Press Room

The NFF announced the White Mountain National Forest as a Treasured Landscapes in an effort to bring additional resources after Tropical Storm Irene.

Partners Announce Expanded Irene Restoration Work

National Forest Foundation names White Mountain National Forest as a “Treasured Landscape”

Waterville Valley, NH - For the last year, many organizations have worked diligently to repair the major damage done to the White Mountain National Forest from Tropical Storm Irene. Today, the National Forest Foundation announced that it has adopted the forest as one of its “Treasured Landscapes,” in an effort to bring additional resources to this major recovery effort.

NFF Event Hike
Media and partners gather to tour damage from Tropical Storm Irene on the White Mountain National Forest.

In 2009, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) launched its national Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences campaign to focus on building public-private partnerships in support of large-scale forest and watershed restoration across America’s National Forest System. This work is concentrated in 14 iconic sites from Alaska to Florida, with the White Mountain National Forest becoming one of the campaign’s newest sites this year.

NFF President Bill Possiel explained, “Under our Treasured Landscapes national restoration campaign, we aim to help bring additional resources and leverage to advance the restoration of the White Mountain National Forest. With our campaign goals focused on both on-the-ground restoration and community engagement, we selected this forest for its tremendous restoration needs as well as for its great beauty and popularity as a recreation destination.” 

Last August, Tropical Storm Irene brought torrential rain that had significant impacts across the White Mountain National Forest. Flooding carried woody debris and sediment, rolled boulders downstream carving out wider banks and jumped stream banks to find new routes – often rushing down adjacent roads or trails to cause extensive erosion. The debris caught up in that high water created jams, clogged culverts, and backed up behind bridges, causing bridges to fail, rivers to divert, and flooding in areas that are normally high and dry. Roads and trails seemed to have just washed away, leaving behind gaping holes in the path.

“In July of 2011, we gathered at the foot of Mt. Washington and the Mt. Washington Auto Road to celebrate a 100-year legacy of restoration and conservation that was made possible by the signing of the Weeks Act in 1911,” began White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner. “Once again, it will take a collective effort that is consistent with our history in these mountains to address a new challenge and sustain this beautiful landscape for the future.”

During the last year, many partners have stepped up to repair the significant storm damage and continue to make the White Mountain National Forest a great place to visit. However, lots of work remains to be done across the forest, especially in those areas hardest hit. As part of its Treasured Landscapes campaign, the NFF has committed to raising During the last year, many partners have stepped up to repair the significant storm damage and continue to make the White Mountain National Forest a great place to visit. However, lots of work remains to be done across the forest, especially in those areas hardest hit. As part of its Treasured Landscapes campaign, the NFF has committed to raising $1 million in private funds for the White Mountain National Forest site, which will be matched 1:1 by the U.S. Forest Service, for a total $2 million project.  million in private funds for the White Mountain National Forest site, which will be matched 1:1 by the U.S. Forest Service, for a total $2 million project. 

The Waterville Valley Foundation has stepped up with the first major gift for the NFF’s project plan, pledging $20,000 toward restoring the Greeley Ponds Trail.  “Waterville Valley Foundation is proud to kick off the restoration of Greeley Ponds Trail, which was damaged by Irene,” stated Mike Furgal, treasurer for the foundation.

NFF Irene Restoration

Over the course of three years, the NFF’s planned work will focus on trail and road rehabilitation, invasive species mitigation, and aquatic habitat restoration. The total project area encompasses 196,000 acres, with the majority of the work anticipated to take place on approximately 133,000 acres. Much of the project implementation will take place jointly with the partners already working on the forest, and the NFF has formed a community coordinating council representing local organizations to help steer those efforts. 

NFF Specialists

Mary Mitsos

Vice President, Conservation Programs 
NFF conservation programs, community-based conservation
406-830-3351 
mmitsos@nationalforests.org

Greg Peters

Director of Communications
NFF conservation programs and events, community-based conservation
406-830-3361 
gpeters@nationalforests.org

Wes Swaffar

Ecosystem Services Program Manager
Tree-planting & Carbon Capital Fund programs 
406-830-3356 
wswaffar@nationalforests.org

Vance Russell

Director, California Program 
NFF programs in CA 
530-758-2609 
vrussell@nationalforests.org

Adam Liljeblad

Director of Conservation Awards
Grants and grant programs
406-830-3357
aliljeblad@nationalforests.org