The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative, launched in 2013 with facilitation by the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board, is a diverse group of local stakeholders represented by timber industry, conservation groups, tribal government, elected officials, and local, state and federal land managers working together to obtain the resources and community support to accelerate landscape-scale forest restoration on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) in Chelan and Okanogan counties.
Why the national forest?
- The 4-million-acre OWNF makes up 70% of the land base of Okanogan and Chelan counties
- Provides unique social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits to Washington State and the U.S.
- Provides abundant recreation and tourism opportunities, critical habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, timber and other forest products and more.
- The national forest is experiencing uncharacteristically severe fires (reference OWNF Strategy and North 40 Production’s 2015 trailer called “Wildfire & US”)
- Insect infestations
- Disease epidemics
- Habitat loss
- Hydrologic events that cause massive erosion
*Climate change will exacerbate these threats in the near future.
- Scientists generally agree active, landscape-scale restoration is needed if the forest is to become resilient to above threats.
- Our collaborative is using a consensus-based approach to build momentum towards this restoration in Chelan and Okanogan counties while also providing jobs, forest products and recreational opportunities.