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Building on decades of grassroots efforts led by the Downslope Neighbors Association and years of public engagement and education for Community Watershed Planning in the South Fork, the idea of creating a Community Forest had been a long-time dream.

Then in 2021, an opportunity emerged to purchase 5500 acres of forestland on Stewart Mountain. A gathering was held at the base of Stewart Mountain, and a Core Planning Team was formed – with representatives from the Nooksack Indian Tribe, Evergreen Land Trust, Whatcom County, and Whatcom Land Trust.  The Team decided to apply for technical assistance from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (NPS-RTCA) program to initiate a community forest planning process. 

In spring 2022, an Interim Community Advisory Team (I-CAT) composed of people representing the sectors fundamental to this community forest — including forestry, water resources, cultural resources, wildlife habitat, recreation, education, research, youth, and the local community at large — was convened.   This group worked to create a shared vision for the community forest, and determine how to conduct public outreach.  In the summer of 2022, a community survey was conducted, and a community forum.  This input on is being incorporated into a Strategic Vision Framework, which will be released in the spring of 2023.  Stay tuned!

Smcf Survey


August 25, 2022 Community Forum