The Nisqually Community Forest, made up of 1,920 acres located between Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Elbe Hills State Forest near Ashford, is hosting its inaugural public meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on June 12.
“This is an informal opportunity for our friends and neighbors to provide us with their thoughts, ideas, and reactions,” Nisqually Community Forest Board President Bryan Bowden said in a statement. “A community forest is a working forest managed to benefit the local community.”
The forest’s board of directors was created in 2014, and in 2015, it received nonprofit status. In 2016, the first land acquisition was completed — 640 acres of timberland along the Busy Wild Creek.
The meeting will include a preliminary management plan for the land, just over 1,000 acres of which were purchased in the last six months in part by grants from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Program, the Washington Salmon Recovery Board, and the Conservation Fund. The forest provides habitat for salmon and other threatened wildlife and contains over three miles of the Mount Tahoma Association’s Copper Creek ski trail, as well as other resources.
The Nisqually Community Forest will be managed to create jobs in the forestry and tourism industries, recreation opportunities, clean air and water, and wildlife habitat.
The public meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 12 at the Ashford Fire Station, located at 29815 State Route 706 East, near the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.