Press Release

Northwest forests should be managed for their water and recreation values

Olympic National Forest, Washington.

Olympic National Forest, WA

Mason Cummings, TWS

Forest Service releases scientific synthesis that will inform Northwest forest management for decades.

The Forest Service is one step closer to revising management plans that cover forests spanning from Western Washington and Oregon into Northern California – known as the Northwest Forest Plan. The Science Synthesis – from which key findings were shared today, will inform the planning efforts going forward. 

“Here in the Northwest our lush green forests are a piece of our identity – an attraction that brings visitors from around the world. Using the best available science to look across the region and protect and manage our forests for irreplaceable values is the smart thing to do,” said The Wilderness Society National Forest Defense Campaign Manager, Megan Birzell. “We hope to see the Forest Service move forward on the landscape-scale approach that would better protect all benefits our forests provide – from cleaning the air we breathe and water we drink, to providing world-class recreation opportunities year-round.”

The Outdoor Industry Association estimates the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending each year nationally.

A recent study on the economic value of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest found that the forest will provide benefits to the region up to $100 trillion in asset value, if managed properly.

“The secret is out – our forests are a massive economic powerhouse,” continued Birzell. “Managing our forests for the sustainable benefits they provide to the region, will continue to pay dividends well into the future.”

Protecting water quality – which our forests play a key role in – remains a priority among voters in the Pacific Northwest. Seventy-eight percent of voters prioritize protecting and restoring the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams.  


  • Megan Birzell, National Forest Defense Campaign Manager,, 206-382-3521

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.