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Blueprint evolves to 20/20

20/20 Vision for the Future

In 2006, the Coalition drafted a “blueprint” collaborative management proposal for the Colville National Forest designed to solve problems.  Proposal development and its many redrafts involved multi-stakeholder processes with foresters, scientists, conservation groups, the US Forest Service, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Colville Confederated Tribes, forest practitioners and recreation interests. 

One noteworthy step in refining the original Blueprint proposal of 2006 into a 20/20 Vision of today were the Forest Service-led Forest Plan “Summit” workshops, held from March 2006 to January 2007, and attended by one commissioner each from Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille County and about 80 eclectic citizens from the region.  During the Summit , the Forestry Coalition's draft management proposal was presented and thereafter became the basis for group decision-making in determining Colville Forest land management allocations.  Summit participants endorsed the Blueprint’s Active and Restoration Management Zone and management principles while agreeing by consensus to support protecting “wilderness characteristics” of Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs). 

The Colville National Forest made a commitment to Summit participants to give significant weight to their desires to protect the wilderness characteristics of the IRAs. The Blueprint remained a working document using an adaptive approach whereby lessons learned were applied to proposal revisions and based on Summit outcomes the Coalition revised its management proposal to recommend all but two Colville IRAs as wilderness.  The proposal was then submitted to the Forest Planning Revision Team.

In addition to the Summit process, a total of six more Forest Service and county collaborative work sessions were held:  A) two Forest Service recreation planning phases (of which several meetings were held in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille County), B) two Forest Service wilderness planning meetings, C) one Forest Service budget planning meeting, and  D) one County Collaborative facilitated by county commissioners session.

Each of these collaborative processes further informed refinement of the Forest Coalition’s Blueprint proposal.

August 14, 2009 , Senator Maria Cantwell and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers co-hosted a Forum in Spokane specifically to discuss the success of Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition and still unresolved issues associated with Colville National Forest management.  The Forum spawned a new collaborative named the Roundtable that was facilitated by Aaron Everett and organized by congressional staff of the Senator and Congresswoman.  Roundtable participants from motorized, non-motorized groups and other recreation interests, commissioners, conservationists, timber, mining and Colville Tribes established 4 issue committees: 1) Mining, 2) Recreation, 3) Ranching, and 4) Highway 20 (tribal issues).  Committees were specifically tasked with seeking agreements regarding Inventoried Roadless Area management, and in particular, proposals for new wilderness areas.

The Roundtable concluded in March 2009.  The Forestry Coalition borrowed what it learned during this and other processes to further refined its Blueprint, proposing 347,000 acres of active forest management, 279,000 acres of forest restoration, 215,000 acres of new wilderness, 145,700 acres in a new Kettle Range National Conservation Area, and 70,500 acres in 3 new National Recreation Areas.

If you’d like more information or to arrange a presentation for your group please contact Tim Coleman tcoleman@kettlerange.org