Mission & Values


National Forest Water
National Forests protect the water we drink.

The National Forest Foundation (NFF), chartered by Congress, engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, and administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests.

Our Values

Our National Forests and Grasslands are at the core of America's natural riches, and yet, today these treasures are threatened by unprecedented challenges. Working with the U.S. Forest Service and partners, our goal is to leverage our best thinking, conservation capacity and community action to measurably improve the health of our National Forests and Grasslands.

Core values guide our work. In all of our strategies, we strive to:

  • Unite the power of diverse interests and communities in collaborative stewardship;
  • Restore ecosystems to their natural resiliency and functions through on-the-ground conservation;
  • Engage Americans, young and old, in recognizing the gifts of our National Forests and Grasslands and in caring for them;
  • Sustain the commitment and ability of communities to serve as stewards by building the capacity of collaborative organizations; and
  • Add value where action would not otherwise be taken.


Stewarding our National Forests and Grasslands is a complex venture. These lands are often the center of controversy over both management objectives and practice. When people with conflicting views sit down together and work toward a zone of agreement, their joint commitment to the land leads to more creative and lasting restoration and stewardship strategies. We encourage and support collaborative processes and strive to improve the relationships between communities and the Forest Service.


Restoration blends an understanding of historical natural conditions with science and the need to adapt for our changing future. To ensure that our forests, watersheds and habitats can persist and are resilient through diverse impacts over time, effective restoration also demands that we care for the whole system. We believe in the power of on-the-ground conservation efforts to restore our National Forests and Grasslands, acre by acre and stream by stream. The most sustainable strategies involve people who make their living from the land as well as those who advocate for its protection.


Our National Forests and Grasslands are the people's lands. Now and in the future, these lands depend on enduring public trust and engagement. As we pursue our mission, we reach out to communities, individuals and partners, to create ownership and support collective efforts that preserve and embrace these national treasures. People who have spent time by their favorite creek, explored a new trail, or spent a Saturday pulling weeds or cleaning a campsite, understand that our forests are fundamental to our national identity and are a legacy we must pass on to future generations.


We believe in the importance of investing in the strength of communities of interest and of place, helping people to convert their passion for forests into meaningful and sustainable conservation solutions and actions. We value collaborative community organizations and recognize that building their capacity is key to maintaining their engagement and stewardship of National Forests and Grasslands. In addition, we believe that lasting impact is achieved when creative solutions target ecological, economic and community objectives.

Add Value

As a key nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, the NFF is the only conservation organization solely focused on our National Forests. We don't duplicate the responsibilities of this important federal agency; rather, we complement its daily work beyond the status quo. The NFF takes advantage of our ability to respond in a timely and flexible manner, filling the conservation and stewardship gaps across our treasured forests and grasslands.