Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (Forestry Coalition)
The forest products sector of the northeast Washington economy has sustained its infrastructure even during the economic recession in large part because of the collaborative relationships forged between the timber industry, conservationists, Colville National Forest and Department of Natural Resources.
Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition created a forum that promotes dialog and problem solving
working collaboratively with public lands managers to support forestry jobs, restore, maintain and
preserve healthy forests across the region.
A number of government bodies participate in the Forestry Coalition including the US Forest Service,
Washington Department of Natural Resources, Ferry and Stevens County Conservation Districts,
Washington State University Extension, and commissioners from Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties.
Local businesses that participate in the NEWFC include Vaagen Brothers Sawmill, 49 Degrees Ski
Association, Ponderay Newsprint, Columbia Cedar, and Avista – Kettle Falls Generating Station.
Non-profit Conservation Organizations
Kettle Range Conservation Group, The Lands Council and Conservation Northwest, are non-profit
organizations that participate in the Forestry Coalition.
Formation of Collaborative Group
Timber companies and conservation groups convened the Forestry Coalition in June 2002, which was
originally called the Colville Community Forest Coalition. At first, these groups disagreed on many
management practices taking place in the Colville National Forest, however, they agreed that there
were changes that needed to be made to help the community, particularly with small scale thinning and logging to protect homes and communities at the so-called wildland urban interface.
At the beginning of their relationship, the groups decided to tackle critical issues including where to
actively manage forest, restore old growth forests and preserve roadless wild forests. Taking a balanced approach that equally valued each of these, Forestry Coalition resolved to work by consensus agreement, focusing on problem solving and abundance – rather than ignoring problems and taking a defensive “scarcity” approach. The Forestry Coalition created operating guidelines and bylaws and became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The group has three types of members: board members, active members, and advisory members. The advisory members are unable to serve on the board, as hey cannot or don’t want to formally join. These members can serve on committees and participate in monthly board meetings. Bimonthly the Board invites the public to participate in a meeting with staff of the Colville National Forest.
In 2005 the Forestry Coalition was approached by the Colville National Forest and asked to participate in a three-day workshop on collaboration that was hosted by the Forest. Key lessons learned from this
workshop were to focus on one’s interests rather than positions. A Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) that explains the nature of their interaction and communications as the Forest and Forestry
Coalition continue to work together was a byproduct of this workshop. The MOU also included a section on how the Forestry Coalition would communicate with the Colville National forest on specific projects which lead to the group creating a “Protocol for Determining Level of Support for a Project”. This document allows individuals to communicate concerns to the Colville National Forest about individual projects.
The Forestry Coalition is financially supported by some of its member, conservation groupsand the
National Forest Foundation and in-kind donations.
The Colville National Forest and the Forestry Coalition has a successful track record actively working
together on over three dozen forestry projects and the Colville Forest Plan revision. Committees within
the group work from a basis of on the issues that were once on the list of items too controversial to