Event highlights link between healthy forests, communities

On June 10, the White Mountain Wildlife & Nature Center in Lakeside, Arizona, held a free community event that focused on increasing the public’s awareness of the benefits a properly managed forest can provide to local communities. The Forest Service, towns of Pinetop and Lakeside,  Arizona Game and Fish Department and other partners joined forces to provide a day of hands-on demonstrations, outdoor presentations, hikes and workshops that covered the benefits of thinning forests, as well as the economic advantages these thinning materials can supply to local economies.

Vegetation Management staff officer Randy Fuller and Lakeside District Ranger Ed Collins, both from Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, presented a program that discussed the changes that have occurred to ponderosa pine forests since European settlement, the role of fire on the landscape, the importance of thinning and how these treatments are accomplished, as well as how restoring structure, composition and resilience to the forest can safeguard communities and neighborhoods.

The fair organizers hope to increase awareness, understanding and responsible action towards nature.

Photo: Randy Fuller, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Vegetation Management Staff Officer, gives a presentation on forest management practices to the public during the Lakeside, AZ White Mountain Forests Fair
Randy Fuller, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Vegetation Management Staff Officer, gives a presentation on forest management practices to the public during the Lakeside, AZ White Mountain Forests Fair. Forest Service photo.

Photo: Lakeside District Ranger Ed Collins engages a community member with information about the benefits that public lands provide to surrounding communities
Lakeside District Ranger Ed Collins engages a community member with information about the benefits that public lands provide to surrounding communities. Forest Service photo.