The Mission of the Pinchot Partners is to work within the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and surrounding areas to promote policies and projects that create quality local jobs, recreational opportunities, and benefit watershed health.
The Pinchot Partners strive to bring together differing perspectives in an open and safe forum in order to discuss and create innovative projects that incorporate the fundamental principles of ecosystem management. Ecosystem management recognizes that social values play an integral role in how we manage our public forest land, and seeks to meet social needs while maintaining ecological integrity.
The Pinchot Partners are comprised of diverse forest stakeholders who share a vision of healthy forests and vibrant communities. Stakeholders in the Pinchot Partners represent diverse interests ranging from conservationists and the native Cowlitz Tribe to the timber industry and Cowlitz Valley economic interests.
The labor community has been an active participant in the collaborative group since its inception. In the past, the Cowlitz Valley had a large community of union mill workers. However, these family wage jobs have largely disappeared from the Valley. In Morton, a small town tucked in the Cowlitz Valley, the remaining mill’s union was dissolved several years ago. Labor interests recognize the critical dearth of family wage jobs in the Cowlitz Valley and are working with the collaborative group to address this need.
The Cowlitz Tribe is involved in the collaborative group because the Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses much of the tribe’s historic homelands. The tribe is concerned about the health of the watersheds and is also searching for ways to provide stable opportunities to tribal members that allow them to continue to live and work on their traditional lands.
Cowlitz Valley residents are involved in the collaborative group because their towns are slowly eroding and their way of life is at risk of disappearing. Residents are painfully aware of the dearth of family wage jobs AND are interested in finding ways to put people back to work in the woods.
The timber industry is involved in the collaborative group because it is looking for ways to increase the volume of harvest on the forest.
Conservationists are involved because they believe the group represents an exciting new way of getting restoration work accomplished in the forest, while healing old scars and creating a lasting legacy for future generations and land managers.
Community based forestry experts are involved in the collaborative so the Partners can benefit from the experience and learning of similar projects in other communities.
Finally, the Forest Service has been very supportive of the collaborative group and the work it is pursuing on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Forest Service has a clear interest in supporting the development of a common ground agenda that leads away from gridlock and toward work being implemented on the ground.