News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today announced their tribal forestry amendments are included in the farm bill currently under consideration in the Senate.

The amendments promote cooperation between Indian tribes and the U.S. Forest Service in the management of forestlands and grasslands.

The amendments establish an Office of Tribal Relations and programs within the Forest Service to provide for better cooperation between the Forest Service and Indian tribes. The amendments improve the management, resource production, and environmental protection of tribal forest lands. Tribes will be eligible for financial, technical, and educational assistance from the Department of Agriculture.

"I am pleased that the new Office of Tribal Relations will give our tribal communities a voice in land management and will help to foster partnerships for the greater good of environmental protection," Senator Murray said. "This important legislation brings together two key groups - the Forest Service and tribes - to help protect and conserve our forest lands and improve resource management."

"Tribes have a significant role to play towards our national goal of ensuring that forests are managed as both sustainable resources and enduring habitats," Senator Cantwell said. "We have a duty—to tribes and to our forests—to respond to tribes' expressed desire for help with forest resource planning, management, and conservation. This legislation does just that."

Tribes or tribal members are responsible for the management of approximately 17 million acres of forest land, which are eligible for about 750 million board feet of sustainable annual harvest. Much of this land shares borders with Forest Service land, and tribes also possess treaty rights within Forest Service land. The Forest Service and tribes are linked not only by common interest but also by a very practical need to work together.