as silvicultural prescriptions, we have taken on the challenging issue of building support for wilderness outside of

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NEWFC. Engaging ranchers, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, the Colville Tribe, and county commissioners has been our biggest challenge in the last year or two. LM: Our challenges have evolved from finding agreement within our collaborative group to finding support outside of our collaborative group. We formed a public education and outreach committee that meets regularly with other organizations and local leaders to receive their input and inform them of our progress and direction. We solicit their support and share what we have learned about the Forest Service processes and upcoming projects.

Photos by iStockPhoto.com / Darinburt, Waltraud Ingerl; Bottom photo courtesy of NEWFC

Q: How is NEWFC working to find

Photo courtesy of NEWFC

less regularly. We are more productive and enjoy each other’s company more. I think we have more of a problem-solving attitude now. LM: Our coalition began with very little trust and very little common ground. We had a 3½-day collaboration workshop attended by the Colville National Forest leadership and NEWFC members in which we learned to put aside our positions and focus on our interests. As we did this, we found common interests that drew us a little closer to each other. Over time, the tone of our meetings became more cooperative and trust began to build. We only took action on issues if we had a consensus among collaborative participants. If we only had a majority but not a consensus, we tabled further action until we found a resolved consensus.

VOICES FROM THE FOREST collaborative process and/or not supportive of working with the conservation community. I continue to ask the critics what other alternatives they suggest and I keep an open mind. I believe that we must communicate with all interested stakeholders if we are going to resolve our differences and support our National Forests.

Q: How has being involved in

NEWFC affected how you spend your time as a professional in your field? MP: I spend a large amount of time on forest collaboration. Since NEWFC has been a success, it has spawned other collaborations and sometimes it feels like death by meetings. The Lands Council certainly is spread thin, because we still have to monitor timber sales and analysis, and have multiple meetings added to that. LM: Approximately 25 percent of my time is spent on the collaboration process and working with NEWFC. We have collaborated and supported 22 large-scale stewardship projects and timber sales over the last seven years working on over 150,000 acres of planning area. We have received no appeals or litigation on these projects during this time. These and other successes have made the time spent worthwhile.

Q: How has being involved in

NEWFC affected you personally? MP: I feel like my diplomacy and problem-solving skills have increased and

Q: Did your colleagues criticize

you for taking the collaborative path? How did you handle that? MP: Yes, there has been and still is criticism. We have been accused of subverting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and allowing bad projects to proceed. We try to be open with our critics and tell them what we are doing, invite them on field trips, etc. We meet regularly with other conservation groups about what NEWFC is doing, share meeting notes and ask for input. So far our critics have not appealed our decisions on the Colville. LM: I received and continue to receive a certain amount of criticism from some colleagues who are not supportive of the

I have a much better understanding of the interests of the timber industry and rural counties. It has been very rewarding … and I also have more gray hairs. LM: Over the past seven years as president of NEWFC, I have evolved in my understanding of the complexities of natural resource management and of people management. I have moved into a realm of “social forestry.” I have been working with a diversity of people and perspectives, while advancing my skills in the art of negotiation and facilitation. I have a greater respect for the conservation community and all forest users while learning more about their genuine interests in “our” National Forests.

Q: Where are natural resource

management and conservation headed? MP: If the meetings that are now taking place on the Colville—which started with NEWFC, but now involve many elected officials and other constituencies—are successful, it will be a new model for how National Forests are managed. Real coordinated planning with the public would be interesting to see, and it is a very different model for forest planning than has traditionally taken place. LM: I believe that we will see a greater cooperation and participation from the local communities in the future with our forest professionals as we all deal with the issue of forest health and wildfire management. I believe that as we stabilize the productivity on our National Forests, we will see expanded uses of these products that may span from bio-fuels all the way to extraction for medicinal purposes. The key will be greater communication between the National Forest personnel and the public with an emphasis on finding good leaders and problem solvers within our communities.

