Michael Liu, former Methow District Ranger, joins Conservation Northwest staff

Michael Liu, former Methow District Ranger, joins Conservation Northwest staff

Conservation Northwest / Mar 02, 2020 / Forest Field Program

Liu’s community relationships and extensive leadership experience in forest management will support work on forest restoration, wildfire resilience and habitat connectivity in north-central Washington.

Conservation Northwest, a regional non-profit with an office in Twisp, is pleased to announce that Michael Liu has joined the organization’s staff. He will represent the organization’s Forest Field Program on issues relating to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and adjacent state public lands as the Okanogan Forest Lead.

Conservation Northwest welcomes Michael Liu as our new Okanogan Forest Lead based out of Twisp, Washington.

Liu joins CNW after a 36-year career with the U.S. Forest Service, including a variety of positions in Idaho, Montana, Alaska, California, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Washington D.C.

Most recently, Liu led the 1.3-million acre Methow Valley Ranger District, where he developed strong partnerships with organizations in the local community. In this position, he also prioritized forest restoration, for which he earned national recognition, and recreation, helping to create new trails and expanding outdoor opportunities in the Methow Valley.

Liu plans to continue his community-focused forest restoration work at Conservation Northwest (CNW).

“My goal is to support local, state and federal land managers in increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration to improve ecological function, enhance resilience, and reduce the risks of severe wildfire,” says Liu. “This includes maintaining soil productivity, watershed health, and critical wildlife habitats as well as collaborating with community leaders, outdoor recreationists, businesses and landowners.”

“Through Conservation Northwest, I hope to facilitate partnerships that will result in additional funding for forest health projects guided by the best available science, as well as healthy community engagement and discussion on issues important to the Methow Valley and north-central Washington.”

The landscape of the Okanogan region. Photo: Rob Sinclair
The Okanogan Valley in north-central Washington, where sage-steppe grasslands meet pine forests and surrounding mountain ranges. A landscape home to diverse wildlife and vibrant local communities. Photo: Rob Sinclair

Founded in Bellingham in 1989 and now based in Seattle, Conservation Northwest is a regional 501c3 non-profit organization that protects, connects and restores wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. Staff operate in local communities and rural areas around Washington and into southern B.C., using dialogue to find common ground and collaborative solutions for challenging issues including habitat corridors, wilderness conservation, forest restoration and endangered species recovery.

A flagship effort since CNW’s founding, the Forest Field Program advances the use of the latest scientific research while engaging collaboratively with other stakeholders to promote landscape-scale restoration of forests and watersheds. Staffers apply field experience to shape national and regional policies through forest collaboration, media exposure, lobbying, and public support and involvement.

CNW Forest Field staffers also operate on the Colville National Forest out of Deer Park north of Spokane, and in Seattle working on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as well as focused efforts in the Upper Wenatchee Watershed and Central Cascades. Mike Liu will join Dave Werntz, CNW’s Science and Conservation Director working out of Twisp, while the organization’s Sagelands Program Lead Jay Kehne lives and works out of Omak in the Okanogan Valley.

Forest collaboration in the Methow Valley is restoring habitat and forest health through the Mount Hull, Mission and South Summit projects. Photo: USFS

Recent CNW work in north-central Washington includes engagement on the Mount Hull, Mission and South Summit projects to improve forest health, federal protections for the Methow Headwaters, and decommissioning obsolete forest roads to reduce sedimentation into salmon spawning streams. Liu and CNW have also been strong voices on the need for forest restoration techniques to reduce risks from wildfires, including selective thinning and prescribed burning.

Always active in the community, Mike volunteers with the Forest Service and Backcountry Horsemen to clear trails, and the Loup Loup Ski Bowl to teach and guide sledders on the Bear Mountain Luge Experience. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Methow Valley Trails and is currently leading a committee working to establish a commuter trail that would connect Twisp and Winthrop.

As CNW’s Okanogan Forest Lead, Liu will promote forest and watershed restoration actions that benefit wildlife habitat, connectivity and ecological resilience on state and federal lands. He will also represent Conservation Northwest as a spokesperson and ambassador at events within the Okanogan and Chelan county communities he is already so closely connected to.

The Methow Valley is celebrated for its natural beauty and rural culture. After years of tireless advocacy from local residents, businesses and organizations, the Methow Headwaters are now permanently protected from industrial mining! Photo: Chase Gunnell