Bellingham, Wash. - While you may think "the Evergreen state" has more than enough trees to go around, many of Washington's special trees are at risk. Old-growth forests are still subject to logging; and those that are protected can become isolated—islands removed from the necessary biodiversity of other plants and animals that keep them thriving. That's why Foundation co-founders, Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, worked to preserve its natural forests soon after establishing their foundation.
Between 1997 and 2003, the Foundation created and managed a portfolio of 51 grants which protected sensitive forestlands. The grants resulted in the preservation of 400,000 acres of lands that are distinct for the extent and diversity of their tree species. They also connected disparate forests and maintained wildlife corridors. One of the Foundation's critical partners in this work was the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance (now Conservation Northwest).
Executive Director, Conservation Northwest
From atop Disappointment Peak in the northern Loomis State Forest, I can survey the majesty of this wilderness. Over the years, the Foundation made grants to Northwest Ecosystem Alliance for the Loomis Forest Fund and Cascades Conservation Partnership that allowed us to protect these lands forever.
The Loomis Forest grant finished an $18 million campaign which permitted us to purchase protection for 25,000 wild forest acres of state-owned land in Northeast Washington, now safely providing habitat for lynx and other rare wildlife.
The Cascade Conservation grant seeded efforts that raised over $17 million in private money and leveraged over $60 million in public funds to move 40,000 forest acres into U.S. Forest Service ownership and protection. This maintained wildlife habitat corridors across the I-90 landscape near Snoqualmie Pass and kept the Cascades from being broken into two separate ecosystems.
Both of these grants helped Conservation Northwest partner with grassroots organizations to build our regional conservation movement, and serve as models and inspiration for future efforts.