Q: What is the future of

The NEWFC gets stakeholders into the woods to share their perspective.

collaborative stewardship? MP: I think applied to National Forests collaborative stewardship will look more like a private/public partnership where collaborations such as NEWFC are involved in planning, analysis and even NEPA. This raises a red flag for some conservationists who wonder about

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the places where a strong conservation presence does not exist. One concern is how conservation groups (and others) will be able to maintain the staffing necessary to participate. Some in the collaboration will not see direct benefit from the economic activities that are generated by stewardship projects (ecosystem benefits have intrinsic value that is hard to measure) and they may drift away after awhile. It would also mean a change in culture for the Forest Service, which is used to calling the shots on forest management. LM: I believe the future of collaborative stewardship has yet to be determined. The key for its successful future is to promote leaders to step forward who have the natural resource backgrounds and people skills to make collaboration work. We must first prove to the public and ourselves that collaboration is an appropriate process and that it will truly lead to public support for management solutions on our National Forests on a consistent and stable basis. We need to form partnerships between our National Forests and private organizations and coalitions that support the collaboration process. We must create a predictable and sustainable forest health treatment program on our National Forests if we are to maintain and grow our forest products industry and promote capital investments for future diversified uses. To learn more about the collaborative successes of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, visit their Web site at: www.newforestrycoalition.org.

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KIDS & NATURE

CORPORATE PARTNERS CORNER

TOMORROW’s LEADERS

By Charles Money, executive director, Alaska Geographic and Joe Meade, supervisor, Chugach National Forest

On the first day of school last fall, Cordova, Alaska, teacher Adam Low noticed something different in a handful of his students. Excitement. New energy. A sense of purpose that hadn’t previously been quite so apparent. About one student in particular, he said: “She was a different person—engaged, enthusiastic, really wanting to share her experience.” Across Prince William Sound in Anchorage, 17-year-old Angel was feeling accomplished. This summer, with a crew of other high school students, she flagged a new trail to the top of Explorer’s Ridge. While planning the trail, Angel offered new perspectives to adults who listened, then recalibrated the route based on her ideas. From the top, she looked down and said, “Yeah, I’m creating something important.” Ninth-grader Randall had never seen all that Alaska has to offer. For the past two years, he and 15 of his peers have participated in the Home Base After School program in Fairview, which is designed to support elementary and middle school students in science, math, and technology. Two summers ago, Randall and his classmates saw a side of Alaska that tourists travel the world over to experience. They took the train to Spencer Glacier. They kayaked among icebergs, photographed humpback whales, traded off learning to

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drive a boat with teaching each other to calculate distance and latitude. On the way home, Randall wrote in his journal, “I learned you can overcome any fear you have. You just have to believe.” These youth have helped shape the Chugach National Forest’s and Alaska Geographic’s response to two emerging and interconnected challenges. There is growing concern that in an urbanized world our youth are increasingly disconnected from their natural inheritance, and there’s a need for an engaged citizenry and trained workforce to address the many complexities of climate change. In the past year, dozens of students, organizations, and volunteers have participated in the Chugach Children’s Forest, a hopeful new initiative that empowers our children to grow into leaders for Alaska’s public lands, communities, and climate. In the fall of 2009, the Chugach Children’s Forest was inaugurated at a national kickoff celebration. The Children’s Forest is a symbolic designation by the U.S. Forest Service for the entire 5.5 million acres of the Chugach National Forest. The designation is underscored with new programs. Some aim to improve long-term health by connecting youths to the outdoors and a more active lifestyle. Others invigorate K-12 education or open new career pathways in science, technology, and innovation.

