Volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Mazama ~7,700 years ago has a strong influence on many forested landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions of the USA and Canada. Because of the unique biological, physical and chemical properties of the ash, it is closely tied to plant communities and forest productivity, and should therefore be considered as a resource to protect when harvesting, burning, or site preparation activities occur on it. How did this symposium get started? There has been a steady stream of questions, problems, and research on volcanic ash-cap soils for many decades. This symposium was designed to assemble experts to discuss our state-of-knowledge about volcanic ash-cap soil management and restoration. About 200 scientists and natural resource managers participated in this conference, which was held at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, Coeur d'Alene, ID in November 2005.