WFFA's Ken Miller was featured in an article in Capital Press on January 13, about the Forest Practice Board decision to reject our template proposal that Ken had been spearheading for WFFA for the last 8 years. Read the full article here.
WFFA's Ken Miller was featured in an article in Capital Press on January 13, about the Forest Practice Board decision to reject our template proposal that Ken had been spearheading for WFFA for the last 8 years. Read the full article here.
A fresh bill has dropped in the current Washington State Legislature to create an attractive “Support Working Forests” special vehicle license plate. Before this moving billboard for the good work we do can ever be seen on the road, we still need a few hundred more signatures from Washington state residents. Click here to sign the petition.
The funds from the sales of these special plates will go to the Washington Tree Farm Program to help certify small landowners who practice sustainable forestry.
Before the Department of Licensing (DOL) can proceed, we need to collect at least 3,500 signatures. Signing this sheet does not obligate you to purchase a special plate, if they become available, but when the special plates are available the information you provide may be used to notify you.
Emailed Message Regarding Western Washington Alternate Plan Template Outcome - The following emailed message was sent out to the WFFA membership on December 1, 2022, from Executive Director, Elaine Oneil, and TFW Policy Representative, Ken Miller.
December 1, 2022
Re: Western Washington Alternate Plan Template Outcome
Dear Fellow Small Forest Landowners:
The results were disheartening. On November 10, 2022, after nearly eight exhausting years of policy conversation, all five state agencies on the Forest Practices Board (Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture) voted to reject the WFFA proposal for buffer widths as put forth using a scientifically credible process that included both WFFA sponsored science and their own Adaptive Management Program (AMP) sponsored science. The state agencies were joined by both tribal representatives and a conservation caucus representative on the Forest Practices Board in rejecting the scientific merits, in rejecting the more than 240 letters that were sent in support of our proposal, and in rejecting multiple offers to condition the buffer proposals consistent with the discussions we had with all but one of the board members prior to this pivotal vote. The full hearing on both our buffer width proposal and an associated ‘relatively low impact criteria dispute’ can be found on the TVW video of the Forest Practices Board hearing. Specific timing for elements of the hearing are listed on our website at https://www.wafarmforestry.com/FPBRecordingTimeline. You will note that Ken Miller, our TFW Policy Representative, engaged in an act of civil disobedience at the end of the November 10 hearing in response to this egregious block voting on the part of state agencies.
Prior to the vote, we received signals from more than one state agency that small forest landowners of our caliber deserved a break, but we saw no evidence of any benefit of the doubt or breaks during actual vote counts. This vote against the proposal followed the same pattern that occurred at the November 9, 2022 Forest Practices Board meeting where four of the five state agencies (all but DNR) voted against advancing a private landowner proposal into the rule making process for addressing outcomes arising from a long term study on non-fish bearing streams. In neither case were state agencies willing to listen to, or advance, any alternatives that would address private landowner concerns. After the November 9th vote we received several verbal confirmations that state agencies were directed to vote down landowner alternatives.
This egregious lack of engagement with landowners follows on a similar path to that established in January 2022 with HB 1838 (aka The Lorraine Loomis Act) that, had it passed, would have established enormous buffers on all agricultural lands with streams meeting the definitions of fish bearing. Since efforts are afoot to limit testing to see if fish frequent low gradient streams, this would have essentially covered all agricultural land in western Washington and a large amount of agricultural land in eastern Washington where water is present. There has been significant signaling that some version of the Lorraine Loomis Act will return this legislative session. The outcomes from the Forest Practices Board votes of November 9 and November 10, 2022, presage an ominous outcome for all private rural landowners. This is especially true if we divide our interests along regional, partisan, or sector lines. Unity among those who own rural lands is essential to ensure that our voices are heard and respected as we navigate a complex, but not insurmountable, challenge of integrating scientific, social, ecological, and economic criteria into decision making.
The choices made by state agencies this past month are not a shining example of government at its best, but if we choose to walk away, we are aiding and abetting that kind of behavior. That isn’t an acceptable solution for yourselves as small forest landowners, for your lands, or even for the state. Your letters spoke of profound reverence for the lands you steward, and a kind of durable connectedness to nature, to family, and to community that is much needed in this world. Thank you so much for putting your heart into them.
Your letters are reason enough to never give up. Therefore, we are examining potential options for addressing this latest policy failure and will keep you apprised as we move forward on several fronts. We are likely to be asking for active participation (calling your elected representatives, for example) to advance these discussions. If you feel moved to participate in any way, we would be most appreciative of your thoughts, ideas, energy, and passion. Please reach out. We have greatly appreciated your support during this complicated, but necessary endeavor.
