FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 20, 2021
Contact: Cindy Mitchell, (360) 791-9372
WFPA recognizes a new era of collaboration at Annual Meeting
Restoring Washington’s iconic salmon populations is a shared responsibility that requires landowners, state and tribal governments, regulators and other interested parties working together. That was the principal message at the Washington Forest Protection Association’s (WFPA) annual meeting.
The Washington Forest Protection Association, the trade association for the state’s private forest landowners, and its members gathered Thursday, November 18th virtually and in-person in Olympia to discuss a new era of collaboration among stakeholders.
“Each party has a piece of the solution,” said WFPA President Bill Monahan. “We can choose division, or we can choose collaboration. But to solve our state’s biggest issues, we need to be working together.”
WFPA Executive Director Jason Spadaro led a discussion on salmon restoration with tribal government representatives Willie Frank III (Nisqually Tribe Chairman), Phil Rigdon (Yakama Nation) and Justin Parker of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Representatives from the Washington State Departments of Ecology, Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife, and the Office of the Governor also discussed statewide salmon revival efforts.
“One of the most important parts of restoring salmon having tribal governments, WFPA and other groups working together to address salmon habitat in addition to recognizing the impact of climate change and recognizing that there’s a community in the woods,” said Rigdon, Yakama Nation Natural Resources Department Superintendent. “This collaboration will go a long way and benefit our communities long term.”
In addition to conversations on salmon recovery, Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz provided the keynote address and focused on efforts to keep retain working forests as such. Franz underscored the importance of teamwork, collaboration and trust to achieve significant progress with the passage of HB 1168 to invest in forest health. The 2021 wildfire season was significant with nearly 659 million acres burned in Washington state due in large part to the state reporting one of the hottest, driest years on record.
“I’m proud to see the completion of the Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan process, and the tremendous investment Washington’s forest owners have made in providing salmon habitat and clean water,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. “More than 5,000 miles of habitat has been reopened, more than 8,400 barriers to fish passage have been addressed, and more than 30,000 miles of roads have been upgraded to modern standards, and those accomplishments would never have been possible without the collaboration, hard work, and support of landowners. It is our collective responsibility to ensure Washington’s working forests remain healthy and productive for years to come.” Watch the Commissioner’s speech here.
Other events at the annual meeting included former WFPA executive director Mark Doumit honored posthumously with the Stu Bledsoe award. Doumit unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. Also, several state lawmakers Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), Rep. Greg Gilday (R-Camano) and Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) participated in a dialog on the upcoming 2022 legislative session.
WFPA was founded in 1908 when leaders in the timber business mailed letters to timberland owners inviting them to form a voluntary association to suppress forest fires. The group has grown over the last century and now represents private forest landowners growing and harvesting trees on about 4 million acres in Washington. Members are large and small companies, individuals and families who practice sustainable forestry in Washington’s private forests. Read more in our 2021 WFPA Annual Report, or watch the proceedings at TVW here:
President Bill Monahan, Executive Director Jason Spadaro
Washington Tree Farmer of the Year – Michigan Hill Tree Farm
Mark L. Doumit honored with Stu Bledsoe Award
A Discussion with Washington’s Tribes
Statewide Salmon Recovery Effort
Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands: Keep Working Forests Working
Following in the Footsteps of our Leaders – Court Stanley interview with Honorary Trustees
Fiscal Outlook for Washington State
Wrap Up – President Bill Monahan
About the Washington Forest Protection Association
The Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) represents private forest landowners growing and harvesting trees on about 4 million acres in Washington State. Members of the 113-year-old association are large and small companies, individuals and families who practice sustainable forestry in Washington’s private forests. For more information, go to www.wfpa.org.