J.D. Simkins

Trillium Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest

National Forest Week officially kicks off July 12. To celebrate the National Forest Foundation is hosting daily events designed to boost outdoor participation and raise awareness about conservation efforts.

J.D. Simkins  – July 8, 2021

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National Forest Week officially kicks off July 12. To celebrate the nation’s 9,000 miles of scenic byways, 150,000 miles of hiking trails, 4,400 miles of rivers, and 5,100 campgrounds encompassing our forest system, the National Forest Foundation is hosting daily events designed to boost outdoor participation and raise awareness about conservation efforts.

The congressionally-chartered NFF’s Explore it All initiative “invites Americans to get outside and explore their National Forests and Grasslands,” the foundation’s page says. “Whether it’s a new trail in your backyard forest, or a new destination across the country, there are endless ways to explore our incredible public lands. Anytime you visit your National Forest, be sure to #RecreateResponsibly to ensure these places stay healthy for future generations.”

The week’s virtual-centric schedule of events is highlighted by forums led by NFF and Forest Service personnel, collaborative forest restoration efforts, and interactive social media campaigns, such as a photo contest featuring a range of prizes.

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“In the midst of the pandemic, we recognize not everyone can access … their National Forests for outdoor recreation,” the NFF says. “We look forward to celebrating National Forests virtually and encouraging Americans to connect with their forests online and in the future.”

Whether it’s a new trail in your backyard forest, or a new destination across the country, there are endless ways to explore our incredible public lands.

National Forest Foundation

In focus this week will be the foundation’s ongoing emphasis on wildfire restoration, which, due to the rising temperatures and increasingly dry seasons resulting from global warming, is more critical than ever.

In April, the NFF launched a donation-matching initiative with the goal of planting up to 75,000 trees, part of a greater effort by the foundation to plant 50 million trees to battle deforestation and revive a West that was crippled in 2020 by seemingly interminable fires.

Because of the ongoing impact of the 2020 dry season, the Foundation targeted tree-planting efforts in regions that encountered the most detrimental fallout, areas climatologists fear will face even worse challenges in 2021 due to lingering drought from previous year.

“Planting trees supports wildfire recovery, restores native ecosystems, improves water quality, mitigates climate change, and so much more,” the NFF says. “By planting 50 million trees on our National Forests, we are investing in healthy forests for today and for future generations.”

Restoration efforts may also receive a jolt this week through the foundation’s self-guided clean-up initiative, an invitation for individuals or groups to give back through trash-pickup in any of the country’s 193 million acres of wild lands. Those interested can use this NFF checklist, which “outlines everything you need to make your National Forests a little better.” Participants can then share their experiences on social media.

“These lands are the foundation of America’s outdoor recreation heritage and sustain our way of life,” the NFF says. “They provide water to millions [of] Americans in thousands of communities, clean our air, store carbon, and provide timber, minerals, oil and gas and other resources for industry and communities.”

How are you going to celebrate National Forest Week? Get outside and join the online conversation from July 12-18 using #NationalForestWeek.


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