With greatest regard,
Elaine Oneil, PhD
Washington Farm Forestry Association
TFW Policy Representative
Washington Farm Forestry Association
Published in Capital Press, November 11, 2022
A board that regulates logging has rejected a proposal by small-forest landowners to shrink buffers between streams and tree-cutting, sparking a one-man protest.
After the vote Nov. 9, Ken Miller, of the Washington Farm Forestry Association, sat at a microphone and compared the majority of the Forest Practices Board to “emperors drunk on power.” Read more
Small family forest owners were promised alternative harvest prescriptions in 1999 Forests & Fish that have yet to materialize. Several years ago we considered legal action, but instead decided to make our case using science. The scientific studies have been done and they confirm that 75’ and 50’ buffers can be as effective in protecting the resources as the current wider buffers. However, at its November 10 meeting, the Forest Practice Board ignored the science, and their rules by rejecting the template that had been proposed by WFFA for SFLOs. Over 200 letters were submitted by small forest landowners in support of the template. WFFA Executive Director Elaine Oneil and TFW Policy Representative Ken Miller highlighted those comments in a letter to the Board that can be viewed here.
This article in Capital Press provides a good overview of cone production in a seed orchard through the manufacturing process.
Wildfire Ready Neighbors is a free new program that provides residents with a tailored wildfire plan and resources for improving defenses against fire.
You can sign up today at https://wildfireready.dnr.wa.gov/.
Are you tapping maples on your property? If you are, then WSU Extension Forestry is interested in learning from you!
Sapsuckers is a community-based science program that sources on-the-ground data from individuals who are actively tapping bigleaf maples in western Washington and Oregon.
We need your help! Bigleaf maple sugaring is catching on at both the hobby and commercial scale. Data from hobbyists and syrup producers can help us gain a better understanding of how things like site, tree, and weather characteristics influence sap yield and quality over a broader geographic area. This will guide our understanding of best practices and assist the development of a sustainable bigleaf maple syrup market in the Pacific Northwest.
Are you interested in joining the Sapsucker program? Please click to see further details.
From consultations with service foresters, to assistance with stewardship planning, to fish passage funding, to help navigating complex regulations, if you’re a forest landowner, the Washington Department of Natural Resources probably has a program that could help you.
In an effort to make its existing programming more accessible, last month DNR launched its new Landowner Assistance Portal. The navigation tool is designed to help landowners search by topic for general information, technical and financial assistance, and help with permits and regulations to help keep their forest healthy, productive and resilient to wildfire.
The portal is intended to be a one-stop shop for forest landowners with questions about a wide variety of topics, gathered earlier this year through an informal survey process.
When visiting the tool, located at dnr.wa.gov/LandownerAssistancePortal, users will find 34 of DNR’s most searched-for subjects sorted into four categories: Resources for Managing My Forest, Keeping My Forest Healthy, Education and Training, and Permits and Regulations.
This podcast features Matt Provencher, Manager of the Service Forestry Program with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, which supports small forest landowners. Thanks to new legislative funding, this program is dramatically expanding. We discuss the details of the expansion and the implications for landowners needing assistance managing their forestlands.
Dr. Elaine Oneil, Executive Director of the Washington Farm Forestry Association, discusses the history of the WFFA and its purpose, as well as how it’s evolving the direction Dr. Oneil sees it going in the coming decades. This includes the formation of a Small Forest Landowner Carbon Workgroup, which is an effort to provide smaller landowners access to carbon markets and recognize the ecosystem services that these landowner provide. The workgroup needs support and voices from interested landowners in the state. Listen to learn more about how you can get involved!
At the 2022 Northeast Washington Family Forest Field Day, an iconic Washington Farm Forestry Association leader, Bob Playfair, was honored for his years of mentorship and commitment to supporting small forest landowners Read the story about it that was published in National Woodlands.
Heather Heward is an instructor of Fire Ecology at the University of Idaho, is pursuing a PhD in Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership, and is the Chair of the Idaho Prescribed Fire Council. As we look to become a more fire resilient society, one of the tools we must assess is the use of fire as a method of managing fuels in our dry forest and woodlands. Heather sat down with the Forest Overstory to talk with us about the pros and cons of using fire on the landscape and why it is a necessary tool for forest management. Finally, we discuss how society has looked at prescribed fire in the past and discuss the risk surrounding prescribed fire. Click here to listen.
Dr. Connie Harrington and Leslie Brodie are foresters and researchers with the U.S. Forest Service based in Olympia. Over the last two decades they’ve explored a new form of thinning that focuses on reintroducing structural complexity and diversity to forest plantations in order to improve wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services. This practice, called variable density thinning, creates canopy gaps, dense areas, and heterogeneous tree spacing, resulting in a forest that more closely resembles pre-settlement forest structure. Connie and Leslie share their experiences researching and implementing VDT in the field, lessons learned, and how they think it applies to small forest owners in Washington. Click here to listen.
