Cultivating Common Ground

What if you were put in the same room with other conservationists, timber workers, the Forest Service, and local community leaders and asked how to manage a national forest? At first you might have hesitation and uncertainty, and rightly so as these groups have often worked against each other and had trouble hearing each other’s seemingly disconnected voices.

The Story of the Lakeview Stewardship Group

This was once the case for the Lakeview Stewardship Group, which was formed in 1998 to restore the 500,000-acre Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest. Yet over time, and through careful discussions, regular meetings and field trips, these groups have learned how to work together to accomplish a common goal – restoring the vitality of an unhealthy forest. The Wilderness Society has been a key member of the Lakeview Stewardship Group.

The Wilderness Society led a two-year collaborative effort to develop a detailed long-range management strategy for the Lakeview Unit. The long-range strategy built on regional and local studies, including a multi-year monitoring program conducted by Lakeview-area high school graduates.

The successful collaboration between members of this group has become an inspiration and model in forest conservation by incorporating ecological restoration and community values in land management goals.

In the age of the Internet and YouTube!, the Lakeview Stewardship Group wanted to tell their success story to as many people as possible. Lake County Resources Initiative director Jim Walls, who helps to oversee and carry-out the goals of LSG, asked The Wilderness Society’s Pacific Northwest office if it would be interested in overseeing the creation of a video documentary – and we jumped at the opportunity.

Working with Portland, Oregon filmmaker, John Waller of Uncage the Soul Productions, we developed a documentary to share the story of the Lakeview Stewardship Group and its successful forest restoration collaboration with the world.