Darrington Collaborative
Darrington Collaborative

Collaboratives & Stewardship Basics

What is a Collaborative? 

  • The Forest Service defines collaboration as “a structured manner in which a collection of people with diverse interests share knowledge, ideas, and resources while working together in an inclusive and cooperative manner toward a common purpose.”  (36 CFR 219.19)
  • A collaborative does not replace the Forest Service, NEPA, or any existing environmental laws.
  • A collaborative is simply a group of stakeholders who put together proposals for projects that they suggest to the Forest Service, or who help to implement and monitor Forest Service-approved projects.
  • It is then up to the Forest Service to decide whether or not to adopt projects recommended to them by collaborative groups.
  • If the USFS decides to adopt a project by a collaborative, all decision-making authority still rests with them and they must still put that project through the normal NEPA review and public input process.



  • However, a collaborative may hire private contractors or consultants to assist the Forest Service with a layout, prescriptions and other aspects of projects designed by the collaborative and, if the collaborative supports it, assist the USFS with capacity on other USFS projects as well.
  • The contractor we’ve hired for the Darrington collaborative, forester Derek Churchill of Stewardship Forestry, will also be working with the collaborative and the USFS to identify and design pilot projects for this collaborative this fiscal year.
  • This added capacity to the USFS and the broad support around new projects will increase the timber volume coming off the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS)in the Darrington Ranger District
  • NOTE: Neither the Collaborative nor our contractor will do the actual logging. Any sales the collaborative put forward must still go through the normal USFS NEPA and bidding process and the USFS offers each sale under the normal bidding process.



  • The other benefit of the collaborative is that we will focus on Stewardship sales, a special type of sale classification that can only be used if there is collaborative support demonstrated behind the sale.
  • Stewardship sales allow all the receipts from a timber sale to stay on the MBS, instead of sent to the Treasury as it otherwise would be.
  • Therefore, Stewardship sales provide additional funding for the MBS to invest in the local forest.
  • The profits from a Stewardship sale are then invested in a non-harvest related restoration project that must be identified at the front-end of the sale planning process, and undergoes the same NEPA review as the sale itself, during the NEPA process for the sale.
  • Our collaborative will be designing non-harvest aquatic restoration Stewardship projects in the Darrington area to improve local water quality and salmon habitat as a component of habitat restoration thinning sales we propose.
  • Generally speaking, the types of timber sales our collaborative will be proposing are simply additional habitat restoration “thinning” of dense second-growth stands in old plantations (clear cuts), to accelerate their transition into more complex forest habitat with old-growth characteristics, entirely under the existing guidelines of the Northwest Forest Plan.

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