Elections and Annual Meeting Updates - Last autumn, the WFFA Executive Board made a fiscally responsible decision to cancel our traditional indoor annual meeting, including our business meeting, for the spring of 2022 to avoid incurring substantial non-refundable costs should the event be cancelled due to pandemic concerns. To meet annual non-profit reporting requirements for elections and notifications consistent with our bylaws, we have adopted the following strategy. Official reports covering our financial status, membership and other items are included in our Annual Report which is an insert in our Summer 2022 Landowner News.
Elections will be conducted online via our website, by mail-in voting or by phoning in your vote to Kelly at 360-388-7074 (your preference). For those receiving paper copies of the Landowner News, we have provided a detachable ballot with mailing envelope included; you need only provide the stamp! We will be closing the elections on July 15, 2022. Please cast your online vote, phone in your vote or postmark your mail-in ballot by that time to ensure you have your say in the future of WFFA.
The Slate of Officers - There were some changes in the expected slate of officers due to changing life circumstances, but we were fortunate to have willing and able members that have put their names forward as candidates for the state office volunteer positions. This year’s Slate of Officers includes returning representatives for the office of President (Dick Alescio – Olympic Chapter), 1st Vice President (Ann Stinson – Lewis Chapter), 2nd Vice President (Court Stanley – Lewis Chapter), Secretary (Paula Hopkins – Pierce Chapter) and Treasurer (Bill Scheer – Lewis Chapter). We are grateful to these members for their willingness to serve. If you feel that you too would like to serve, please contact me at email@example.com. There is a plethora of opportunities to use your expertise within the organization. It might be in helping craft our communications strategy, providing web content, helping with a membership drive, or serving at our booth at the state fair. All efforts are appreciated.
Thank you again for your participation in this WFFA election process – we value your involvement.
Remember to vote by July 15!
Please click here for the ballot to vote online.
If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at 360-388-7074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob and Kazuko Barker were recently awarded the 2022 Tree Farmer of the Year by our partners at the Washington Tree Farm Program. Their Nelson Road Tree Farm was purchased by Bob and Kaz in 1996 when Bob wanted a retirement project. It was poor quality, neglected pasture land in the Van Zandt area of Whatcom County, in the Nooksack River watershed and the foothills of Mount Baker. Over the last 25 years, 30,000 trees have been planted on the tree farm and the tree farm now plays an important role in providing habitat for endangered salmon runs and the endangered Oregon spotted frog.
Click here to view a complete listing of our WFFA videos, including the recent Bigleaf Maple Syrup Conference held at Pack Forest!
A Tale of Time and Tall Trees, with Dr. Jerry Franklin
Dr. Jerry Franklin is an emeritus professor of Ecosystem Analysis at the University of Washington and the Director of the Wind River Research Forest. Dr. Franklin has conducted research across many of the forest types of the Pacific Northwest, including early work in sub-alpine ecosystems, and later work in dry forest ecosystems of the East Cascades. Much of Dr. Franklins career was centered around the novel classification of mature, old-growth, Douglas-fir forests of western Washington and Oregon. Jerry shares with us his time growing up in the emerging field of forest ecology, what defines an old-growth Douglas-fir forest, the role of these forests in a changing climate, the trials and tribulations of the Northwest Forest Plan, and we end with a discussion on some of the books that have shaped his view of the ecological world. Listen here to Part 1 and Part 2.
A Community Approach to Restoration, with Martha Wyckoff, Tyler Larsen, and Adam Hess
Martha Wyckoff is a private forest landowner in Kittitas County, central Washington. Her and her husband have owned and managed the land for 30 plus years. During this time they have slowly acquired forest and prairie land in the area with the goal of actively restoring the functionality and health of the forest. Their work has consisted of restoring much of the forest structure towards a more historical condition and have partnered with students from Central Washington University to study the impacts the management has had towards wildlife and plant diversity.
The University of Washington, College of the Environment, Climate Impacts Group are developing regionally-specific guides for small forest landowners that describe the most immediate climate impacts on forests and potential actions landowners can take to increase climate resilience. They have completed a guide for western Washington, are working on one for eastern Washington, and hope to do additional regions in the Northwest. Each guide takes into account the specific climate and ecology of the region.
These guides are geared toward small forest landowners in the Northwest, as well as organizations (non-profits, conservation districts, local governments) that support these landowners to manage their forests.
The online seedling sale is over. Seedling pickup day is Saturday March 12. Visit Cowlitz Chapter page for details.
The In-Person seedling sale is on March 19 at Battle Ground Albertson's parking lot. See the events listing on the Clark Chapter page for more details.
