USDA Forest Service Invest Millions to Support Community Forest Projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced it will award $4 million to fund 10 community forest projects across seven states to support the creation, expansion and enhancement of community spaces.
The Forest Service will deliver the funding in the form of grants to local governments, tribes and qualified nonprofit organizations through its Community Forest Program. These funds will support working forests through sustainable management and timber and non-timber production.
“The program offers a unique opportunity for communities to increase public access, recreational opportunities, and other multiple uses,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “These investments will also help protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.”
In addition to the funds awarded through the grant program, awardees will collectively leverage an additional $8 million in matching funds.
Since the Community Forest Program issued its first grants in 2012, the program has supported 66 community-driven projects across 23 states and territories and permanently conserved over 17,000 acres. The success of the program is due to strong partnerships between the Forest Service, tribes, local governments, non-profits and, most of all, the dedication of time and energy by many enthusiastic community members.
- Hall Mountain Community Forest Phase 2, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, North Carolina:
Provides expanded access for land and water-based recreation and a potential eagle aviary, as well as management for culturally significant forest products for artisans.
- Lakeville Community Forest, Lakeville, Maine
Supports jobs in forest products, outdoor recreation, and guiding industries and maintains the values of the regions’ forest, wildlife and water resources.
- Quigg Island Community Forest, Liberty, Maine
A working forest that continues to provide local product to the mill, supporting jobs in the region, as well as allowing the town to enhance its outdoor recreation-based economy.
- Birch Ridge Community Forest Phase 2, New Durham, New Hampshire
Working forestland that protects water resources and expands trails for snowmobiling, hiking, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, trail-running and mountain biking.
- Mink Brook Community Forest, Hanover, New Hampshire
Establishes connectivity for recreation trails, including the Appalachian Trail, and wildlife passage around downtown Hanover.
- Oak Hill Community Forest, Burke County, North Carolina
Creates opportunities for agriculture and forestry, public recreation and outdoor education.
- Butte Falls Community Forest, Butte Falls, Oregon
Supports forest health, fire resilience, and a recreation-based economy and protects the town’s historical assets.
- Huntington Community Forest, Huntington, Vermont
Multiple-use, working forest with hiking, snowmobiling, and mountain biking trails and education opportunities for the local school.
- Bear Ridge Community Forest, Ilwaco, Washington
Protects the city’s vital water reservoir while creating local jobs in forest management, road maintenance and reconstruction, and trail creation.
- Rocky Branch Community Forest, River Falls, Wisconsin
Offers opportunities for recreation, provides a buffer for the Kinnickinnic River, and allows the school district to access its adjacent landlocked school forest.
For more information about the Community Forest Program, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/private-land/community-forest.