Tribal Relations and Enhancing Co-Stewardship: PNW Story Map

This story map is nicely done.  Shout out to the folks who produced it!


If you, readers, have something you are proud of.. please send it in and I will share.  Some FS people do this, but as with our piece on SERAL, there are many great stories out there.  And I know of some great work, that I can’t share because some Powers Who Decide are hinky about sharing with the public.  Hopefully, that is short-term and election-related.


Below, I excerpted one paragraph from a few of the projects to give you a flavor.  These projects have to do with wildfire resilience in one form or another, and there are others that deal with watershed restoration, check them out! I particularly like the one with free firewood for Tribal members from wildfire salvage.

You’ll remember that a few weeks ago, Cody Desautel (of the Intertribal Timber Council) testified at the House Natural Resources Committee, including difficulties carrying out joint projects with the Forest Service due to litigation.   I wonder whether folks have thought about some kind of litigation carve-out for joint projects with Tribes, who conceivably have some treaty rights (different for different now-Forests).

Johnnie Springs Tribal Forest Protection Act Project – Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians

The partnership combines resources from the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe and Umpqua National Forest to co-implement thinning and fuels reduction treatments on the Tiller Ranger District through a three-phase partnership called the Johnnie Springs Project. Phase one started in October of 2023 and authorizes the Tribe to implement fuels reduction treatments along 17 miles (618 acres) of road in areas where the Forest has already completed environmental analysis. Phase two has identified additional areas within the Johnnie Spring project area that are adjacent to Tribal trust lands and in need of active management. Phase two proposed treatments includes an additional 12 miles (436 acres) of roadside fuels treatments and 570 acres of small diameter tree thinning units. Phase three is proposed as a planning phase, in need of additional NEPA analysis to move forward. Currently, Forest and Tribal managers are looking at opportunities to analyze new acres available for commercial thinning and opportunities for additional roadside thinning work within the current Johnnie Springs planning area. Additionally, in phase three, the Umpqua National Forest and Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe will evaluate other portions of the Tiller Ranger District for future co-stewardship opportunities. All phases include a prescribed fire element, ensuring opportunities to reintroduce healthy fire back to the landscape is considered when the right environmental conditions are in place.

Upper South Fork Tieton River (SFT) -Yakama Nation

The Yakama Nation requested to enter into agreement under the Tribal Forest Protection Act to coordinate and collaborate with the United States Forest Service on the South Fork Tieton Project on Yakama Nation Ceded Lands. The project was funded with the Central Washington Initiative as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill with the goal to complete planning and environmental analysis on 40,000 acres with a 189,500 acre fire shed. This project will focus on wildfire risk reduction.

The Sxwuytn-Kaniksu Connections (Trail) Project/ LeClerc Rd Reroute-Mill Creek Restoration Project

The Trail Project is located in Pend Oreille County in northeastern Washington State, four miles north of Newport. Restoration work will include a suite of tools, over the next 10-15 years, to accomplish the goals of the project. For example, commercial and non-commercial thinning of trees and prescribed fire will increase diversity and resilience to forest stands, decrease potential for insect and disease, maintain more characteristic open tree stands to increase tree vigor by reducing competition for resources, provide economic opportunity from the surrounding community, while also reducing fuels and limiting the severity of wildfires.  Open tree stands will improve forest health and increase forage for wildlife by allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor.

Double Creek Fire Recovery Project –Nez Perce Tribe

The Nez Perce Tribe Forest and Fire Management Division leads this program to supply free firewood to more than 160 tribal elders, disabled, and even single parents leading into and during the cold winter months. This program depends on a steady supply of firewood and is an important way that the Tribe provides heat sources throughout the winter for their elders and other eligible tribal members.

Through this partnership the Tribe will be able to provide approximately 60 truckloads of firewood to elders and others in need within the Nez Perce Tribe community.  This agreement is part of the agency’s overall commitment to strengthen nation-to-nation relationships and enhance co-stewardship of National Forest lands with American Indian Tribes. Together, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and Nez Perce Tribe are fostering mutual trust and building relationships that contribute to improving forest management and restoration activities in a way that reflects mutual goals, values, and objectives.

3 thoughts on “Tribal Relations and Enhancing Co-Stewardship: PNW Story Map”

  1. This proposed legislation would take it a little further on the Mt. Hood:

    “Directs the U.S. Forest Service to develop a co-management plan with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs to protect and enhance Tribal Treaty resources and protect the Reservation from wildfire within agreed-upon “Treaty Resources Emphasis Zones.” These zones are areas within the Mount Hood National Forest subject to the Warm Springs-Forest Service co-management plan;”

    It would also require that forest plans (and future amendments) “be consistent with the management strategy for the 1 or more Zones,” and it would require programmatic NEPA and ESA analysis for the management strategies. So it would essentially replace forest-wide planning with specific area plans for some areas that would be incorporated into a forest plan. However, it doesn’t say that changing a forest plan to be consistent with these management strategies would require an amendment to the forest plan – and a process that would consider how to integrate the strategy with the rest of the plan. This may need a little more thought.

    • Have you looked at the Northwest Forest Plan Amendment FACA Draft Recommendations? One of the FACA’s charges is to make recommendations on tribal inclusion in the proposed amendment. There are 100+ draft recommendations related to tribal inclusion within the NW Forest Plan area.

      • A. The Northwest Forest Plan Amendment process is certainly worthy of coverage and my hope is that someone else (Steve?) would cover it. But if you have interesting stuff (say the 100 recommendations) please email me and I will post.


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