The online sale is complete. Seedling pickup day, Saturday March 19. Visit the Whatcom Chapter page for details. Questions or issues with your order? Please call 360-389-8260
A Tribal Perspective to Natural Resource Management, with Ray Entz & Mike Lithgow
Prior to Euro-American settlement, Indigenous Peoples of North American lived on and managed this landscape. Today, their land has been confined to reservations and land acquired and held in trust of the tribe. Much like small forest landowners, they manage their forestland for a multitude of goals and services, including many cultural practices that have been carried on through their history. Ray Entz and Mike Lithgow sit down with us to talk about the goals and strategies they have when managing natural resources for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.
The Biggest Little Habitat Engineer by Dr. Melissa Fischer and Glenn Kohler. Melissa and Glenn are the Washington State Entomologists with the Department of Natural Resources. Our conversation winds from a discussion about the Hemlock Wooley Adelgid and invasive insects to native insects and the role they play in our ecosystem. We talk about what makes a tree and a forest healthy, and what a resilient forest might look like into the future.
Forest Stewardship University is a set set of on-demand, self-paced, and peer-reviewed online learning modules on a variety of forest stewardship topics. The modules are geared toward owners of forested and wooded property in the state of Washington as well as anyone interested in learning more about Pacific Northwest forests. Six modules are currently available:
1. Animal damage control
2. Managing a successful timber sale: Top 10 “musts”
3. Managing woodlands for aesthetics and enjoyment
4. Reducing wildfire risks to your western Washington home in the woods
5. Threatened and endangered wildlife species in Washington forests
6. Washington state forest land and timber taxes
A recording of presentations given online on January 28, 2022 is available for viewing. The presentations include: Managing Risk in Prescribed Fire, Smoke Trends, Effects of Prescribed Fire on Soil Health; Prescribed Fire for Inland NW Family Forests
The 3 hour recording can be viewed online by clicking here and entering the passcode Z?d.6F#1
Two webinars have been held recently and recordings are available for viewing at your convenience.
Current Carbon Opportunities gives an overview of some of the carbon programs that have become increasingly available to small forest landowners in the last year.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program provides information on funding opportunities available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The 2022 legislative session has started with a bang. There are several pieces of proposed legislation that may be of interest to members and that have hearings this week.
Specific to small forest landowners
Potentially of interest if you own agricultural land or operate small equipment (chainsaws, lawnmowers etc).
For more information check out those links and see our legislative update in the WFFA members only section. Log in here. We will be testifying on behalf of WFFA on those bills specific to small forest landowners.
The fourth episode of Forest Overstory, a podcast sponsored by WSU Forestry Extension, features Dave Peterson is Professor of Forest Biology at the University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Emeritus Senior Research Scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Dave manages his tree farm, Mountain Heart Tree Farm in Skagit County. In this episode we discuss strategies to create forest resiliency. Topics range from historic forest composition, impacts from a warming climate, and assisted tree migration. Listen here.
Our WFFA Executive Director, Dr. Elaine Oneil, is featured in this King 5 news report on Commissioner Franz's proposed "Keep Washington Evergreen" Plan. This initiative would create framework and secure funding for conservation of one million acres of working and natural forests, as well as reforestation of one million acres across Washington.
Please click on the link to the video that aired on King 5's November 30, 2021 broadcast.
Keep Washington Evergreen aims to conserve one million acres of working forests, while reforesting an additional one million acres, including in burn scared and urban communities with disproportionately small amounts of tree cover, by 2040. The initiative was developed in close consultation with stakeholders, including Tribal partners, environmentalists, conservation groups, environmental justice advocates, and members of the forest products industry.
Commissioner Franz is partnering with the Legislature to develop a 20-Year strategy, establish a stakeholder advisory group, and make an initial investment of $25 million in capital funds to help meet the goals of Keep Washington Evergreen. The $25 million will be used to acquire critical forestlands at risk of development and keep working forests working for all of Washington.
Keep Washington Evergreen directs the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies to work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholder groups to identify and prioritize the most threatened working forests in Washington to prevent their conversion and to prioritize landscapes with the greatest need for reforestation efforts. The Washington State legislature will hear the Keep Washington Evergreen legislation during the 2022 legislative session.
Wonderful support from King 5 for our state's forests, our small forest landowners and WFFA!
The third episode of WSU Forestry Extension's Forest Overstory podcast features Ann Stinson and Lou Jean Clark, the co-owners of Cowlitz Ridge Tree Farm in Lewis County. Ann and Lou Jean have co-owned/managed the Cowlitz Ridge Tree Farm since the passing of husband and brother, Steve Stinson in 2014. Ann discusses growing up on the tree farm and Lou Jean shares her experiences taking on the tree farm later in her life. Both having grown up in the area, they share their passion for taking care of the land and what trials and tribulations they have faced along the way. Finally, we chat with Ann about her experiences writing a memoir about her family and the forest they have long cared for, titled The Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest.
