Clark County’s Sustainable Forestry Program started in 2011 with the development of forest stewardship plans for recently acquired properties. These plans exemplify how to transition forest land from passive management to active management.
Today, Clark County uses selective thinning and other techniques to improve the overall health of these forest ecosystems, which support a diversity of plants and animals, and to generate a small amount of revenue from wood products.
Clark County developed forest stewardship plans for three county-owned properties – Camp Bonneville, Camp Hope and Green Mountain.
In 2017, the county incorporated these three plans into a single document that also covers other county-owned forest lands: Bratton Canyon, Lake Rosannah and Spud Mountain.
Clark County is working to effectively manage Camp Bonneville's forests that support a diversity of plants and animals. Forest management is just one part of the county's overall program for the former U.S. Army north of Camas.
The Clark County Forest Stewardship Plan (PDF) calls for selective thinning and other techniques to create a healthy forest ecosystem. The modest income generated from these wood products will be used at Camp Bonneville for forest operations, property management and other activities, such as road maintenance.
The county is working to control the following invasive and non-native species at Camp Bonneville:
- Bull thistle
- Canada thistle
- Herb Robert
- Meadow knapweed
- Mouse-ear hawkweed
- Non-native blackberry
- Queen Anne’s lace
- Scot’s broom
- Tansy ragwort
Control methods, such as using herbicides or removing vegetation by power tools or hand pulling, are used annually from May through October. All control efforts are carefully implemented to ensure that state-listed plant species, like the hairy-stemmed checker mallow, are not harmed. Herbicides are applied according to strict safety guidelines set by the manufacturer.
Control efforts are focused on Camp Bonneville’s valley floor, where Lacamas Creek flows through the property, as well as on gravel roads and trails and near buildings. Additional areas will be treated as necessary to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem. Some areas are not open for invasive species control due to ongoing cleanup of munitions of explosive concern and other hazardous materials.
Watch this CVTV video to learn more about Clark County's Sustainable Forestry Program, including the county's forestry approach at Camp Bonneville.
An October 2017 audit by Northwest Certified Forestry reviewed Clark County's 2016-2017 forest management and timber harvest activities.
The evaluator observed "exemplary timber harvest practices that minimized soil disturbance and impacts to residual timber." The report further praises the county's program for restoring forest habitat, including stream restoration, replanting riparian area, replanting valley bottoms and removing invasive species.
"Clark County continues to meet or exceed the high standards of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and, in doing so, provides an instructive example of both long-term economically viable and environmentally sustainable forest management practices," the evaluator wrote.
Clark County’s renewed certificate for the next five years 2020-2025 FSC Certificate (PDF).
In November 2017, the American Tree Farm System's Washington Tree Farm Program recertified Clark County's forestry program and congratulated the county for its "continuing efforts at good land stewardship."