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Coalition Letter: Feinstein/Alexander - Community Forest & Open Space Conservation Support (March 11, 2010)

March 11, 2010

Dear Chairman Feinstein and Ranking Member Alexander,

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to express support for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. This new program provides matching funds to help local government entities, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations to create new community forests. It also offers technical assistance to develop and implement management plans for each new community forest.

We are grateful for the appropriation of $500,000 that you included in the FY2010 Interior and the Environment Appropriations bill that will be used to establish the program through rulemaking, which we expect to be completed this spring. We urge you to provide a minimum of $10 million for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program in the FY2011 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, including funding for the states to administer the program and to provide technical assistance, as directed by the program's authorizing language. Importantly, we request that this funding be allocated separately from funding for the Forest Legacy Program.

We believe that local communities and tribes can play an important role in shaping our nation's forest future. New landscape conservation initiatives within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service seek to foster strong public-private partnerships for conservation and stewardship across federal, tribal, state, local, and private forest boundaries. The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program can help to achieve these goals. The program will enable communities, tribes, and local non-profit organizations to purchase forests threatened by conversion and to carefully manage these lands for the future. This will greatly aid integrated resource management across the landscape while creating lasting economic and societal benefits in home communities.

We also see a special power in community and tribal forests to reconnect young people with our forests.
Community and tribal forests are in many areas situated close to schools and community centers, giving young people and their parents and teachers convenient access to a natural classroom and playground. Expanding the number of community and tribal forests will help develop a broader appreciation of the importance of forests among youth and people of all ages.

A strong investment in the new Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program would be an
investment in our future, with every federal dollar to be evenly matched by combined funding from state, local, and private sources. We encourage you to include this new program in the FY2011 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill at a minimum of $10 million. While the actual funding need is much greater, we think this funding level would be appropriate to get the program started on solid footing. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and please do not hesitate to contact any of us for more information.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Community Trees Alice C. Ewen, Executive Director College Park MD
American Forests Gerald J. Gray, Acting Executive Director Washington, DC
American Wildlands April Johnston, Executive Director-Programs Bozeman, MT
Androscoggin Land Trust Jonathan P. LaBonté, Executive Director Auburn, ME
Androscoggin River Watershed Council Fergus P. Lea, Chair Bethel, ME
Appalachian Mountain Club Susan Arnold, Director of Conservation Boston, MA
Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council Jack Shipley, Board Chair Jacksonville, OR
Ardea EcoExpeditions Darrin Kelly, Owner/Master Maine Guide Gouldsboro, ME
Audubon New York Albert E. Caccese, Executive Director Albany, NY
Blackfoot Challenge Jim Stone, Board of Directors, Chairman Ovando, MT
Burnham Park Association Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, President Morris Township, NJ
California Trout Thomas Weseloh, Northcoast Manager McKinleyville, CA
Center for Native Ecosystems Josh Pollock, Conservation Director Denver, CO
Community Forest Collaborative Rodger Krussman Montpelier, VT
Connecticut Ornithological Association Patrick Comins, President Fairfield, CT
Deerfield Conservation Commission Serita Frey, Chair Deerfield, NH
Flathead Economic Policy Center Carol Daly, President Columbia Falls, MT
Forest Guild Mike Debonis, Executive Director Holden, MA
Framing Our Community, Inc. Joyce Dearstyne, Executive Director Elk City, ID
Friends of Pondicherry David Govatski, Chairman Jefferson, NH
Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Patrick Comins, Chairman,
Southbury, CT
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy Glen Chown, Executive Director Traverse City, MI
Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust Cheri Domina, Executive Director Orland, ME
Hells Canyon Preservation Council Brian Kelly, Restoration Coordinator La Grande, OR
Hudson Highlands Land Trust Andrew T. Chmar, Executive Director Garrison, NY
Klamath Forest Alliance Kimberly Baker, Forest and Wildlife Protection Coordinator Orleans, CA
Lake County Resources Initiative James K. Walls, Executive Director Lakeview, OR
Landcaster County Conservancy Ralph H. Goodno, President & CEO Lancaster, PA
Land Trust Alliance Russell Shay, Director of Public Policy Washington, DC
The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee Paul J Carlson, Executive Director Franklin, NC
Mahoosuc Land Trust Steve Wight, President Bethel, ME
Maine Audubon Sally Stockwell, Director of Conservation Falmouth, ME
Maine Center for Economic Policy Christopher St.John, Executive Director Augusta, ME
Mattole Restoration Council Ali Freedlund, Forest Practices Program Petrolia and Whitethorn, CA
Missoula County Rural Initiatives Carly Walker, Rural Landscape Scientist Missoula, MT
Monadnock Conservancy Ryan Owens, Executive Director Keene, NH
Montgomery County Lands Trust John W. Lea, Director of Land Preservation Lederach, PA
Mt. Adams Resource Stewards Jay McLaughlin, Executive Director Glenwood, Washington
National Association of State Foresters Jay Farrell, Executive Director Washington, DC
National Woodland Owners Association Darrel Pendris, Executive Director Vienna, VA
Natural Lands Trust, Inc. Molly M. Morrison, President Media, PA
New England Forestry Foundation Lynn W. Lyford, Executive Director Littleton, MA
New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions Carol Andrews, Executive Director Concord, NH
New Hampshire Recreation and Park Association Andrew Bohannon, President Keene, NH
New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs George P. Howard Jr., Conservation Director Trenton, NJ
Northcoast Regional Land Trust Lindsay Magnuson, Executive Director Bayside and Arcata, CA
Northern Forest Alliance Bruce Clendenning, Policy Director Concord, NH
Northern Forest Center Rob Riley, President Concord NH
Northern Maine Development Commission Robert P. Clark, Executive Director Caribou, ME
Northern Sierra Partnership John Bernstein, President San Francisco, CA
Northwest Connections Mo Hartman, Program Director Swan Valley, MT
Northwest Natural Resource Group Stewart Matthiesen, Development Director and Policy Analyst
Port Townsend, WA
NorthWoods Stewardship Center Jayson Benoit, Operations Director East Charleston,VT
Protect Our Wetlands, Water & Woods Joan Lisi, President Denville, NJ
Quebec-Labrador Foundation Thomas F. Horn, Senior Advisor Montpelier, VT
Ramapo River Watershed Intermunicipal Council Janet Burnet, Executive Director Ramapo, NY
Randolph Forest Commission John Scarinza, Chairman Randolph, NH
Salmon Valley Stewardship Gina Knudson, Executive Director Salmon, ID
Sheep Mountain Alliance Hilary White, Director Telluride, CO
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests Jane A. Difley, President/Forester Concord, NH
Southern Appalachians Highland Conservancy Carl Silverstein, Executive Director Asheville, NC
Sustainable Forest Futures Steve Rohde, President Concord, NH
Swan Ecosystem Center Anne Dahl, Executive Director Condon, MT
The Conservation Fund Dan Sakura, VP for Government Relations/Director of Real Estate Arlington, VA
The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee Paul J Carlson, Executive Director Franklin, NC
The Trust for Public Land Kathy DeCoster, Director of Federal Affairs Washington, DC
The Wilderness Society Michael A. Francis, Director, National Forests Program Washington, DC
Torne Valley Preservation Association Patsy Wooters, Chair Hillburn, New York
Vermont Land Trust, Inc. Gil Livingston, President Montpelier, VT
Vermont Natural Resources Council Jamey Fidel. Forest and Biodiversity Program Director Montpelier, VT
Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust Harry White, Ecologist New Milford, CT

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