Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Economic Advisory Group

Economic Advisory Group

Members of the Economic Advisory Group advise on the ways the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest supports the economic resilience of the community and ensures the community forest is self-sustaining. See the Community Forest Advisory Group page for information about purpose and function of the advisory groups.

Jefferson County is unusual in having a higher than usual concentration of woodworkers, builders and timber-related businesses. The community forest represents a significant opportunity to help forestry and wood-related businesses develop resilient business models that align with small and larger scale harvests in the community forest. The forest management conservation easement limits the type of harvesting practices to ensure an ecologically resilient forest.

The Economic Advisory Group will support the staff Community Forest Manager and the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Board of Managers in their development of the Economic Management Plan for the Community Forest which includes:

  • Sustaining local forest-based jobs and provides a sustained flow of timber to local mills and local woodworking businesses
  • Explore opportunities for carbon sequestration credits
  • Provide lumber to various nonprofits and other community organizations for construction or development
  • Target small-scale and commercial harvests that generate sustaining revenue for the community forest, support social goals (like affordable housing), and help support the development of local businesses
  • Support education and training in various forms of woodworking, and boatbuilding through access to lumber and practical training in felling and milling
  • Reduce the environmental impacts by seeking to mill and use the wood within a 50-mile radius
  • Explore using the community forest as a forestry training resource for the county
  • Identify opportunities for non-timber forest product harvests

The Economic Advisory Group is a forum for collecting community input on harvest plans and helps set the criteria and process for equitable access to timber and non-timber forest products harvested from the community forest.

The advisory group is also a place to explore ideas and partnerships for enhancing the value of Chimacum Ridge lumber, creating branding around the harvested lumber and developing stronger relationships in the woodworking community in Jefferson County.

Another way of thinking about the advisory group is that it will help Jefferson Land Trust and the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest do for wood what the Land Trust has done for local food and the farming community.

Chimacum Ridge Community Forest: Setting and History

Chimacum Ridge is a southward dipping plateau bounded by steep drops into Beaver Valley and Center Valley. The glacial soils, and climate conditions are suitable for growing timber and the land is well forested and very productive.

Chimacum Ridge has been managed as a working forest since at least the 1920s. Most of the forest was last harvested as a clearcut in the 1970s, and two 40-acre stands were clearcut in 2013. Much of the Ridge’s plateau was thinned in minimal impact harvests in 2017, 2018, and 2019. A few small areas were cleared and replanted to manage laminated root rot at the same time. The eastern slope of the Ridge has not been logged since the 1980s and is a mixture of unthinned conifers and areas of bigleaf maple with sword fern understory.

The dominant Douglas-fir trees will reach 100-130 feet by the time they are 50 years old (around 2030). Other conifers include western redcedar, western hemlock, and the occasional Sitka spruce. Broadleaf trees such as bigleaf maple, red alder, bitter cherry, and willow species are also well distributed among the conifers and make up their own sub-stands near wetter depressions and drainages.

We’re hoping to work with fellers, millers, lumber yards and other small forest owners to create a stronger market for locally harvested and processed lumber. We want the process of procuring lumber or participating in a harvest from the community forest to be equitable (i.e., that we develop a fair way to give local businesses access to the economic benefits of the community forest).

Wood harvested from the Valley View Forest, which will eventually be managed as part of the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest, has already been used to build the community pavilion at Valley View, and was distributed to furniture makers and other local woodworkers whose resulting work was on display at the Port Townsend Woodworkers Show in 2022.

We also believe that there are other options for non-timber forest products such as boughs, native medicinal plants, firewood, and other products yet to be identified.