Unlikely Collaborators Poised To Sing Historic Forest Agreement

Posted on 2/22/2011 12:00:00 AM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After more than two years of discussions on how to go about restoring health to northern Arizona’s at-risk ponderosa pine forests, conservationists, loggers, scientists, community leaders and the U.S. Forest Service are ready to officially commit to an agreement regarding an initiative that may well take 30 years to complete.

The Four Forest Restoration Initiative Stakeholder Group is scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto National Forest supervisors at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the Fremont Room of the Northern Arizona University du Bois Center.

This long-awaited historic ceremony symbolizes the critical need for different interests to work through conflicts and collaborate on proposed forest projects spanning some 2.4 million acres across the Mogollon Rim.

The MOU provides a framework for how these groups will work together to help the Forest Service accelerate landscape-scale restoration projects; decrease the threat of destructive wildfires; and, create sustainable forest industries that will strengthen rural economies.

More than 20 different groups are expected to sign the MOU. Organizations involved include Arizona Forest Restoration Products, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Center for Biological Diversity, Coconino, Gila, Greenlee and Navajo counties, Coconino Natural Resource Conservation District, Ecological Restoration Institute at NAU, Grand Canyon Trust, Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership, Little Colorado River Plateau Resource, Conservation & Development Area, Northern Arizona Loggers Association, Northern Arizona Wood Products Association, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service and the White Mountain Stewardship Contract Multi-Party Monitoring Board.

The 4FRI is a nationally recognized effort partially funded through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and endorsed by northern Arizona cities and counties, the State of Arizona, Arizona’s congressional delegation and 4FRI stakeholders.

For more information, log on to www.4FRI.org.