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    Author(s): Lita P. Buttolph; William Kay; Susan Charnley; Cassandra Moseley; Ellen M. Donoghue
    Date: 2006
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-679. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 84 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.60 MB)


    This report examines socioeconomic changes that occurred between 1990 and 2000 associated with implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) in the Olympic National Forest in western Washington. We used a combination of quantitative data from the U.S. census and the USDA Forest Service, historical documents, and interviews from Forest Service employees and members of three case study communities—Quilcene, the Lake Quinault area, and the Quinault Indian Nation. We explore how the Plan affected the flow of socioeconomic benefits associated with the Olympic National Forest, such as the production of forest commodities and forest-based recreation, agency jobs, procurement contract work for ecosystem management activities, grants for community economic assistance, payments to county governments, and opportunities for collaborative forest management.

    The greatest change in socioeconomic benefits derived from the forest was the curtailment of timber harvest activities. This not only affected timber industry jobs in local communities, but also resulted in declining agency budgets and staff reductions. Mitigation efforts varied. Ecosystem management contracts declined and shifted from labor-intensive to equipment-intensive activities, with about half of all contractors from the Olympic Peninsula. Economic assistance grants benefited communities that had the staff and resources to develop projects and apply for monies, but provided little benefit to communities without those resources. Payments to counties served as an important source of revenue for rural schools and roads. We also examine socioeconomic changes that occurred in the case study communities, and the influence of forest management policy on these changes. Between 1990 and 2000 all three communities showed a decrease in population, an increase in median age, a decline in timber industry-related employment, and an increase in service-industry and government jobs. Quilcene’s proximity to the larger urban centers has attracted professional and service industry workers that commute to larger economic hubs. Lake Quinault area residents are increasingly turning to tourism, and its growing Latino population works in the cedar shake and floral greens industries. For the Quinault Indian Nation, employment in tribal government and its casino has helped offset job losses in the fishing and timber industries. Many changes observed in the communities were a result of the prior restructuring of the forest products industry, national economic trends, and demographic shifts. However, for Quilcene and Lake Quinault, which were highly dependent on the national forest for timber and served as Forest Service district headquarters, the loss of timber industry and Forest Service jobs associated with the Plan led to substantial job losses and crises in the economic and social capital of these communities.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Buttolph, Lita P.; Kay, William; Charnley, Susan; Moseley, Cassandra; Donoghue, Ellen M. 2006. Northwest Forest Plan—the first 10 years: socioeconomic monitoring of the Olympic National Forest and three local communities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-679. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 84 p


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    Socioeconomic, monitoring, Northwest Forest Plan, Olympic National Forest, Quilcene, Lake Quinault, Quinault Indian Nation

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