A community forest is there for the community. Each is as unique as the people that help create it, but all provide benefits that are passed on for generations to come. 

What is a community forest?

A community forest empowers local residents to control decisions about forest management and use, and to derive benefits from both. Every community forest has unique circumstances and objectives, established by locals. 

Who Owns the Land?

The underlying ownership can be public, private, or both. Local city or county governments, land trusts, non-profit organizations, public development authorities, state agencies, and land ownership cooperatives are just some of the potential ownership models. 

Core Components of a Community Forest

Community forests are unique in how they are formed and managed, but they all are:


Guided by the needs and wants of the local community 


Owned and managed by or on behalf of a community


Governed in a way that ensures collaboration and community participation in management decisions


Managed to balance forest health products, recreation, and community well-being


Permanently protected from conversion to development.  

Fun Fact

Hundreds of community forests exist all across the United States from Maine to California to Texas. They can range in size from a couple to tens of thousands of acres. 

What are the benefits?

There are so many benefits to a community forest. Below are some that we believe will be seen in Kittitas County:

Forest health and resiliency through restoration and prescribed fire

Enhanced diverse recreation opportunities

Local economic growth through forest products and outdoor recreation

Clean water supplies benefiting local and downstream communities

Healthy fish and wildlife habitat

Education for local youth, community members and those coming to explore

Connecting with underserved communities to address access needs

Preservation of culture and traditional sustainable uses

Local control 

How will the lands and ongoing management be paid for

The lands will initially be acquired using funding from grants, fundraising, and other sources. A certain portion of that funding may be set aside for future management of the forest. In addition, there may be other opportunities to generate revenue through forest products, recreation, etc. 

Are there other community forests?

Hundreds of community forests exist across our country! Here are a few we've explored:



Contact Us



The Checkerboard Partnership wants to hear from Kittitas County residents. To be part of this conversation,
please contact the Checkerboard Partnership Planning Committee (CPPC) Facilitator, Melissa Speeg.

110 East First St.

Cle Elum, WA, 98922



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