Acting Alaska Regional Forester Rebecca Nourse recently welcomed leaders from the Forest Service, National Forest Foundation and community partner organizations to a celebration of the Alaska Forest Fund. Launched in 2016, the Alaska Forest Fund is an innovative partnership designed to accomplish priority restoration and recreation projects in the Alaska Region.
Managed by the National Forest Foundation, the fund strategically leverages Forest Service funding with private support from corporations, foundations, individuals and nonprofit organizations. In its first year, the fund has matched federal investments by 150 percent for a total more than $250,000 reaching the ground. By 2020, the goal is to build on success and top $1 million of combined public and private investment to accomplish restoration and recreation objectives on both forests.
“The fund provides the means for the Forest Service, its partners and individual community members to share in the stewardship of the Tongass and Chugach national forests,” said Beth Pendleton, Acting Associate Chief.
Marcus Selig, vice president for field programs at the National Forest Foundation, said the fund is designed to achieve project objectives as well as build capacity in communities by supporting grant recipients, which include local organizations and contractors, who carry out projects in partnership with the Forest Service.
The results are already in. Admiralty National Monument Ranger Chad VanOrmer and Mike Satre, manager of government and community relations at Hecla Greens Creek Mine, highlighted the success of the Angoon Youth Conservation Corps. Supported by the fund, the Angoon YCC is beginning its second season of shared stewardship of forest resources, creating jobs for local youth and building capacity in the local community. The Angoon YCC is a five-way partnership among the Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, Hecla Mining Foundation, school district and the community.
Across the Alaska Region, the fund has also engaged other partners, including the Copper River Watershed Project, The Nature Conservancy, Sitka Conservation Society, REI and individual donors.