Derek Kilmer to Help Kick Off Series of Public Meetings with Olympic Peninsula Forest Collaborative in Forks
FORKS, WA – On Friday, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) will visit Forks to join in the first of a series of public meetings with timber, conservation, and local leaders from the Olympic Peninsula Forest Collaborative. The hearing will provide a chance for the Collaborative to engage the public in its efforts.
The meeting will take place at Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks, WA. Members of the Collaborative will give presentations on the group’s governance structure, stated goals, and progress to date. Members of the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the Collaborative and sign up to receive regular updates on its work. There will be four additional meetings in Grays Harbor, Mason, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties during 2016.
During a recent visit to Aberdeen with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Collaborative announced a proposed pilot project on the Olympic National Forest. The project will feature forest restoration silvicultural treatments that benefit the ecosystem and provide for additional harvest in the region. This, as in all future collaborative sponsored projects, will require approval by the Forest Service and other federal agencies. This project will be in compliance with both the Olympic National Forest Plan and the Northwest Forest Plan. The volume produced from this proposed project will be in addition to the United States Forest Service budgeted timber sale outputs for the year. This agreement builds on the successful partnership between the Collaborative and the Olympic National Forest, which so far has accelerated a timber sale in Grays Harbor County earlier this year and is adding capacity to the agency’s annual work plan.
This past May in Port Angeles, Kilmer joined regional leaders from the National Forest Service, local governments, the local timber industry, and environmental advocacy groups to officially launch the Olympic Peninsula Forest Collaborative. The Collaborative is focused on increasing habitat restoration thinning and aquatic restoration projects under the Northwest Forest Plan on Olympic National Forest that will create economic opportunities on the Olympic Peninsula. Among the items discussed at the official launch were the group’s goals and governance structure, along with the best ways to incorporate feedback from the public.
The Collaborative is modeled on similar partnerships in Washington state like the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition. It is the first of its kind on the Peninsula solely dedicated to creating environmentally sound forests while increasing sustainable timber harvests within the bounds of the Northwest Forest Plan.
Participants in the Collaborative include: American Forest Resource Council, American Whitewater, Cosmo Specialty Fibers, Interfor, Merrill & Ring, the Mountaineers, Murphy Company, Olympic Park Associates, Olympic Forest Coalition, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, Pew Charitable Trusts, Sierra Pacific Industries, Washington Wild, and the Wild Olympics Campaign.