The Journey of a 1000 Miles

Just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the journey to a healthy and resilient landscape begins with a single acre. In a time when land ownership is converted and fragmented at rapid rates, forest lands give way to an ever expanding wildland urban interface and once contiguous landscapes spanning thousands of acres are subdivided into small forest ownerships and non-industrial forest parcels.

(Photo sequence: MARS Stewardship Crew blacklining in preparation for an Rx Burn)


As of 2019, there are over 200,000 small forest landowners encompassing over 2.8 million acres in the state. The Washington State legislature recognizes that providing for long-term stewardship of these forests in growth areas and rural areas is an important factor in maintaining Washington’s special character and quality of life (RCW 76.13.005). That special character and quality of life relies on healthy and resilient landscapes.

But how do we achieve landscape scale results with decreasing parcel sizes, mixed ownerships, and differing management goals? Can small scale work have landscape scale impacts? Enter Mt. Adams Resource Stewards (MARS) and the MARS Stewardship Crew. As a community-based forestry organization, our efforts to promote sustainable connections between the land, local economies, and rural communities in the region involves our Stewardship Crew working with a variety of landowners. 


From agencies managing thousands of acres to small landowners with 2 acres, MARS crews implement firewise thinning, chipping, hazard tree removal, planting, prescribed fire treatments, invasive species removal, in-stream restoration projects such as beaver dam analogs, and more! The work on all of these ownerships begins with a single acre. In doing so, we help build those connections between people and the land as well as people and their neighbors to promote landscape scale benefits one acre at a time. 

The journey to a healthy landscape and a healthy community begins with a single acre and MARS is here to help! 

Check us out at or on Facebook at

Stewardship Crew Instagram: @mars_stewardship_crew

Story and Words by Lucas King and David Ryan

Photos by David Ryan



A Report to the Legislature: Small Forest Landowner Demographic Report 2021. Washington State Department of Natural Resources Forest Practices Division, Small Forest Landowner Office. March 2021

Washington’s Small Forest Landowners in 2020 Status, trends and recommendations after 20 years of Forests & Fish. Sergey Rabotyagov, et. al. University of WA School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. January 11, 2021.

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