Northwest Connections is a leader in Community-Based Forestry, a movement that works towards the common goal of restoring and maintaining forest and watershed health while respecting local knowledge and bolstering rural economies. A large part of this movement is influencing local, state, and national policies in ways that promote the protection of rural landscapes and rural economies.
We were a charter member of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC), a coalition of groups around the West that have been working for over ten years to advance policy solutions to the environmental, economic and social issues we collectively face. Currently, Northwest Connections is leading the effort to create a new governance and finance structure for this western U.S. coalition.
Read some of the RVCC’s recent issues papers:
- A Community-based Approach to Federal Forest Management: RVCC’s Vision and Essential Goals
- Investing in Biomass Thermal Energy
- 2013 Issue Paper: Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Priorities
- 2013 RVCC Transition Memo
- Stewardship Contracting: Successes in the Field
- Monitoring: An Essential Tool for Achieving Environmental, Social, and Economic Goals
RVCC members work together to write these issue papers and then travel to Washington D.C. for the Western Week in Washington where we present our solution-oriented ideas to Congress, the administration, and to leaders of various national organizations.
Northwest Connections is also an active member of the Forest Stewardship Council, a global initiative to provide a green label for forest products that come from sustainably harvested forests. Melanie Parker, Executive Director, serves the FSC-US Board of Directors.
We also sometimes are asked to deliver testimony. Here is an example where Melanie Parker participated in an oversight hearing on "Locally Grown: Creating Rural Jobs with America's Public Lands" to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.
Excerpts from Melanie's testimony:
"I hope that as you listen to the testimony of all my fellow panelists you realize that we represent something very important. We are new voices. We are not the voices of industry and we are not the voices of environmentalism. We are a third way and we are rapidly becoming the new way of doing business in the West."
"We are organizing and we are aggregating, because we know something deep in our hearts. We know that land and people are inextricably linked and that until this country figures out how to protect resources and use them responsibly, we are sunk. We are in it for the long haul and we hope you will partner with us."
Transcript of Melanie's testimony. (PDF)
View the entire oversight hearing on "Locally Grown: Creating Rural Jobs with America's Public Lands".
Rural leaders urge feds to work with them closely for western land stewardship, jobs and much-needed economic development. Sustainable Northwest Press Release - July 15, 2010 (PDF)
IMAGE CREDIT: Top - Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition, Annual Policy Meeting 2012