|Alabama's Sipsey Wilderness|
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the U.S. Forest Service issued a Stewardship Challenge, calling for all Wilderness areas in the National Forest System to meet baseline management standards by 2014. To meet this standard, Wilderness Areas are measured on 10 stewardship elements and must achieve 60% of the total available points. As of the end of Fiscal Year 2012, about 27% of Wilderness Areas did not meet this standard. The National Forest Foundation (NFF), as the official nonprofit partner of the Forest Service, has increased the resources available to meet this challenge since its inception, providing matching grants of up to $35,000 to nonprofit partners for the implementation of on-the-ground conservation projects that directly benefit National Forest Wilderness Areas.
For 2013 only one type of federal grant will be available, requiring a 1:1 nonfederal cash match. No reduced-match options are available through the competitive program at this time.
The NFF encourages organizations to conduct the highest priority work to help meet the Challenge. The NFF will provide weighted advantage for:
a. Work that advances or helps meet any individual stewardship element(s) that are not managed to the baseline standard;
b. Work in Wilderness Area(s) that do not meet the minimum stewardship level; and
c. Work that completes (a) or (b) in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona or New Mexico.
To learn more about applying for the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge program visit the application process page or see past awards.
ResourcesIn 2012, the National Forest Foundation offered a series of peer learning sessions focused on components of the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge. Session topics include Recreation Site Inventory and Monitoring, Unique Partner Contributions, Invasive Species Inventory, Monitoring and Treatment, and a Wilderness Stewardship Challenge Q&A
For additional information on the peer learning sessions and recordings of each session, click here.
To learn more about the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge program, view this information session recorded during the December 14, 2011 webinar, click here. Please note that the program has changed somewhat since the webinar was recorded.