Northeast Washington Forest Coalition files first project objection in 18 year history

Northeast Washington Forest Coalition files first project objection in 18 year history

Conservation Northwest / Jul 27, 2020 / Columbia Highlands, National Forests, News Releases

July 15, 2020 – View Press Release as a PDF

     Media Contact: Tiana Luke, Conservation Northwest,

Conservation Northwest has long been a Northeast washington forest coalition member organization, represented by our Colville Forest LEAD Tiana Luke. the Coalition is a collaborative OF various interest groups working to find balance and support high-quality habitat restoration projects and wildland protection on the Colville National Forest.

The Northeast Washington Forest Coalition (NEWFC) objected to the San Poil Project on the Colville National Forest (CNF). This is the first objection to a project in NEWFC’s entire 18 year history.

Northeast Washington Forest Coalition members and Colville National Forest employees meet to discuss the San Poil project. Photo: Sarah Newman

NEWFC objected because of their dissatisfaction with the collaboration on this particular project. The maps provided to the public were not user-friendly and hampered NEWFC’s ability to field verify particular treatments and potential impacts. Violation of NEWFC’s longstanding collaborative agreement to not operate in roadless areas is of particular concern, especially if these treatments then preclude these acres from being included in the Wilderness Preservation System.

NEWFC’s formal objection raises a number of concerns, specifically that the project: did not provide adequate public information, does not sufficiently trend towards landscape resiliency, uses shaded fuel breaks inappropriately in and adjacent to Inventoried Roadless Areas and Recommended Wilderness, insufficiently analyzes unauthorized road impacts and wildlife viability, and inadequately preserves scenic integrity near trails and within Inventoried Roadless Areas. The objection process aims to find a resolution to these issues without legal action and to improve project quality.

“We aim to help the Colville National Forest create the best possible project that promotes science-based ecological restoration for our forest and aquatic habitats, and preserves wilderness qualities in appropriate areas” said Tiana Luke, Conservation Northwest Colville Forest Lead and NEWFC Board Member.

NEWFC members and Colville National Forest employees discuss the San Poil project. Photo: NEWFC

“While we like many aspects of the San Poil project, there are portions that go against our longstanding collaborative agreements. We look forward to working with the Colville National Forest to find resolutions,” said Matt Scott, NEWFC President and the Vaagen Brothers Lumber representative on the NEWFC Board.

Formed in 2002, the NEWFC works in concert with the CNF to promote ecological forest restoration, aquatic restoration, wildland protection, recreation, economic stability in the community. NEWFC collaborates with the CNF to increase efficiencies in planning, produce high-quality ecological forest restoration, compromise social differences, ensure permanent protection of our wildlands, and support local communities. NEWFC primary mission is to demonstrate the full potential of restoration forestry, conservation actions, and wildland protections to enhance forest health, wildlife habitat, public safety, and community economic vitality.

The Thirteenmile Roadless Area in northeast Washington’s Kettle River Range. Photo: Eric Zamora