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Sierra/Eastside Prioritization Meeting and Walking Tour

NORTH FORK — The Sierra/Eastside Prioritization Working Group of the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force met Friday, August 9, in North Fork, for their monthly meeting to discuss project prioritization and collaborative conservation in the Sierra and Eastern California.

After the meeting, participants were led on a walking tour of the North Fork Mill Site by American Forests’ California State Director Brittany Dyer. Speakers from local organizations discussed the collaboration between the County, Community Development Council, the Tribe, regional non-profit, and private industry to redevelop the old mill site into a wood utilization campus that best reflects today’s needs, driven by forest health and public safety.

At the first stop, the North Fork fire station, Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler discussed the site’s history as a mill, the partnership with the tribe to develop the land, and the relationship with the volunteer fire department. The next stop was a brief tour of Crossroads Recycled Lumber, where owner Marc Mandel discussed the value of wood and the need for diverse wood utilization opportunities. The final stops on the walking tour were the site of the North Fork Bioenergy Facility and the North Fork log deck, where Justine Reynolds, Program Development and Project Manager with Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (YSRCDC), discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with community-scale biomass and addressing the tree mortality emergency.

The meeting’s logistics and walking tour was coordinated by American Forests. The North Fork Rancheria hosted the meeting in their new Tribal TANF building on the mill site. Additional support was provided by Sierra Nevada Conservancy and YSRCDC.

The Sierra and Eastside Regional Prioritization Group is made up of state, local, tribal, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. It is tasked with strategically identifying, developing, and implementing prescribed fire, forest health, and fuel reduction projects for funding consideration by the Forest Management Task Force.

American Forests creates healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. We advance our mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building.

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