About Us  |  Contact Us  |  FAQ's  |  Newsroom

[design image slice] U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service on faded trees in medium light green background [design image slice] more faded trees
[design image] green box with curved corner
[design image] green and cream arch
Employee Search
Information Center
National Offices and Programs
Phone Directory
Regional Offices

US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.

(800) 832-1355

  USA dot Gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal.
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.
USDA Forest Service badge

Release No. 1136


Press Office
(202) 205-1134
Twitter: @forestservice

New Forest Service program encourages growth of community forests and economies

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2011–The USDA Forest Service today published the implementation rules for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, which encourages the creation of community forests and fosters rural economies.

The publication of the rules in the Federal Register enables the Forest Service to proceed with the program. There is currently $1.5 million in funding available, with a request for $5 million more in the President’s 2012 budget. Grant administrators anticipate announcing a request for applications in approximately 60 days.

The intent of the Community Forest Program is to provide financial assistance grants to local governments, American Indian tribes and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests. The program focuses on economic and environmental benefits, education, forest stewardship and recreation including hiking, hunting and fishing.

“The Community Forest Program will bring money and jobs to our rural communities,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These community forests will also provide a model of effective forest stewardship for private landowners. They protect habitat, conserve and protect water supplies, and provide educational opportunities – all while contributing to the local economy.”

All grant awardees must ensure public access to the protected lands. The community must be involved in the process of establishing a forest, developing a forest plan and determining long-term management needs. Each grant requires a non-federal match of 50 percent.

Implementing the Community Forest Program was identified as a priority action item in President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, and supports the recommendation to promote the creation, expansion, and enhancement of urban parks and community green spaces.

The community forests created under the program will also support working forests through sustainable management, timber and non-timber production, wood-for-energy production, and recreation and tourism.

“The Community Forest Program encourages the economic and environmental health of our communities, while fostering the next generation of American conservationists,” said Tidwell. “This program will give thousands of Americans access to the great outdoors, access that they may not have otherwise.”

Click here for more information.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

US Forest Service
Last modified March 29, 2013

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.