U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and Tom Martin, President of the American Forest Foundation, will be among the elected officials and other leaders celebrating the 75th Anniversary of America’s first tree farm in Montesano, on Saturday.

The nation’s first tree farm, founded in the Washington town in 1941, ushered in an era of certified sustainable forestry and family forestry. The Clemons Tree Farm was the first ever certified tree farm, and the U.S now has 80,000 family-owned tree farms, 900 of which are in Washington. Like the Clemons farm, all are certified by the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).

In the last 75 years, small forest landowners have grown into an integral part of forestry in Washington – 40 percent of private forestland (3.2 million acres) in the state is now owned by small landowners. And the Clemons Tree Farm in Montesano was the first forestland in the country ever to be certified for its sustainability.

“So truly, sustainable forestry was started here in Washington 75 years ago,” wrote Elaine Oneil, executive director of the Washington Farm Forestry Association, in an op-ed earlier this year.

The celebration, at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 18 at Montesano High School, 303 Church St. N., will celebrate the Clemons Tree Farm and the power and impact of tree farms around Washington and the country.

The event is sponsored by the Washington Farm Forestry Association, the Washington Tree Farm Program, Society of American Foresters and the City of Montesano.

Highlights of the event:

  • Congressman Derek Kilmer, Rep. Brian Blake and Sens. Jim Hargrove and Tim Sheldon will participate in an elected official round robin discussion about forests, small forest landowners and tree farming
  • Tom Martin, President of the American Forest Foundation, will speak about the future of tree farming
  • State agency round robin discussion with Joe Shramek, Division Manager, Washington Department of Natural Resources; Joe Stohr, Deputy Director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; and former Sen. Brian Hatfield, now the Forest Sector Lead for the Washington Department of Commerce
  • Seattle architect Susan Jones, who designed the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) house in Washington, will speak about the impact of the sustainable wood product on the construction industry

About the Washington Farm Forestry Association

The Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) represents a diverse membership of family forest owners, with a mission of empowering citizen ownership and stewardship of private forest land.  WFFA members manage their forests, ranging from a few acres to a thousand acres, for timber, other forest products, recreation, aesthetics or wildlife.  For more information, go to www.wafarmforestry.com.

About the Washington Tree Farm Program

The Washington Tree Farm Program is run by and for small forest landowners and includes volunteer inspectors and a governing committee of farmers and foresters.  The program is co-sponsored by the Washington Farm Forestry Association and the Washington Forest Protection Association.  For more information, go to www.watreefarm.org.