USFS ONF Supervisor Reta Laford’s Statement at the Collaborative
Statement by Olympic National Forest Supervisor, Port Angeles, WA
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. As Lloyd shared, there’s a lot of ways a collaborative can be successful, with both direct and indirect benefits.
This has also been seen across the Nation. Collaboratives are proving to be the way of the future and the way we need to work with communities.
So let me talk about the Olympic Peninsula Collaborative…
From the start, one essential element for success I observed, was their willingness to seek a deep understanding of where each other was coming from. That openness allowed them to explore mutual needs and possibilities – as the following speakers will address.
Demonstrating the Collaborative’s commitment to working together, Jill Silver of the Olympic Forest Coalition, Dave Marshall and Kurt Estes of Sierra Pacific Industries, and Derek Churchill a contractor hired by the Collaborative, helped layout the 7 million board foot Donkey Creek Timber Sale – which will be sold later this year. Now that’s collaboration.
Without their assistance, this work would likely have taken 3 to 6 months longer. And while this may not seem like much, it actually means a lot to our Forest which has very limited staffing.
They also helped explore improving efficiencies and reducing sale preparation costs by using high-quality GPS units to delineate boundaries.
More recently, my staff and I have been in the woods with the Collaborative. And, we looked at areas that might benefit from selective harvest to accelerate the development of old character habitat. The conversations during those trips have been amazing, they are really trying to understand each other and meet everyone’s needs. I am truly impressed. Both sides are committed to making this succeed.
Both the Forest and Collaborative are also interested in exploring Stewardship timber sale authorities that would allow generated revenues to be reinvested into other environmental protection and restoration projects. This would be an added bonus of the Collaborative’ s efforts.
Ultimately, when we have collaboratives, better projects are designed, there’s less conflict, and we’re able to implement actions on the ground that produce multiple benefits.
We want to get more done on the ground, and we want to work with the Collaborative along with others who want to further their mission and goals. This would be a huge help.
I believe this is the reason we are here today. To share about the Collaborative and open its doors to help launch pilot projects, which Matt will talk about next.
Thank you. I believe success can happen here on the Peninsula.