"The Pinchot Partners work within the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District, on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and surrounding areas, to promote watershed health, create quality local jobs, and encourage sustainable recreation."
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 Indian 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. Labor interests recognize the critical dearth of family-wage jobs in the Cowlitz Valley which has had a devastating impact on schools, emergency services, utilities and local business.
The Cowlitz Tribe is invested in the collaborative because the Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses much of the tribe’s historic homeland. 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 group because they have watched their towns slowly erode. 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 because there is wood to be harvested on the forest, for making houses, telephone poles, paper and lots of other products.
Conservationists are involved because Pinchot Partners 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 so the Partners can benefit from the experience learned from similar projects in other communities.
Finally, the Forest Service has been very supportive of the collaborative 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.