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 implement restoration projects to local non-profit organizations or contractors. 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 are based upon the priorities of Alaska’s National Forests and determined through a process managed by the NFF. These projects will include:
- building new or repairing existing trails;
- improving access to subsistence areas or improving subsistence resources;
- hardening motorized trails and making them ecologically sustainable;
- restoring habitat impacted by recreational and other uses; and
- restoring public use cabins.
Projects that were supported through the Alaska Forest Fund in 2016 include:
Angoon Youth Conservation Corps
All Alaska Native youth conservation corps, conducting conservation and restoration work on Admiralty Island National Monument. Partners included with the Chatham School District; non-federal funding provided by Hecla Charitable Foundation, and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund. Read more about this program here.
Shelikof Creek Restoration
In-stream work conducted to benefit salmon, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy; non-federal funding was provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Charitable Trust, and matched through the Alaska Forest Fund. See 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.