NNRG Newsletter
June 2019

Director's Message

As we ramp up towards summer I have a personal challenge to all of you who don’t own forestland – take out your calendar right now and commit at least two weekends this year to being entirely in the woods.

Could be camping at a State Park, hiking in a National Forest, a work party with a friend who owns forestland, or volunteering with a local land trust planting trees or pulling invasive weeds. Explore one of the many FSC®-certified forests open to the public (more on those later in this newsletter). For those of you who do own forestland, I challenge you to visit a woods other than your own for a different perspective. 

Further, in particular if you have children, commit yourself to getting to know at least 10 native plants, especially those that are edible! There is always so much that distracts our time and attention from what’s truly meaningful in life, but making a regular commitment to spend time in the woods and steep ourselves in the mysteries and wonders of this earth will help fine tune our existential compasses.

Kirk Hanson
Director of Forestry
(360) 316-9317

Updates from NNRG

Go Play in One of King County’s Forests

Want to know what a well-managed forest looks like? Walk, run, or ride through King County’s forestlands.

A mountain biker bounces along a narrow trail, wind whistling through her hair as she leads several friends through miles of lush conifer forest. A few miles away, a family strolls along the magical gnomes path, kids letting out squeals of delight as they stumble upon gnome after gnome nestled inside stumps, hiding behind branches, and tucked in pebble beds. 

On any given day, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and horseback riders can be found exploring these 1000+ acres of forestland just outside of Maple Valley, a short drive from Seattle and Tacoma. The forests are called Henry’s Ridge and Black Diamond Open Space. Together with Cemetery Reach Natural Area, Ravensdale Retreat Natural Area, Island Center Forest, and Taylor Mountain Forest, they form the six FSC-certified properties managed by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. 

Much of the County’s forestland was industrial timberland in the past. The forests looked and felt crowded, dominated by same-aged and single-species stands. Surveyors had to search high and low to find large snags and down wood. The forests were so uniform that they provided only marginal wildlife habitat and were susceptible to disease, pests, and wildfire. Leaving the forests alone wasn’t going to improve the situation, so the County got to work. 

Read on to learn why ‘just leaving the forest alone’ wasn't an option for King County, and what it has done instead.

Skokomish Tribal Forest Certified 

Mason County tribal lands are first in Washington to gain FSC® certification!

The Skokomish Indian Tribe has earned Forest Stewardship Council® certification for its 2,100-acre forest at the south end of Hood Canal, making it the first tribe in Washington state to gain that endorsement. 

The Skokomish Tribe joins three other Indian tribes in the United States in maintaining FSC® certification: the Coquille Tribe in Oregon, the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council in California, and the Menominee in Wisconsin. 

The tribe hired NNRG to help steward its forests in 2014, when it brought in Kirk Hanson to develop a management plan for its forest holdings. Those forests — including more than 1,500 acres on the reservation and 500 acres at Skokomish Park by the shores of Lake Cushman — held great potential for ecological forestry after maturing largely on their own for the last 80 to 100 years. The forest stands were becoming more structurally complex and thus able to provides habitat for a wider diversity of creatures.

Click here to read full announcement on NNRG's blog.
In Remembrance of Patti Southard

NNRG would like to honor a former board member, dear friend and ally of ecological forestry – Patti Southard, who passed away April 15. Patti was a staunch advocate of green building in the Pacific Northwest, and worked tirelessly to support the movement – all the way from the FSC certification of well-managed forests to low-impact residential and commercial building policies within King County. Both during her tenure as a board member of NNRG, and as the Manager for King County’s Green Tools program, Patti was known for her personal levity and passionate ability to bring people from all walks of life together to develop solutions for improving the quality of our built environment. Although the green building community has lost a tremendous ally, Patti’s legacy will live on in all of the people she inspired.


King County is the nation’s first local government to offer a certified carbon credit program. "[The] Forest Carbon Program confronts climate change by offering local companies the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions by keeping forests intact here in the region, making it possible for their employees and their families to explore and enjoy the protected outdoor spaces," says the county.
O'Neill Pine Company, a member of NNRG's group FSC® certificate, was named Washington's 2019 Tree Farmer of the Year! O'Neill Pine Company manages 2,200+ acres of forestland in Thurston and Lewis counties. First certified through NNRG in 2005, their work supports the regional economy and local small forest owner community. Congratulations to O'Neill Pine! 
Do you love the Pacific Madrone? You can help WSU researchers collect data on the range and health of madrones in the PNW. It's as simple as taking a photo of the next madrone you see! Read more about the study here, and learn how you can use the TreeSnap app to submit your data to this study. 
NNRG is hiring a Lead Forester! The Lead Forester works with NNRG’s two other foresters and the rest of the NNRG team to manage and oversee ecologically-based timber thinning projects, replanting projects, invasive species removal, and other restoration activities. Read more and apply here.
An interesting study on Mountain pines in Spain and Siberian larches in Russia shows we have so much to learn about trees. "It’s well established that warmer temperatures and more carbon dioxide in the air can make trees grow faster." The question is, do those fast-growing trees age the same way others do? 
Subtle differences in topography, landforms, types of soil and bedrock impact the timing of insect hatching and plant blooming. These differences could be essential to helping migratory birds adapt to climate change. If you're interested in birds and phenology, this interesting article from Cool Green Science on conservation planning with birds in mind is worth a read. 

Upcoming Events

See NNRG's Upcoming Events page for more forestry-related events near you.

Get Outside! 

The King County forests we described above aren't the only FSC®-certified forests in the Pacific Northwest open for public enjoyment! Below is a small sample of others you might enjoy exploring. These lands offer an opportunity for all of us to know what healthy forests look and feel like. A full list of FSC-certified forests that are open to the public is available here.

Turtleback Mountain

Orcas Island, WA
San Juan County Land Bank
Wander through a mosaic of oak woodlands, wetlands & meadows, with views of the Salish Sea.

Lake Rosannah Natural Area
La Center, WA
Clark County Public Works
Tucked in the north corner of Clark County is a beautiful canyon with  picturesque Lake Rosannah. 

Tiger Mountain State Forest
Issaquah, WA
Washington DNR
A popular spot for hang-gliders, Tiger Mountain includes gorgeous views and hikes for all levels. 

Central Cascades Forest

Cle Elum, WA
TNC Washington 
With 124 miles of designated summer and winter trails, there is ample opportunity for recreation in this forest.
Copyright © 2019 Northwest Natural Resource Group, All rights reserved.

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