The Trust for Public Land, Town of Butte Falls Celebrate New Community Forest
The Town of Butte Falls’ vision of a Community Forest has been officially realized, as the 430-acre space has been transferred to town ownership. The property includes the historic mill site and the falls of Big Butte Creek.
“After more than two decades of planning the community of Butte Falls will finally own the land surrounding the town,” said Mayor Linda Spencer. “The land will act as a buffer, to be managed for wildfire resiliency, forest health and public recreation.”
Community ownership will continue to support forest related jobs and facilitate forest management practices that strengthen forest health. With threats from wildfire becoming increasingly present in the Pacific Northwest, the Butte Falls community will use land management tools to mitigate for catastrophic wildfires and protect fish and wildlife habitat.
“Before we acquired this land in 2019 as part of a larger package of working forestland, we recognized the importance these 430 acres to the Town of Butte Falls,” said Kelly Droege, Founding Partner at Chinook Forest Partners. “We are excited to be a part of this transaction, and hope that it serves as a model for public/private collaboration around rural landscape ownership, management and conservation.”
Recreational engagement and scoping for the forested land was initially commenced through a collaborative process facilitated by Oregon Solutions. Moving forward, a planning process will be led by the National Park Service’s River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Trails, environmental education, and other programs are being discussed as ways to encourage residents to explore the outdoors and promote health. The space will also help combat social isolation – intensified by Covid-19 – promote community cohesion, and offer natural resource educational opportunities.
Last summer, the Oregon State Legislature awarded $700,000 for the Butte Falls Community Forest Project through the passage of House Bill 5006. This funding was combined with a $400,000 competitive grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program, in addition to other private and public funding.
“The Community Forest will serve as an excellent model for other rural communities to create spaces that meet the greatest needs of residents and we’re so proud to be part of helping the town’s vision come to fruition,” said Kristin Kovalik, Oregon Program Director for The Trust for Public Land.
The Community Forest will officially open to the public in April 2022.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
About Chinook Forest Partners
Chinook Forest Partners provides the full suite of timberland and natural capital investment management services individually tailored to the needs of large-scale investors. Chinook manages working forestland through our subsidiary Chinook Forest Management. The company currently manages working forestland in the Pacific Northwest. Chinook’s core values are sustainability, transparency, and long-term focus.