Five Ways to Support Your National Forests
By Monica Perez-Watkins, Tree Planting Coordinator at the National Forest Foundation
Do you remember when you caught your first fish as a kid? Or the time you spent that long-weekend in college learning to ski and cozying up beside the cabin fire with your best friends? It’s likely that these experiences were in a National Forest.
As Americans, we spend a lot of time in nature on National Forests, especially since they cover a whopping 193 million acres and are found in 43 states. But with increasing drought, mega-fires, and sweeping tree-killing diseases and insects, our forests are suffering.
That’s why the National Forest Foundation, a national nonprofit that launched a campaign to plant 50 million trees on our National Forests in five years, partners with businesses like Brentwood Home to reforest our forests. However, you don’t have to run a business to help our forests. Below are a handful of simple steps you can take to help our National Forests, especially those in your area.
Simply visiting a National Forest can help increase awareness and engage everyday Americans in caring for our forests. Seven in ten of Americans live within a two-hour drive of a National Forest, and Southern Californians are no exception. Five National Forests (plus several more if you don’t mind spending a couple more hours in the car) are within reach for this weekend’s getaway! L.A.-residents can choose from Sequoia, Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests—all within close proximity to the city.
There’s so much to do in our National Forests - take a swim in a lake, camp under the moon and stars, ride your bike along a scenic trail - the possibilities are nearly endless. To help plan your trip ahead of time, visit your chosen National Forest’s website. The USDA Forest Service has a “Recreation” link on the homepage of each forest’s website that includes a list and location of recreation activities, along with alerts and other useful information.
Our National Forests belong to all of us. And as America’s Backyard, we need to each do our part to ensure that these places stay healthy for future generations. Always remember to follow Leave No Trace principles. Additionally, always be mindful of fire danger and take necessary precautions. Most wildfires in the U.S. are accidentally ignited by humans. In hot, dry conditions, wildfires can start quickly from anything ranging from a tossed cigarette butt to a car’s exhaust system on dry grass. Also, never leave a campfire before you douse, stir, and feel it to make sure it’s completely out.
Contact a local conservation organization and find out what you can do for our forests. They may ask for help picking up trash at a campsite, counting birds near a stream, or teaching kids the basics of nature. Whatever your task, you’ll likely find that volunteering is a rewarding and meaningful way to give back to our forests!
Read up on issues and legislation affecting our public lands and contact your congressional representatives to let them know you support our National Forests. Locally, visit your local Forest Service office or website to find out about upcoming public meetings and other news.
Start a tree-planting fundraiser or donate to reforest your National Forests
This past Earth Day, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) launched its campaign to plant 50 million trees on our National Forests in five years. You can help by starting your own tree-planting fundraiser through the NFF’s peer-to-peer fundraising page. Not into crowdfunding? You can make an online donation on the NFF’s tree-planting donation page. For every dollar donated, the NFF will plant one tree on a National Forest in need.
Now that you know how easy it is to visit and support your National Forests, what will you do?
About the National Forest Foundation: The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is a congressionally chartered, national nonprofit that engages Americans through community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of our National Forest System. The NFF is the only conservation organization wholly focused on addressing the challenges that face our National Forests and Grasslands. To address the growing need for reforestation on our National Forests, the NFF launched its campaign to plant 50 million trees on our forests in five years. To help meet this challenge, the NFF builds strong, meaningful corporate partnerships with companies like Brentwood Home to achieve effective, proactive conservation results. Thanks to Brentwood Home’s support, 10,000 trees were planted on our National Forests in 2018. Get more information on the NFF and their campaign to plant 50 million trees.