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www.youtube.com/user/ChugachChildForest

Humpback whale

Top Right Photo Courtesy of Vail Resorts; iStockPhoto.com / Can Balcioglu

Children’s forest inspires

And over time, with its thousands of glaciers covering a third of its landscape, the Chugach Children’s Forest will connect the public to the personal and global implications of climate change in the state that’s seeing that change first. Crew members in the first Chugach Conservation Corps, like Angel, now consider careers as wildlife biologists or forest kayak rangers. High school students from King Career Center understand statehood, subsistence, and fisheries from their work designing the forest’s “youthmanaged section” in Portage Valley. Still others are inspiring their peers and educating the public using the video, audio, and webbased technology they were trained to use during the first “youth media expedition.” In 2010, four expeditions will pair youth with leading scientists in climate change research. With each experience, these youth become more connected to one another, to adult mentors, and to their own potential in the changing world. As a “National Geographic” article on the program says, “Their world has grown larger, and their future is now filled with new hope, aspirations, and careers to explore.” But Angel’s words show a deeper truth: “We are being trusted. We are being told we are capable and valued. With this trust, there is room for us to grow into the people we want to become.” Through the creation of the Children’s Forest, Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest recognize that it’s our children’s climate and our children’s world to inherit. We think their leadership is a hopeful message for Alaska’s future. See a student-created film about the Chugach Children’s Forest at

Photo Courtesy of Alaska Geographic; iStockPhoto.com / Teresa Gueck

Sea kayaking is one way the Chugach Children’s Forest program connects kids to the outdoors.

Customer engagement programs support

tree-planting in Arizona, Florida Realizing the enormous restoration needs across our National Forests, many corporations are getting creative with their commitment to conservation and sustainability. Take Florida Power and Light for example. The largest investor-owned electric utility in Florida, FPL serves 4.5 million customers. During the summer of 2009, FPL tested a campaign inviting some customers to convert to paperless billing. For each conversion, FPL agreed to plant two trees in a Florida National Forest in partnership with the National Forest Foundation. Enthusiastic customer response resulted in more than 20,000 trees to be planted, leading the company to offer the program to more households in December 2009. In Arizona, Salt River Project (SRP) teamed with the NFF to continue their “Trees for Change” initiative, restoring

watersheds on Arizona National Forests damaged by wildfire and other impacts. SRP, which provides water and electricity to Phoenix and central Arizona, asks customers to make voluntary contributions to the campaign. The NFF and the U.S. Forest Service have identified two high priority tree-planting projects for spring 2010 to be completed with the support of SRP and its customers. Not to be outdone, National Bank of Arizona has launched its own NFF treeplanting partnership. The bank encourages customers to convert to paperless banking by planting a tree for every individual who signs on. “Not only are these partnerships planting thousands of trees in damaged forests, but they also give consumers simple ways to play a role in caring for our forests and watersheds,” said Jeff Olson, NFF vice president for development.

FLORISTS TIE TREE-PLANTING TO

FLOWER SALES

Red roses mean love and passion, yellow tulips bring good cheer, and orchids represent luxury and strength. And now, thanks to a number of local florists, they all stand for trees. In the summer of 2009, John’s Riverside Florist of Toms River, N.J., approached the National Forest Foundation about offering to plant trees with each flower order. As his marketing idea grew popular, shop owner John Franovic passed word on to his colleagues in other floral shops through the Teleflora network. Soon, florists from around the country began approaching the NFF to do the same. Several local florists have now partnered with the NFF in treeplanting campaigns, including: Best Flowers, Miami, Fla. George’s Flowers, Madison, Wisc. Good Old Days eco-florist, New Windsor, N.Y. John’s Riverside Florist, Toms River, N.J. Jonlee Flowers, Ltd., Aurora, Ill. Parker Blooms, Parker, Colo. Secret Garden, Walden, N.Y.

“The reaction has been overwhelming,”

John Franovic said. “I was only going to do it for two months in the summer, but the momentum is still going strong.”

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The Hayman Restoration Partnership will address the severe erosion problems plaguing the South Platte watershed after 2002’s Hayman wildfire.

