A team featuring MARS’ Program Manager Nate Ulrich and Ben Hayes of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation recently took home second place in the National Forest Foundation’s Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge! The competition called for business plans that can help the US Forest Service achieve its restoration objectives on national forest lands. The team’s entry, “Klickitat Community Forest Products,” laid out a plan for a vertically and horizontally integrated, mobile mill. It drew on multiple case studies to argue that the technology to restore national forests exists today and that, in partnership with the USFS, it can be brought to bear in the effort to restore ecologically productive National Forests.
The key to their business plan is working within the constraints of the Forest Service’s planning process by operating in a discrete landscape for 2-4 years, then moving on when work is done. Rather than creating demand for additional logs in a given landscape, the business thrives on cutting itself out of a job and leaving a restored forest in its place. It’s a win-win solution for business and our National Forests.
In early March Nate and Ben flew east for an award ceremony in the other Washington (DC), along with the first place winner Whole Trees, competition founder Dr. Craig Barrett, USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, and officials from the USFS and NFF. Thanks to these supporters and to all those who helped inform and advise this project. To learn more about how MARS is moving this project forward, contact Mt. Adams Resource Stewards at (509)364-4110.