It's a scene that may take some getting used to for conservationists: On a hillside, a mechanized tractor methodically cuts every tree of a certain size, the first part in a process that will end in paper and pulp and furniture and home supplies.
The sustainably harvested forest that is the setting for this scene--and similar forests around the Idaho Panhandle--are part of the The Nature Conservancy's vision for North Idao to protect lands and waters for everything from kokanee salmon to grizzly bears, from ducks to moose.
And what will change if The Nature Conservancy's vision becomes a reality?
Not much at all. Timber harvest, clearcuts and all.
The Conservancy's work around North Idaho involves keeping working forests working.
Grizzly bears and other wildlife can survive with forest harvesting, but they can't move, migrate, hide or feed when confronted with housing developments, roads and other intensive human activity.
With your help, the Conservancy is protecting North Idaho forests, for people and nature:
- At Boundary Creek near the Canada border, the Conservancy worked with partners to protect a 647-acre property owned by Forest Capital Partners with a conservation easement. This forest is one of the most important parcels for grizzly bears in North Idaho. The easement will restrict forest harvesting to times of year when bears aren't present.
- At McArthur Lake between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, the Conservancy protected more than 3900 acres of private forest owned by Forest Capital Partners. This land is the last and best hope for moose, elk and other wildlife that moves from the Cabinet-Yaak to Selkirk mountains.
- In the Clearwater forests, the Conservancy is a partner in the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, a group that includes conservationists, recreational interests, the forest products industry and the Nez Perce Tribe. For the past two years, they have worked together to find solutions to protect wildlife and waters.