Montana senator honored by state foresters for his leadership in promoting federal forest policy.
WASHINGTON—The National Association of State Foresters today presented Senator Steve Daines of Montana with the 2017 Bernard L. Orell Award, an honor presented periodically to a member of Congress who has made a significant contribution to state and private forestry. More than 60 percent of forests in the United States are private and state owned forests and nearly 90 percent of the nation’s wood supply comes from these forestlands.
Senator Daines believes active forest management will make our nation’s forests more resilient to insects, disease, drought, and wildfire. He has co-sponsored legislation to encourage “cross boundary management” of federal forests and neighboring state and private forests, like the bipartisan Environmental and Economic Benefits Restoration Act, which would support the highest national priorities identified in each state’s Forest Action Plan. The bill would also focus National Forest System funding on high risk, cross-boundary areas in order to better protect communities and forests.
“State foresters are honored to present Senator Steve Daines with the 2017 Bernard L. Orell Award. Senator Daines understands that forest threats know no boundaries and strong forest policies can help protect natural resources across all ownerships: state, private, and public lands. Senator Daines has a proven track record as a champion for smart forest policy and we look forward to continuing our work with him for years to come,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma state forester and president of the National Association of State Foresters.
Senator Daines has elevated forestry issues among congressional leadership and anticipates the passage of a wildfire funding fix and federal forest reforms during this Congress. He also continues to be an active advocate for many of state forestry agencies’ top priorities for the next Farm Bill, such as an expansion of Good Neighbor Authority, which allows states to enter into agreements to manage projects on federal forests.
“NASF has done important work to maintain and strengthen America’s forests and I am honored for their recognition,” Senator Daines said. “We have had one of the most devastating fire seasons in Montana and we must act now on forest reform for health of our forests and to keep good paying jobs. I’ll remain focused on keeping this a priority.”
Through his positions on the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Energy and Natural Resources; and Appropriations, Senator Daines has been a vocal advocate for support of public benefits of forests, many of which are derived from state and private lands and delivered through state forestry agencies.
The Bernard L. Orell Award is named in memory of Mr. Orell, State Forester of Washington State from 1949 to 1953. Orell left the state forestry agency to enter industry and eventually became the vice president at Weyerhaeuser where he became a leader in the development of national forestry policy.
Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook, NASF Communications Director at (202) 624-5417 and firstname.lastname@example.org