Date: June 5, 2019
Contacts: Six Rivers National Forest, Bridget Litten, (707) 441-3673
Tolowa Dee-ni′ Nation, Briannon Fraley, (707) 487-9255 x1125
SIX RIVERS NATIONAL FOREST ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT WITH
THE TOLOWA DEE-NI’ NATION
Smith River, CA – On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Six Rivers National Forest (Forest) of the U.S. Forest Service and the Tolowa Dee-ni′ Nation (Tribe) entered into a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The document is the result of a two-year negotiation and is built upon the existing government-to-government partnership.
The MOU provides for increased opportunity for the Forest and the Tribe to work together on projects of mutual interest and responsibility. The agreement recognizes the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s inherent sovereignty and stewardship responsibilities of tribal aboriginal lands and territory that also exist within the Six Rivers National Forest.
Denise Richards Padgette, Chairwoman for the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, said, “with a majority of our aboriginal territory being federally protected lands, this agreement is paramount to revitalizing cultural practices and sharing of information with the Forest Service in an effort to inform modern-day management practices.”
The Tribe and the Forest have agreed to meet twice a year on a government-to-government level to build upon the strong working relationship that supports the Tribe’s involvement in the management of Tribal resources and interests located within Six Rivers National Forest lands. The parties stated that this agreement would work towards achieving common goals rooted in the principles of stewardship, education and the preservation and management of natural and cultural resources within the Forest.
The agreement places significant emphasis on the organized sharing of information between the Tribe and the Forest, with specific expectations on meeting times and frequent communication. The MOU will further serve to eliminate duplicative efforts made by the Tribe and the Forest, resulting in an increase in effective practices of each participating party.
“We want to build upon the relationship we already have with the Tolowa Dee-ni′ Nation,” said Ted McArthur, forest supervisor for the Six Rivers National Forest. Adding, “As an agency, the Forest Service is looking at moving towards ecological restoration on a landscape scale. Working with our partners, like the Tolowa Dee-ni′ Nation who have managed these landscapes for generations, will help us move in that direction.”
In the future, the Tribe and the Forest intend on entering into an appropriate wildland fire management and incident response agreement that will cover wildland fire activity within the shared lands of interest.
About the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is a federally recognized, self-governing Indian Nation governed by the Tribal Council, which is comprised of seven (7) elected members. The Mission of the Nation is, [t]o exert and protect the inherent sovereignty endowed upon the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation to promote our tribal identity, and the wellbeing of our people, community, and environment by building a strong foundation, managing resources, and perpetuating our cultural lifeways and legacy.
With over 1,800 tribal citizens, and an aboriginal territory that spans from Sixes River in Oregon to Wilson Creek in California, the Tribe has a Bureau of Indian Affairs five county near reservation service area that includes Humboldt and Del Norte counties in California and Curry, Coos and Josephine counties in Oregon. 54% of our population lives within the service area, with the highest resident population being Del Norte County at 30%, and the second being Curry County at 12%.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.