Conservation Initiatives

Upper Wenatchee Watershed

Trust for Public Land (TPL) has worked for years with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Chelan County Department of Natural Resources to coordinate the Upper Wenatchee Community Lands Plan. The objectives of the Plan were to identify the values associated with the Upper Wenatchee watershed landscapes, to create community awareness of those values, to map lands that exemplify the values, and to develop an action plan outlining actions to help ensure that the lands and the values attached to them serve the surrounding communities for generations to come. The vision was articulated in the Community Lands Plan to guide future investments by public and private property owners and lead to land management that will benefit local communities.

In 2020, Chinook Forest Partners acquired approximately 35,000 acres of industrial timberland within the footprint of the Community Lands Plan. Chinook worked with TPL to develop a multi-year takeout plan that would allow the Upper Wenatchee community to finally realize their vision for the sustained, multi-use management of these lands. The historic agreement was codified in an option agreement between Chinook and TPL that will see the lands transition from private ownership to various public ownerships over a seven-year period.

Chinook is proud to be a integral part of the process of moving ownership and control of these important lands to the Upper Wenatchee community.

Mt. Ashland Demonstration Forest

Southern Oregon’s Siskiyou region is home to globally important biodiversity. According to the Pacific Forest Trust (PFT), “this biodiversity continues along the Siskiyou Crest where elevational gradient, soils, and aspect create a rich suite of habitats”. Conserving and connecting the span of the Siskiyou Crest is a long-term goal for PFT, ensuring that this array of plants and wildlife have safe, secure passage from east to west, and north to south, across both public and private lands.

In 2020, Chinook Forest Partners entered into an agreement with PFT to purchase a highly unique property along the Siskiyou Crest. The acquisition significantly expands the conserved corridor from the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Through the partnership, PFT was able to add to previous conservation easement efforts in the region through fee simple purchase of land from Chinook, thereby expanding the conserved area.

Butte Falls Community Forest

For more than twenty years, the people of Butte Falls envisioned a new future for the historic mill site just outside of town. The hope was to bring the 430 acres, home to the spectacular waterfalls of Big Butte Creek, into community ownership. Despite enthusiasm from residents, the ability of the community to acquire the land impeded their shared vision. In 2019 Chinook Forest Partners and Trust for Public Land (TPL) engaged in an option agreement that allowed Butte Falls residents to work with TPL to help acquire the land and create a community forest.

In 2022 Chinook sold the 430 acres to TPL, and today, Butte Falls Community Forest is managed by residents for residents. According to TPL, “the public ownership will continue to support high-quality jobs and facilitate forest management practices that strengthen forest health. Trails will encourage residents to explore the outdoors and promote health through physical activity. Intentionally planned multi-use trails and paths will make the outdoors accessible to children and adults of all abilities”. The community of Butte Falls hopes that soon the forest will serve as an outdoor classroom for children at Butte Falls Charter School.

Chinook is pleased to have been involved in bringing the vision of the Butte Falls community to reality through our partnership with TPL.

Pacific Fisher CCAA

In 2019 federal wildlife officials entered into agreements with several timberland management companies including Chinook Forest Partners to create a plan for the protection of the Pacific fisher. The fisher is a carnivorous mammal related to weasels and mink that was once widely found in the Pacific Northwest. Fisher numbers crashed because of trapping, the use of rodenticides and destruction of their habitat through past logging practices and other development, which removed forestlands.

In 2020 Chinook signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) that defines the conditions under which Chinook will manage more than 150,000 acres of working forest in Southern Oregon toward the objective of Pacific fisher population growth. Including the lands managed by Chinook, timber companies and the State of Oregon have committed over 2 million acres to research, monitoring and habitat improvement for the fisher. Chinook has also made financial commitments to specific scientific research coordinated by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), the results of which are expected to educate management practices with respect to fisher habitat requirements.

Chinook’s participation in the Pacific fisher project is one of several wildlife-focused initiatives on Chinook-managed lands and highlights our commitment to managing working forests for habitat as well as wood products.