The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC.org) and its partners are celebrating five years of collaborative work on national forest lands in Okanogan and Chelan Counties. The NCWFHC works to advance the aquatic and terrestrial restoration on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

In order to meet the challenge of increasing the pace and scale of restoration, the NCWFHC was formed in 2013. The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative is facilitated by the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (UCSRB.org), and is a diverse group of organizations including timber industry, conservation groups, and local, state, federal and tribal governments working with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to create more resilient forests and communities. For the past five years, the Collaborative has leveraged resources and support to accelerate the planning and implementation of landscape-scale forest restoration on the OWNF lands in the region. The NCWFHC and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest are working to achieve a vision to double the footprint of restoration in the next 10 years by building early consensus on projects, addressing Forest Service capacity issues, and spreading the word about the importance of having resilient forests and watersheds.

Treatments such as non-commercial thinning, brush removal, prescribed burning, and commercial harvest are the most widely used active restoration treatments while strategic management of natural disturbances can complement these activities. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) encompasses more than 4 million acres in Washington State and stretches for a distance of about 180 miles from the Canadian border to the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative is celebrating its five-year anniversary of collaborative work with a quarterly meeting on June 6th from 10 am to 4 pm at the Leavenworth Fire Station, 228 Chumstick Highway, Leavenworth, WA., as well as a celebration that evening at Der Hinterhof restaurant in Leavenworth beginning at 5 pm. There is a project tour June 7th to view restoration work currently being done on the Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project. This project is a 75,000-acre area near Plain, WA., to restore forest health and resiliency, reestablish forest structure, return fire to the landscape, and improve habitat and function. For more information please contact Pete Teigen, North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative facilitator, at (509) 662-4710.