The Ground at My Feet is a memoir about loss and grief as well as a portrait of a family, a region, and an industry. Combining personal story and research, Stinson weaves essays, poems, history, and science into a rich and layered account of life in a family forest in the Pacific Northwest. She maps interactions between the land and its people over two centuries: the Cowlitz peoples, homesteaders, and several generations of logging families who have worked the property. She follows her family’s logs as they become lumber for fence boards and suburban homes, touring a local cedar mill and traveling with her father to visit mills in Japan.
Stinson adds a landowner’s voice to conversations about the human tendency to demand more of the land than it can sustain. With its uniquely personal view of the Pacific Northwest’s timber and forestry heritage, The Ground at My Feet is an engaging addition to the literature of the landscape and ecology of the West. Available from OSU Press and Amazon.
An article in the Washington State Magazine reports on results of maple syrup tapping in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, featuring WFFA member Al Craney and WSU Extension Foresters Kevin Zobrist and Patrick Shults.
WSU Forestry Extension created a 13 minute video where several small forest landowners, including Past WFFA State President Patti Playfair, share their feelings about owning forest land.
At many chapter and state gatherings, raffles are held to raise money for scholarships and other activities. Since those gatherings haven't been held recently, Northeast Washington Farm Forestry Association has organized a state-wide, donation-based raffle for a chain saw, donated by Hartill’s Saw & Tractor in Chewelah. Tickets are $10. The saw will be delivered to the winner anywhere in the state. View this flyer for details.
If you missed the recent webinar presented by Heather Hansen, our legislative lobbyist, you can view the recording at any time.
In early November, members were asked to send messages to the Forest Practices Board prior to their November 10 meeting. If you did so, thank you! WFFA representatives were at that meeting to testify on your behalf. The testimony submitted by Elaine Oneil, Ken Miller, and Steve Barnowe-Meyer can be read here.
Over two million acres of working forests managed by the State of Washington provide a sustainable and continuous supply of timber, clean water for salmon, habitat for wildlife, family-wage jobs and non-tax revenue to support public education and community services. All of these benefits are at risk if a legal attack against these working forests is successful in the Washington State Supreme Court this fall. Read more.
Conservation groups want the Washington Department of Natural Resources to change how it manages state trust lands. At a State Supreme Court hearing today, an attorney for the conservation groups argued state trust lands should benefit all Washington residents but it doesn’t. The groups said the state should log fewer trees to generate revenue for public school construction. Read more.
If you missed the recent webinar when it was presented live, you may want to view the recording. DNR staff members Mary McDonald, Todd Olson, and Dan Pomerenk explained the details of FREP and answered questions that had been previously submitted and that were asked during the meeting.
A recently released decade-long study under Washington’s Adaptive Management Program looked at water quality in working forests, focusing on temperature and sediment. The conclusion was that streamside Forests & Fish buffers of trees are keeping water cool for fish.
The study (informally known as “Hardrock”) measured temperatures in non-fish bearing waters that flow downstream into fish-bearing waters – during the two years before timber harvest and for nine years after timber harvest, the part of the forest cycle when forests are replanted and start to regrow.
The Forest Overstory is a podcast series dedicated to unraveling forest management topics that impact small forest landowners by interviewing forest land managers, researchers, and fellow private forest owners around Washington. It is available on a variety of podcast apps. Learn more about it and listen to the first episode here. Dr. Paul Hessburg, landscape ecologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, sits down to talk about his work around the current era of megafires. Paul discusses historic burning patterns, how fire shaped our landscape and forest structure, and what forest landowners and managers should focus on when creating a fire resilient landscape.
BINGEN, Wash., Sept. 30, 2021 – A consortium of three entities – Seattle-based Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, The Conservation Fund, and Carson, Washington-based WKO, Inc. – have agreed to acquire SDS Lumber and Timber Companies. Read full story.
A new study has found that recent bigleaf maple die-off in Washington is linked to hotter, drier summers that predispose this species to decline. These conditions essentially weaken the tree's immune system, making it easier to succumb to other stressors and diseases. Read full story.
As the Washington Board of Natural Resources (BNR) continues work on a new westside/eastside sustainable harvest calculator for timber harvests, a lawsuit set for a State Supreme Court hearing next month could reaffirm the state’s fiduciary obligations to generate revenue from trust lands. Read this article by TJ Martinelli of The Lens.
Humans aren’t the only ones that got sunburned during the heat waves this summer — so did Oregon’s trees. The evidence of the “sun scald” can be seen all over the Coastal mountain range, but the long-term effects of this extreme heat remain to be seen. Read more.
The next time you walk into a home improvement store to buy a 2-by-4 of Douglas fir, Centralia native Chuck Higgins and 20-year Centralia resident Nan Reber Higgins hope you’ll wonder, “Did Chuck and Nan grow this one?”
