The Community Forests Program gives communities a way to preserve their working forest heritage. The grant program balances the many benefits forests provide – from providing money from use of the land, to safeguarding against climate and other environmental changes, to providing opportunities for recreation, education, and cultural enrichment. As Washington’s population continues to grow and forestlands are increasingly threatened by development, the Community Forests Program is a valuable tool for preserving working lands for the benefit of Washingtonians now and into the future.
Projects must acquire fee simple title of real property. Projects may also include forest and habitat restoration activities or development of recreational facilities on the property acquired. Restoration activities may include forest health treatments, habitat or ecosystem restoration, in-water aquatic restoration, vegetation planting or reforestation, culvert and fish barrier removal or repairs, etc. Development activities may include developing trails and trailheads, parking, restrooms, campgrounds, picnic areas, day-use facilities, challenge courses, signage, interpretive displays, and other recreational opportunities that are compatible with the management objectives of the community forest. Regardless of whether the property is developed, all property acquired in fee title with RCO grants must be available for public use.