Protecting Our Future Means investing in relationships

Your donation makes a difference because Cascade Forest Conservancy (CFC) is the only non-profit organization focused entirely on protecting and restoring the area of southwest Washington we call the heart of the Cascades.

Our ability to continue addressing complex, region-wide challenges with comprehensive strategies through a broad array of projects depends on the support of people like you. Some of our projects are funded through grants, but it’s your generosity that funds many other essential, but sometimes hard-to-measure, aspects of our work. For example, the critical task of building authentic and lasting relationships with our supporters, volunteers, and with our partners and collaborators, like our friend, Pete Krabbe.

Pete has lived near the Gifford Pinchot NF for 35 years. He is a former logger, a mushroom forager, a talented angler, a hunter, and someone who cares for his community–both the human and non-human life he lives beside.

That care for his community can be seen in his decision to begin participating in the Pinchot Partners forest collaborative seven years ago. Forest collaboratives are organizations that foster conversations among agencies, Tribes, conservation groups, timber industry representatives, business owners, rural community leaders, and others. These forest collaboratives have a major influence on the land management decisions and strategies that are adopted in their districts.

Pete Krabbe is now the Chair of the Pinchot Partners. He recalled that when he first met members of CFC’s staff at the beginning of his time with the collaborative, he had a different opinion of our organization than he has now.

When I first got with the Pinchot Partners… I took it that Cascade Forest Conservancy was an environmental group… I originally thought you guys were just going to have a staunchly environmentalist “can’t do nothing” stance. And you really didn’t. You understood that it needs to be managed. You’ve kind of changed my mind on some stuff.

The huckleberry enhancement project up on Elk Pass is where I got to really see how much the Cascade Forest Conservancy really [cared] about our national forest… It’s the monitoring and follow-up after something is done—following up year after year to make sure you did the right thing… It’s what makes a project valid—is to go back year after year and make sure you got the science right.

The forest collaboratives work because of respect and discourse among people who don’t always agree, and putting in the time to build relationships is what makes this process effective.

For me personally, the relationship building is an absolute necessity. I think it’s personal interactions with people face-to-face—and not necessarily in a structured setting. Every time we [get together after a meeting] or at the Pinchot Partners’ table at the [CFC Gala] down in Portland [is] a really good chance for everyone to see what each other are like and who they’re associated with. It helps to have people you feel good about, that are honest with you, that tell you, not what you want to know, but what they know. It’s invaluable.

I love the fact that from the first meeting I was with Pinchot Partners to this day Cascade Forest Conservancy has always had somebody at the table on our directorship and every one of you brings, to me, state-of-the-art information and ability. Every time… when I have a question or I have a concern, I bring it to you guys and you get me some answers, or at least you tell me I’m all wet.

Maintaining real, meaningful, personal, and professional relationships while creating new ones is an essential part of what we do and what makes our efforts to protect and restore vital habitats better and more effective.The forest collaboratives work because of respect and discourse among people who don’t always agree, and putting in the time to build relationships is what makes this process effective.

You guys as a group give me hope. You guys have got the skills. There are some issues I could see coming down the pike as global warming hits us and as people start pushing more and more to get into the forest.

You’re the check. [Forest management is] a matter of checks and balances and getting it right and paying attention. Actually, somebody’s got to pay attention. I feel like that’s your responsibility. And you’re willing to tell us what you find out. To me, that benefit is incredibly good… [CFC’s presence in the collaboratives] is always informative, willing to listen, giving your two cents, and not getting your nose out of joint when you’re doing it.

Please join Pete in voicing your support for CFC by making a donation today, because it’s your generosity that makes our work for a better future for our forests possible.


Our 2022 Science & Restoration intern, Alex Torres, on why even small actions make a major impact for the Cascades
Volunteer and Supporter, Heather Gordon, on why protecting our forests means planting seeds of hope
South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative Coordinator, Josh Petit, on CFC’s work with forest collaboratives
Supporter and volunteer, Kim Freeman, on why protecting our future means protecting wildlife
Supporter and business owner, James Owen, on why protecting our future means empowering CFC
Partner scientist, Jesse Burgher, on why protecting our future means working together
Volunteer and supporter, Harley Nelson, on why protecting our future means inspiring communities