(CHEHALIS, WA)- In a meeting with family foresters in Lewis County today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray announced that she has secured $500,000 to help the Family Forestry Foundation develop an innovative, 100-year conservation plan.
With Murray's funding, the Family Forest Foundation will ensure the livelihood of local family foresters while preserving more of Washington State's forested wildlife.
Murray congratulated the group for developing its innovative Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Until now, only large timber companies have had the resources to develop HCPs, which preserve the state's forests while also sustaining businesses.
"I think the legacy you are leaving with this is just incredible. It's always hardest to be the pioneers, and you are really pioneers as family landowners working your way through this," Murray said. "If you can make it through in a way that shows others how to do it, you'll really have left not only your own land behind but a process for others to follow. That's truly incredible."
At this gathering of family foresters at the Family Forest Foundation office in Chehalis, foresters explained how the money will assist them in collecting data needed for their habitat conservation plan.
During their discussion, Steve Stinson and other local family foresters showed Murray a map depicting the locations of family-owned forest land throughout Lewis County.