Upper North Fork Earns Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership Funding
February 20, 2015
Several of the members of the Lemhi Forest Restoration Group were in Boise when US Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert
Bonnie announced that nearly $37 million would be invested nationwide to mitigate wildfire threats to communities and private property. We were absolutely honored to discover that of the 15 projects awarded nationwide, Upper North Fork on the Salmon-Challis National Forest was one of these projects.The 41,000 ecological restoration project located along the Highway 93 corridor between North Fork and Lost Trail Pass completed the environmental analysis phase late last year, garnering support from Lemhi County Commissioners, conservation groups, homeowners, and the North Fork Fire Department, among others.
Chuck Mark, supervisor of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, thanked Mr. Bonnie and offered his observation that Upper North Fork is an example of restoring human relationships as much as the health of the forest.The Lemhi Forest Restoration Group started visiting the project area in 2008, at the request of local landowners who knew that the likelihood of a large landscape fire was "not if, when." For the next 5 years, the group worked to find a balance between protecting communities and assets like Lost Trail Ski Resort at risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, and keeping the important rivers and streams in the area clean and cold.The fact that the Chiefs of the Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service recognize the value of this painstaking work is meaningful. The award will inject an additional $400,000 into making forest conditions better on public and private lands in the area -- not a small sum.Better yet, the investment tells the individuals, organizations and agencies who stayed patient throughout the Upper North Fork discussions that their time was well spent.