Their work toward educating wood users, practicing sustainable forestry and being active members of their tree farming community — and the community at large — earned the Higgins couple the distinction of 2021 Washington Tree Farmers of the year by the Washington Farm Forestry Association. Read full article
Melissa Fischer, Eastern Washington Forest Health Entomologist, discusses how droughts like we are having can have various negative effects on our coniferous trees, such as leaf scorch, loss of foliage, reduction in growth, and dead branches. Sometimes trees die as a result of drought. This mortality could simply be due to lack of water, but sometimes mortality is more indirect, as drought-stricken trees are more likely to succumb to insects and pathogens. Read full article.
An article by Matt Provencher in the latest issue of the Small Forest Landowner News discusses the extreme heat that was experienced in western Washington in late June and how the trees were impacted by it. Read full article.
Dan Falk, a geophysicist, breaks down the elements of wildfires. "As I write this at the end of July, 79 wildfires are burning across 12 states in the U.S. In Oregon, a mammoth fire has engulfed some 400,000 acres—an area half the size of Rhode Island—and destroyed hundreds of buildings and vehicles, including more than 160 homes. Smoke from wildfires in the western half of the continent has darkened skies over cities in the east, including Toronto, where I am. People in Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. are struggling with hazy, smoke-filled skies". more
From Seattle Times, July 30, 2021. Forests run deep in the Evergreen State’s identity and culture. Washington’s more than 2 million acres of state forests provide clean air and water, salmon spawning grounds, outdoor recreation access and habitat for the rich natural heritage that supports our quality of life. Read more
Chuck and Nan Higgins, WFFA and Lewis County Farm Forestry Association members were named Washington State Tree Farmers of the Year for 2021 in a virtual presentation. An in-person presentation of their award, followed by a tour of their Salzer Ridge parcel, will be held on August 17, starting at 5:45 pm. See the Events page for more details. If you missed the video that was shown at the virtual presentation, it can be viewed here.
Chuck has been active in the Lewis County Farm Forestry Association since the 1970s, serving a chapter president in 1984-85, and serving on the board for too many years to count, up to the present. In 2010 they were presented with an award recognizing their excellent Forest Management by the Lewis County Farm Forestry Association, and named chapter Tree Farmer of the Year in 2011. They have hosted tours on each of their parcels. .
At a time of life when most people are selling their land or passing it to their heirs, Chuck and Nan are still actively purchasing property that needs a lot of work to bring it up to the quality that they want.
John Nohr, the fire chief for parts of Clark and Cowlitz counties in Washington state, was driving down Interstate 5 when another firefighter asked if he’d noticed the trees.
It was June 29 — one day after the hottest day in both Portland’s and Vancouver’s histories — and Nohr turned to see the needles on every fir tree had turned brown on the side facing the sun, seemingly overnight. On Interstate 205, he saw the same. Read more
A lawsuit against the state by numerous trust land beneficiaries filed last year argues that the sustainable harvest strategy adopted by the Board of Natural Resources (BNR) fails to meet its fiduciary duties. However, that case and a separate but related legal fight have also underscored how logging continues to fund critical local services such as education, fire districts, and road infrastructure. Read more
Well that was some hot spell! Even out near the coast it was 100 degrees most of Saturday June 26, 110 degrees all afternoon on Sunday and still 90 after dark. Fellow tree farmers Greg and Sue Pattillo both noticed a sweet pitchy smell on Sunday which turned out to be the new growth on both their reprod and large trees cooking. It appears that much of their new growth is fried brown and needle fall, especially on the hemlock and cedar, is already happening so that it looks like much of the area has been sprayed with herbicide. Further inland in SW Washington Bryon and Donna Loucks are seeing damage on last year's needles more than the new growth. Serious burning occurred on some noble firs, but most were okay. Last year's needles are brown on some Douglas-fir, especially on trees exposed to direct sun, and they fall off with a touch, so soon they may be looking pretty sparse. Even Valley ponderosa pine and western red cedar are showing dead needles.
So how about you? Did your trees suffer heat damage? If so, we’d love to collect some stories and pictures about these impacts for future reference and to track whether or not this event had significant ramifications for our future.
A recent article by Don Brunell in the Chinook Observer highlights the importance of family tree farms and features a photo of Pacific County members Greg and Sue Pattillo.
When Earl and Laurine Ingebright found an ad in a local paper for a property near Arlington in 1958, they knew it would be a place for family fun, relaxation, and a quite a lot of work. What they could not have anticipated was the sheer diversity of endeavors, parties, and fun that the family would pursue on the property over the coming generations. A recent article in Forest Stewardship Notes showcases the many activities and ingenious inventions that Dave and Jan Ingebright, the second generation owners, have done on the tree farm.
