Looking back at what we've accomplished with your support in 2022
Dear Standing Trees Community:
Well, we have almost completed another trip around the sun. It’s hard to believe how much we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time, thanks to the tireless work and support of our incredible grassroots community.
Standing Trees formed a little over two years ago out of citizen concerns for the logging that was happening and being planned in our Green Mountain National Forest. One year ago, we entered our current form with a budget, a 501c3 fiscal sponsor, and paid staff. Many of you were with us from the beginning and many more have joined over time. What is our work? To be the voices for the forests on our federal and state lands across New England.
Thanks to all of you, we have much to be grateful for in the last year. I thought I would note a few highlights:
Managing Vermont’s Forests and Parks: By law, the Commissioner of Vermont Forest Parks and Recreation is required to promulgate rules for the use of the lands under state control. This statute was never followed and, therefore, there are no formal processes or standards that govern the development and implementation of management plans. Two Administrative Petitions requesting that the Commissioner start the rulemaking process and pause logging were rejected. As a result, we were left with no option other than to move to litigation requiring Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation to meet their obligations for rulemaking. Our litigation will also ensure that the state considers the emissions of greenhouse gasses in decision making, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Climate Forests Campaign: Standing Trees is helping to lead a coalition of over 100 organizations to protect federal forests, wildlife, watersheds, and our climate. The Climate Forests campaign was launched to conserve mature and old-growth forests and trees on federal public lands, including large portions of the Green and White Mountain National Forests. We are calling on the Biden Administration to enact a strong, lasting rule that protects mature trees and forest stands from logging across federal lands as a cornerstone of US climate policy. On Earth Day, the campaign notched a major victory when President Biden issued an historic Executive Order to conserve mature and old-growth forests on federal lands, but the Forest Service has yet to take action to protect these important forests.
Rally for Climate Forests: Standing Trees catalyzed the Save Public Forests coalition, comprised of 10 partner organizations, to stop the proposed Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project. This project is proposed to open an additional 11,000 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest to aggressive logging, on top of the over 43,000 acres already approved for logging in just the past several years. Much of this logging is happening in areas of mature forest that should be allowed to become old-growth forest. On Nov 16, over 100 people rallied at the US Forest Service Rochester Ranger Station to voice their support for the permanent protection of mature and old-growth forests and stop the proposed Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project. Many Vermont media outlets covered the rally and The Boston Globe ran a front-page story.
Protect Lake Tarleton: Standing Trees is working with The Lake Tarleton Coalition, a dedicated group of concerned citizens and business owners in New Hampshire, to protect Lake Tarleton and the nearby section of the Appalachian Trail from clear-cutting and other “even-aged” logging. Lake Tarleton, one of the largest lakes in the White Mountain National Forest, and its surrounding forest form a unique mountain region that supports 4-season recreation and thriving wildlife habitat. People in kayaks, canoes, and small recreational boats come to enjoy this jewel of NH, currently free of invasive aquatic species. The trail along the water’s edge passes through a lush maturing forest enjoyed by thousands of hikers and campers.
Education: We held several events to help educate people about issues and opportunities related to forest protection, including screenings of the films “Understory: A Journey Into the Tongass” and “Shawnee Showdown”; an event at the Rutland Public Library to focus attention on the proposed Telephone Gap logging project; a webinar on timber industry myths, “Myths Busters: What the Timber Industry Wants Us to Believe About Cutting Forests”; as well as additional webinars, blogs, op-eds, testimony, presentations to college classes, and more.
None of this could have been accomplished without your support - volunteer time, financial, or otherwise. Belonging to a group of forest lovers like you gives me encouragement for the future and hope that we can change how our forests are managed on federal and state lands. Thank you for all that you have done and for all that you will do in the future. Remember that the forests, and the animals and plants that depend on them, need our voices to protect them.
Board Chair, Standing Trees