Vail Resorts joins

NFF in large-scale

wildfire REstoration project

Vail Resorts, a longtime National Forest Foundation corporate partner, has stepped up to help launch one of the largest forest and watershed restoration initiatives ever undertaken. As part of the NFF’s Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign, Vail, the NFF and the U.S. Forest Service are working to restore forest health and water quality in the area of Colorado’s largest wildfire. In 2002, the Hayman fire burned more than 137,000 acres in the Pike National Forest. To this day, the fire’s aftermath continues to severely impact the water originating in the South Platte watershed—which supplies 75 percent of Colorado residents. The Hayman Restoration Partnership is a $4 million effort, with Vail Resorts serving as the private funding catalyst. “Thanks to a significant contribution by Vail Resorts, matched by the U.S. Forest Service, we are nearly halfway to our goal of fully funding this project,” said NFF President Bill Possiel. The total project area for the Hayman Restoration Partnership is over 115,000 acres, with the majority of the work honing in on 45,000 acres in four watersheds. The project’s multi-faceted work plan will involve planting of native species, trail creation and maintenance, stream and fisheries habitat enhancement, and erosion control. The NFF plans to engage a number of communities, partners and local volunteers in the process. Vail Resorts Chairman and CEO Rob Katz said, “One of the best attributes of the Hayman Restoration Partnership is how our actions will be echoed and amplified, so to speak, as we serve as the catalyst for this project with matching funds from the Forest Needand caption Service other entities.”

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FOREST PERSPECTIVES Photos courtesy of Terry Abelin, Bridger Bowl Ski Area, and Gallatin Naitonal Forest

FiRst montana

snow RangeR

Bridger Bowl Ski Area, 1964

Gallatin National Forest, Montana

Terry Abelin, the first Forest Service “Snow Ranger” in Montana, stands next to the newly mounted 75 mm recoilless rifle at Bridger Bowl Ski Area in 1964, displaying one of the rifle’s artillery-style shells.

By shooting shells into unstable snow and triggering avalanches under a more controlled environment, the rifle was instrumental in reducing the risk of avalanches to skiers on more advanced-level terrain at ski areas across the western United States. The rifle was surplus from the Korean War and only government officials were allowed to use them, says a now-retired Terry Abelin from his Bozeman, Mont., home. “We’d get some shells from the military but they kept telling us we weren’t going to get anymore,” recalls Abelin. Nonetheless, the military kept finding shells at ammunition dumps and kept the rifle firing. Last year, after 44 years of service, the recoilless rifle pictured here fired its last shot and was retired for more modern avalanche control tools. The military also couldn’t locate any more ammunition for the weapon. LEFT: Old 75 mm recoilless rifle stand at Bridger Bowl Ski Area, North Bowl, 1964 BELOW: Ranger Ron Christianson loads the rifle, 1964.

Need caption

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Whatever the Reason.

Whatever the Season. Give yourself, or someone else, the gift of vibrant wild places, with a National Forest Foundation membership. For just $35 per membership, you can wrap clean air, fresh water, and wildlife habitat into one great package. Membership benefits include: • a one-year membership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF); • subscription to the official magazine of the NFF—Your National Forests; • five trees will be planted to restore one of America’s National Forests. If you wish to give a gift membership, your gift recipient will receive the above benefits with a card notifying them that this special gift came from you.

Four easy ways to order: Mail: Return the form below to: NFF, Bldg 27, Suite 3, Fort Missoula Rd, Missoula, MT 59804 Phone: 406.542.2805 x 19 Email: dsnyder@nationalforests.org Online: www.nationalforests.org

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Yes ~ I want to support our remarkable National Forests and Grasslands. _________ Enclosed is my membership for $35. YOUR NAME ADDRESS CITY

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Your National Forests- Winter/Spring 2010  

The official magazine of the National Forest Foundation, this issue of Your National Forests highlights snowshoeing the Colorado Trail, expl...

Your National Forests- Winter/Spring 2010  

The official magazine of the National Forest Foundation, this issue of Your National Forests highlights snowshoeing the Colorado Trail, expl...