After two former Lands Commissioners proposed ending all timber harvests in Western Washington, the Washington Policy Center contacted Pat McElroy, a former State Forester of Washington. Few have his understanding of Washington's state forests and the laws that govern them. He wrote an article about proper forest stewardship and some of the problems of the proposal to ban harvests.
Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) efforts last biennium (2019-21) helped to obtain legislative funding for a study at the University of Washington (UW) on the impacts of the forests and fish regulations on SFLOs including updating the statewide landowner database. The report Washington's Small Forest Landowners in 2020 (more than 400 pages, plus online charts and tables) is a treasure trove of information that is waiting to be mined. Now, it is freely available for downloading.
A summary, titled Analyzing State Regulatory Impacts on Small Forestland Owners, is also available online, with additional links to spreadsheets of the data and maps that were used in the report.
In May 2021, three presentations were made about the report to WFFA by researchers involved in preparing it. Technical problems prevented the recording of two presentations, but the first one was recorded and the presentation slides of all 3 spreakers are available.
For a brief summary of the key points, read the recent article by Tami Miketa, manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office, in their DNR newsletter. (Click here to subscribe to the SFLO [Small Forest Landowner] News directly). Also available online is the longer DNR summary, Small Forest Landowner Demographic Report.
When you visit your forest in the spring, you may see young trees (from planting to PCT age) that appear to be dying. Quite often it involves yellow or chlorotic-looking foliage, sparse foliage, and branch or needle dieback. Though a variety of conditions could cause these symptoms, a foliar disease is often the issue in the spring and early summer. This article by DNR forester Matt Provencher describes some of the most common ones.
This article was published in the Washington DNR's SFLO News. You can subscribe here to receive each new newsletter directly.
From Oregon through western Canada, western redcedar (Thuja plicata) has been dying in areas where it should be thriving, such as along streams and within closed canopies. If you have noticed dieback in your forest, researchers want to know about it! Read this article for details.
This article was published in the Washington DNR's SFLO News. You can subscribe here to receive each new newsletter directly.
Two former Washington State Lands Commissioners, Jennifer Belcher and Peter Goldmark, are pushing an extreme proposal to shut down all timber harvests in Western Washington forests that are managed in trust by the state of Washington. They argue that halting harvests would help fight climate change.
That claim, however, is contradicted by science from the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Washington, and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N.’s climate agency. These scientists all note that sustainable forestry – harvesting timber and then re-planting trees – is much more effective at reducing atmospheric CO2 than letting trees grow, stagnate, die and then decay.
Read the full story from the Washington Policy Center's blog.
If you missed the webinar that was presented by Dick Hopkins on March 3, you can view the recorded version at your leisure. In addition to discussing the field trials that he was involved with for 20 years, Dick also addressed other ways to establish a new plantation in an area known to have Phellinus root rot.
David New, co-owner of the Nourse Tree Farm near Bellingham and 2019 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, shared his experience using game cameras on his tree farm in a webinar presented on February 16. If you were unable to attend the live presentation, you can now watch it online.
For 7 years, the mayor of Darrington has worked alongside county and state officials and the nonprofit Forterra to develop the Darrington Wood Innovation Center, to produce innovative wood products could stabilize Darrington’s drained timber economy. Read more.
The 2021 Washington Legislature's session will be completely online. While meeting remotely presents difficulties for both lawmakers and the people they represent, it does not mean you can't be involved. In fact, it may be even easier because you can watch hearings and testify from home. WFFA members received an email message with numerous links to information and access to the Legislature. In case you missed it, here's a link to that message
Bill would make transformative investments in wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) joined experts and advocacy leaders from across the state to unveil House Bill 1168 to create a dedicated funding source for wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience strategies.
The legislation – developed by a wide-ranging coalition of firefighters, fire chiefs, tribes, environmentalists, public health advocates, and forest products companies – would create a first-of-its-kind dedicated funding account for wildfire response, forest restoration, and community resilience.
Commissioner Franz is asking the Legislature to create this account and fund it with $125 million each biennium.
Kyle Garrison of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife gave a webinar last week titled "An overview of silviculture's effect on elk habitat: Relationships among elk habitat, productivity and disease." If you missed the live presentation, now you can view the recorded version. In addition to addressing the effect of forest management on elk, Kyle also discussed elk hoof rot disease that is very common in southwest Washington and in some other parts of the state.
After more than 20 years since the state legislature passed the Forests and Fish Law regulating timber harvests near fish habitats, small forestland owners are still fighting to get the assistance and relief promised in that law. Now, some are cautiously hopeful that a new report from the University of Washington that’s due to be released this month will highlight the effect the regulations have had so far on the overall amount of working forestland in the state.
