This report examines socioeconomic changes that occurred between 1990 and 2003 associated with implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) in and around lands managed by the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state. Our findings are based on quantitative data from the U.S. census, the USDA Forest Service and other federal databases, historical documents, and interviews with Forest Service employees and members of five case study communities: Naches Valley, Cashmere, Entiat, Twisp, and the Upper Okanogan Valley. We explore how the Plan affected the flow of socioeconomic benefits associated with the Okanogan-Wenatchee 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 socioeconomic change stemming from the national forest during the study period was the sharp decline in timber harvest activities, a change that had been underway prior to the Plan. This decline not only affected timber industry jobs in local communities, but also resulted in declining agency budgets and staff reductions. Communities' responses differed. Communities with greater economic diversity were able to absorb the changes in forest management, whereas communities more heavily dependent on timber experienced an additional destabilizing effect.
Dillingham, C.; Poe, M.R.; Grinspoon, E.; Stuart, C.; Moseley, C.; Mazza, R.; Charnley, S.; Meierotto, L.; Donoghue, E.; Toth, N. 2008. Northwest Forest Plan--the first 10 years (1994-2003): socioeconomic monitoring of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and five local communities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-761. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 109 p.