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Forestry Coalition Finds Balance in the Woods Timber Harvest Highest in Over a Decade on Colville National Forest

Forestry Coalition Honors Supervisor Brazell and His Staff at Annual Meeting.

 

Colville, WA – Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, a broad coalition that includes Vaagen Brothers Lumber, Columbia Cedar, Avista Utilities, Ponderay Newsprint, conservation groups, and other independent foresters and businesses, honored the Colville National Forest and Supervisor Rick Brazell with an award at their annual meeting and Barbeque at Colville City Park June 16.  2008 marked the sixth straight year of collaboration with the agency, and the hand-carved award donated by Ray Barnett of Nature’s Gallery highlighted the highest timber output off the once gridlocked forest in well over a decade. Rick Brazell accepts NEWFC award

 

“I appreciate what the Coalition has done, and I hear about it from everybody.  Of my 30 years with the Forest Service I’ve served the best of them right here in the Colville National Forest I thank you from the bottom of my heart because it really matters,” said Rick Brazell.

 

 61 million board feet might not mean a lot to some, but that figure means added certainty for a regional timber industry struggling to maintain our infrastructure and compete in an uncertain global market in challenging economic times.  The figure translates directly into meaningful terms for local workers and businesses.  “We’re talking about hundreds of jobs in the woods, on the roads, and in the mills,” said Coalition President Lloyd McGee.  “The increased timber harvest in 2008 from projects the Coalition and the Colville National Forest collaborated on has pumped millions into the economy.”

 

With woes about the state of the national and global economy at an all-time high, the Coalition’s work with the forest service to streamline timber management is a local success story that has caught the attention of forestry leaders and elected officials around the nation.  “While there are dozens of collaborative forestry groups starting up throughout the West, our coalition’s efforts have matured to the point that we’re having a dramatic positive impact on both forest health and the economy,” said McGee.  The Coalition has been recognized by members of Congress as one of the most successful community forestry groups of its kind.

 

After years of declining timber outputs from the Colville National Forest, the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition was formed to bring former conservation and timber industry adversaries together to try to get beyond the gridlock of controversy, appeals, and litigation through local collaboration.  “Once we sat down and started talking to each other directly, representatives of timber companies and environmental groups realized we could agree on a lot more than we ever would have thought,” said Tim Coleman with the group Conservation Northwest.  “The dramatic increase in the timber harvest on the Colville last year is a direct result of a lot of hard work on the part of the Coalition and the Forest Service to build common ground around better forestry practices.  As a conservationist, I’m proud to support sustainable timber harvest that benefits communities and wildlife.”