WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2015 /CNW/ -- The Muckleshoot Tribe's ancestors inhabited Central Puget Sound for thousands of years. Today, this coastal Salish Tribe is a major contributor to the local economy and community, providing resources to governments, schools, nonprofits, and churches throughout Washington State.
The Tribe's decision to certify its Tomanamus Forest to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standard is the latest example of its commitment to sustainability and responsible forestry practices. From landmark agreements protecting fish and wildlife habitat, to innovative educational programming, and hundreds of partnerships with organizations serving those in need throughout the state, the Muckleshoot Tribe is contributing to the health of its forests and the quality of life of its citizens and neighbors.
The Tribe intends to manage the property for the primary purpose of long term sustainable timber harvest, while preserving natural values including fish and wildlife habitat, plant resources, and areas of cultural importance. Ownership of the property will diversify the Tribe's economic base and insure Muckleshoot tribal members permanent access for hunting, gathering, and other traditional uses. This working forest will provide jobs and revenue for important tribal government programs now and for future generations." "The White River Forest is an important part of the tribe's homeland," said Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chair Virginia Cross. "Bringing this property into tribal ownership is the realization of a long-held goal of our people."
Forestland certified to SFI Standards with Tribal and Aboriginal partners covers millions of acres in several different jurisdictions. Twenty-one Tribal and Aboriginal communities and businesses in Canada and the U.S. work to maintain SFI certification on these lands.
"Tribes and First Nations across North America pride themselves on supporting their communities with responsible forest management that is based on their cultural values and traditional practices. SFI is proud to be considered a partner and I am so pleased that my fellow Salish people have chosen to certify to the SFI Standard," said David Walkem, Chief of B.C.'s Cooks Ferry Indian Band and an SFI board member.
Hancock Forest Management manages the property for the Tribe under the guidance of the Tribal Council. "Hancock Forest management is honored to have been entrusted with management responsibilities of the Tomanamus Forest by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe," said Robert Bass, Regional Manager for Hancock Forest Management.
About Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI)
SFI® Inc. is an independent, non-profit organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized SFI program. The SFI Standard continues to grow in popularity with Aboriginal communities that have land-management responsibilities because it's aligned with traditional values, recognizes indigenous peoples' rights and traditional knowledge, respects their cultural and environmental values, such as wildlife habitat, and promoting social and economic values through stable jobs and markets. SFI partners with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity Canada and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) to address Tribal and Aboriginal interests. Across the United States and Canada, more than 260 million acres (100 million hectares) are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. In addition, sustainable forestry is promoted through the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard and the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard. SFI on product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at www.sfiprogram.org and SFI Aboriginal and Tribal partners.
SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
For further information: Elizabeth Woodworth, VP, Communications and Community Engagement, 202-596-3452, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tribal Contact: Andrew de Vries, Vice President, Conservation & Indigenous Relations, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., 613-424-8734, Andrew.email@example.com