Alaska Forest Fund
Alaska’s National Forests Provide Unforgettable Alaskan Experiences
More than 2 million people visit Alaska’s National Forests every year for a variety of outdoor recreation experiences like boating, fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing and camping. Demand for sustainable recreation continues to grow in Alaska. Alaska’s $3.9 billion tourist economy supports over 14,000 jobs in Southeast Alaska alone. These experiences aren’t only important to visitors from outside of the state. Forest Service cabins, trails and other facilities contribute greatly to Alaskans’ quality of life, for both recreation and subsistence uses.
Alaska Forest Fund Helps Fill the Funding Gap
While demand for recreation continues to grow, federal funding to maintain National Forest System trails and cabins in Alaska declined more than 46 percent between 2004 and 2014. This lack of funding has led to a backlog of maintenance and enhancement needs, and has resulted in restricted access in some places and overuse in others.
In response, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and the Forest Service developed the Alaska Forest Fund to help address this issue and accomplish priority conservation and recreational enhancement projects. The Fund, led by the NFF, leverages federal funding with private support from corporations, foundations, individuals, and nonprofit organizations.
The NFF then uses the funds to support local non-profit organizations or contractors to implement the restoration projects. Partners receiving awards provide additional leverage in the form of cash, volunteer labor or in-kind support.
For residents, visitors and corporations, the Alaska Forest Fund is a simple, effective way to support Alaska’s National Forests. For non-profit partners, local contractors and rural communities adjacent to National Forests, the Fund will be a meaningful source of capital that will increase their ability to share in the stewardship of the Tongass National Forest and the Chugach National Forest.
Alaska Forest Fund Projects
Projects supported by the Fund are based upon the priorities of Alaska’s National Forests and determined through a process managed by the NFF. These projects include:
- building new or repairing existing recreation trails;
- improving access to subsistence areas or improving subsistence resources;
- restoring wildlife and salmon habitat; and
- restoring recreation cabins.
Examples of projects that the Alaska Forest Fund has supported include:
Iditarod National Historic Trail
This project involves restoration of approximately 100 miles of this historic trail between Seward and Girdwood. Alaska Geographic, Alaska Trails and Student Conservation Association have provided youth crews and volunteers to restore existing trails and to build new connections. Funding was provided by ConocoPhillips Alaska, REI Coop Anchorage and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund. Read more about the project here.
Angoon Youth Conservation Corps
Alaska Native youth from the village of Angoon conducted conservation and restoration work on the Tongass National Forest to improve recreation areas, document cultural sites and remove marine debris. The NFF supported the Chatham School District and funding was provided by the Edgerton Foundation, REI Coop, the Hecla Charitable Foundation, and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund. Read more about this program here.
Shelikof Creek Restoration
This project improved coho salmon and steelhead habitat on Kruzof Island on the Tongass National Forest in partnership with the Sitka Conservation Society and The Nature Conservancy. Funding was provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Charitable Trust and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund. See a video about the project below.
Trail Restoration and Subsistence Access
Restoration of the Wukuklook Beach Boardwalk on Chichagof Island on the Hoonah Ranger District and restoration of the Ibeck Creek Subsistence Angler Access Trail on the Cordova Ranger District. Non-federal funding was provided by the Rasmuson Foundation, and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund.
- Rasmuson Foundation
- Juneau Community Foundation
- Hecla Charitable Foundation
- Edgerton Foundation
- ConocoPhillips Alaska
- Skaggs Foundation
- Alaskan Brewing Company
For more information on the Alaska Forest Fund contact Patrick Shannon, Pacific Northwest Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-407-2898 or Dayle Wallien, Conservation Partnerships Director, 206-832-8280, email@example.com.