From One Forest to Another

It’s up to us to prove what is possible.

Over the last twenty-one years, we have watched attitudes towards forests, water, and wildlife shift. If you had asked most people in 1999 about the relationship between climate change and Mt. Hood’s forest, you might have gotten a blank stare. Neither would many people have understood fire as a natural occurrence to be embraced. Commercial thinning was widely accepted as the “greener” alternative to clear cuts. Wolf sightings were not met with quite as much glee and excitement as they are today. Much has changed already. 
The Pacific Northwest provides fertile soil for Bark's work. People and forests throughout the world are part of one giant, complex ecosystem and, living in the shadow of Mt. Hood, we have the extra gift of seeing that direct, tangible connection. Many of us moved to this region because we fell in love with the majesty of some of the last remaining native forests in the country. When we can feel (and even see) our connection to an ecosystem, we are more compelled to invest in its protection. We speak up when it is threatened. Bark's intent has always been to show what's possible by fostering these direct connections and to model people living in reciprocity with the forests around them. We imagine a future where people see how the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the climate that sustains life as they know it comes directly from our forests, and that we, in kind, work hard to protect them.
In many ways, Bark is already achieving this goal. We often see language we use, ideas we champion, and tactics we employ spreading through the conservation community in the Northwest—whether it is linking forest defense to climate change or groundtruthing to protect sensitive areas from logging. In doing outreach, year after year, we find that more people are already familiar with these ideas when we reach them for the first time. Though our desire to protect these forests has not changed, we move closer to the center of the conversation that links our future, inextricably, with the future of these forests.
As Bark pushes for changes to the Forest Plan for Mt. Hood National Forest, our hope is not only to protect the places dearest to us. Bark also hopes to provide a model of success that can be copied by others—a way for people who are directly connected to their own special, life-sustaining places to exert more control over their futures. We want to change the conversation around what is possible and what success can look like.

Support our persistent voice, barking for the forests!

Thank you for keeping on this sometimes long and winding road towards a different model of how we relate to the land around us,

     Justice Hager, Bark Outreach Director

P.S. Join us for the year's final events! Tonight is Ecology Club, on the impacts of the Riverside Fire, and on Thursday, the 3rd Annual People's Forest Forum: Exploring Change, a creative homage to a Free Mt. Hood. See y'all there!