Wood for Life

Tribal Fuelwood Initiative

Connecting Restoration With Tribal Communities

In short—Wood For Life uses wood from forest restoration efforts to fuel Indigenous communities that rely on firewood to heat their homes. We are salvaging small-diameter timber removed in fire prevention efforts from the national forests and donating it to Indigenous communities to assist in heating homes.


"It’s a win-win situation. One, we’re providing fuel to our community. Two, we’re actively engaging as stewards of the land on projects that are being initiated by organizations like the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service. To me it’s a perfect example of how nonprofits, NGOs, and agency partners can work together," said Marshall Masayesva, Hopi Program Manager for Ancestral Lands.

Where are the current Wood For Life programs?

The Wood for Life program is active in Northern Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Idaho, in partnership with Navajo, Hopi, Ute, Shoshone-Paiute, and Shoshone Bannock Tribes and communities. Partners are exploring possibilities to further expand.

How do I become a Wood For Life partner?

We appreciate your interest in becoming a Wood For Life partner. Click here to learn more about the Northern Arizona Wood For Life Partnership and see how you can get involved.

Wood for Life Partnership Awarded the Volunteer and Service Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships Award

The Wood for Life partnership was awarded the Volunteer and Service Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships Award by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service for its innovative work to bring warmth to indigenous homes. The National Forest Foundation accepted the award on behalf of the partnership in a ceremony in Flagstaff in October 2022.

Southwest Region

We work to connect wood from restoration projects on the Kaibab, Coconino, and Santa Fe National Forests with Indigenous communities and nonprofits in the four corners region.

Click here to learn more about the Northern Arizona Wood For Life Partnership.

Rocky Mountain Region

In Colorado, we are working with the San Juan National Forest, local contractors, Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, and Southwest Conservation Corps to transport the byproducts of forest restoration projects to neighboring Indigenous communities.

Idaho Forests and Communities

In Idaho, we are transporting wood byproducts from restoration projects on the Sawtooth and Boise National Forests to the Shoshone-Paiute and Shoshone-Bannock tribes for distribution to elders and other vulnerable community members. We are actively working to expand this program to additional tribes in the region.


Maddie Smith, Wood for Life Coordinator (Southwest Region), at msmith@nationalforests.org

Marlee Ostheimer, Northern Rockies Program Manager (Idaho), at mostheimer@nationalforests.org

Nick Olsen, Southwest Colorado Project Coordinator (Rocky Mountain Region), at nolsen@nationalforests.org

Matthew Podolinsky, Utah Recreation Program Coordinator (Utah), at mpodolinsky@nationalforests.org

Katlyn Lonergan, Eastern Sierra & Great Basin Program Coordinator, at klonergan@nationalforests.org