Mechanical harvesting with a large excavator, called a shovel, is the most common harvest method used today, but small landowners rarely have a chance to watch the complete process unless it is on their own property. Bryon and Donna Loucks, owners of the B&D Tree Farm in Lewis County (with the assistance of Pat Swanson as vidographer) documented a recent operation on their property and prepared this video to share with others.
A deep dive into data from the Department of Natural Resources reveals some scary trends and surprising findings.
Enjoy this educational video which highlights some of the challenges faced at Rafter Seven Ranch in Chewelah, Washington. These bugs and crud include Armillaria Spp., Meria laricis (Larch Needle Cast), Sphaeropsis sapinea (Diplodia Tip Blight) and the invasive species Arceuthobium Spp. (Dwarft Mistletoe). Rafter Seven Ranch is owned and operated by Bob Playfair and his daughter, Patti Playfair, of our WFFA Northeast Chapter.
This video is a coordinated production featuring Patti Playfair (WFFA Past President), Randy Burke (WFFA Spokane Chapter President and WSU Landowner Assistance Forester) and Melissa Fischer, PhD (DNR Forest Entomologist); with videography and editing by Sean Alexander (WSU NE Extension Forester) and music by Ken Bevis.
The plan outlines more than 100 priority actions to improve and conserve forests across Washington, including goals that support fish and wildlife, rural economies, wildfire response, outdoor recreation, family forestry, urban trees, and clean air and water. Also unveiled in the 2020 Forest Action Plan is a western Washington prioritization map showing 16 priority areas with the greatest opportunities for forest investments. These priority landscapes, spanning nearly 2 million acres, are where state and federal resources will be deployed first to increase forest resilience. Forests in central and eastern Washington have their own high-priority areas identified through the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which DNR released in 2017.
Read the Washington 2020 Forest Action Plan at www.dnr.wa.gov/ForestActionPlan.
Ken and Bonnie Miller are a fixture of sorts in the small forest owner community of Washington. They’ve been active in the Washington Farm Forestry Association for years, have hosted multiple WSU Extension events, and Ken is an active advocate for small forest owners in state natural resource policy. This passion for private forestry started back in 1989 when they bought their first tree farm, a 30-acre recently clear-cut parcel in Grays Harbor County that they re-planted and managed with the help of their children.
A few years later in 1993 they bought another clear-cut parcel in Thurston County wedged between Millersylvania State Park, Scott Lake, a golf course, and a growing residential neighborhood. This one was 40 acres and came with a house, so they moved in and got to work replanting there too and have been managing both properties ever since.
Years later, in 2017, an opportunity came up to buy the long-abandoned “back nine” of the adjacent golf course. With plenty of planting and stand management experience under his belt, Ken didn’t hesitate. It provided a second access driveway for their house but also a familiar challenge, starting a forest.
An article published in the October 2020 issue of Forest Stewardship Notes tells the full story.
Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, are currently burning our western landscape. How did we get here and what can be done about it? Dr. Paul Hessburg, research landscape ecologist for the US Forest Service, has spent the last 40 years learning about how we got here and what can be done about it. Watch the Era of Megafires film.
A few weeks ago, all traffic was stopped on the Golden Gate Bridge at the Nourse Tree Farm in north Snohomish County, so that Ken Bevis could sit on the guardrail and sing a song he wrote titled "True Bear". Ken is DNR’s stewardship wildlife biologist and a talented songwriter and artist. Enjoy this music video "True Bear" from Ken.
Credits: Recorded live on the Golden Gate Bridge at Nourse Tree Farm in north Snohomish County, WA; Music, lyrics and performance by Ken Bevis; Video recording by Brendan White and Dave New; Bear video clips and photos from wildlife cameras at Nourse Tree Farm; Video editing by Dave New
If you missed the WSU-sponsored webinar Fire in Western Washington - A Different Kind of Animal when it was presented earlier this summer, this might be a good time to watch it!
WFFA conducted our Annual Business Meeting elections via online and mail-in ballots. We successfully approved our Bylaws revision and welcome the following members to terms of service for 2020-21:
Dick Alescio - President (Olympic Chapter)
Court Stanley - 1st Vice President (Lewis Chapter)
Ann Stinson - 2nd Vice President (Lewis Chapter)
Paula Hopkins - Secretary (Pierce Chapter)
Bill Scheer, Jr. - Treasurer (Lewis Chapter)
Thank you to all our WFFA members who took the time to offer your input on the future of WFFA by casting your vote.
Washington state is the home of the Nourse Tree Farm, belonging to the New Family, who are the 2019 National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. David New provided us with a webinar on June 16 and now we have it posted to our YouTube site.
Please click on this link to view David's webinar featuring photos, videos and story-telling to present the history of the farm, woodland management, the four ATFP precepts of Wood, Wildlife, Water, and Recreation, as well as succession planning, and salmon stream restoration. Thank you again, David!