Community Forest Trust
Working forests in Washington are a vital part of our economy and culture. However, since the 1980s, more than one sixth—17 percent—of Westside forests have been converted to other land uses. As working forests vanish, so do many benefits for communities—local timber, natural resources jobs, clean air and water, and recreation.
To address this, DNR worked with the state Legislature to create a new tool for local community partners to participate in protecting working forestlands that benefit their communities—the Community Forest Trust. It’s a new category of working forestland, to be held by the state, actively and sustainably managed by DNR, and used by the local community consistent with their local values.
How would the community forest trust work?
Community forest candidates are nominated by local communities, selected by DNR, and funded jointly by the community and the Legislature. Once acquired, each Community Forest will have a working forest management plan, developed by the local community and DNR. The plan will specify financial, conservation, and recreation objectives. Community Forest Trust lands must be able to support themselves financially through revenue generating activities.
How can your community participate?
DNR is working with community leaders to identify at-risk working forests—to acquire and create a long-term vision for that community’s working Community Forest. The initially selected Community Forest Trust nominations will act as pilot projects, allowing DNR to develop the process and a viable functioning program for the future. Community coalitions are encouraged to nominate potential Community Forests for DNR’s consideration. Projects selected as pilots will be taken to the Legislature to request funding for the state portion of the funding for property acquisition.
How can local communities prepare to nominate a community forest?
- Identify sources of funding for local share of funding
- Solidify broad local community support for Community Forest nomination
- Identify and secure broad community support for proposed forest management principles for nominated Community Forest
- Contact Andrew Hayes, DNR's natural resources policy specialist, to discuss the next steps in the nomination process
Natural Resources Policy Specialist