The Mt. Adams Community Forest grew by 153 acres with a purchase near Glenwood this month.
The acquisition is the third by Mt. Adams Resource Stewards (MARS) since 2011 with the community forest now encompassing 542 acres. The latest expansion includes what is known as the Outlet Creek property, extending from the western edge of MARS’s Mill Pond ownership to the eastern boundary of Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Mt. Adams Resource Stewards worked closely with the seller, Broughton Lumber Company, to facilitate the sale as a win-win opportunity to take in lands that better align with MARS’s multiple use and community-based management focus.
According to the seller’s representative, Jason Spadaro, “Outlet Creek, and its wetlands areas, are a special place in our ownership. It has important values to us, wildlife and our local community. We’re happy to work with Mt. Adams Resource Stewards to put these lands into their vision of a working Community Forest, so we can focus our efforts on lands that better fit our objectives of long-term sustainable forest management. This transaction is a win for the community, conservation, forestry and economic stability.”
MARS has been raising funds to support the anticipated purchase since the fall of 2017. According to MARS Executive Director Jay McLaughlin, “The purchase was made possible with the support of The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit organization that provided a loan to close the deal”. McLaughlin also notes that the purchase was supported by donations from a number of individuals, a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and funding secured from the Washington State Legislature, with the assistance of Senator Curtis King.
In addition to the stewardship of a working forest to support future harvests of forest products, MARS envisions improvement of a rough trail that follows the south bank of the Mill Pond upstream along unique riparian habitats associated with Outlet Creek.
MARS also hopes to restore public access and use of an old park-like, streambank setting that was a beloved gathering and fishing spot for many Glenwood residents decades ago. The purchase links together a 253-acre corridor of community forest along the main drainage exiting the Glenwood Valley.
Community forest projects across the Pacific Northwest have been gaining attention and traction in recent years. Some rural, forest-based communities appreciate having more of a leadership role in forest management decisions on lands that surround their properties. Community forests work to facilitate this role.
Community forests often blend community and economic development interests with conservation. The Mt. Adams Community Forest – the first non-profit owned working community forest in the state – was the subject last year of a state commissioned study of the socio-economic impact of a community forest.
Researchers found that between 2014 and 2017 the community forest generated 8 million dollars in economic activity in Klickitat County, in addition to benefits for local jobs, wildfire risk reduction and carbon storage. There are more than twenty additional community forest proposals around Washington State today.