Authored by Matt Provencher, Service Forestry Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources 

2024 marked the inaugural Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) Forest Stewardship Program/Landowner Assistance Committee (FSP/LOA) meeting hosted by CAL FIRE in Folsom, CA, on June 4-6, 2024. 

The first meeting was a resounding success, drawing representatives from 13 states and the Republic of Palau.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, were all represented, but the award for the longest distance traveled to attend this meeting goes to Chief Larry Mamis, who joined us from the Republic of Palau (Google it if you’re unfamiliar, he crossed the Pacific Ocean!). 

In addition to these CWSF members, we had USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) representation from all the Western state’s regions (Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 10) and the Washington Office, as well as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, CWSF, and the National Association of State Foresters. 

The meeting was held at Lake Natoma Inn in beautiful downtown Folsom. The meeting took place during a heat dome, with temperatures in the valley exceeding 100 degrees! Still, with available walks along the river and lake, as well as food and entertainment only 1-2 blocks away in downtown Folsom, one couldn’t help but enjoy time outside during the downtime. 

The meeting began with a welcome from the FSP/LOA Committee Chair, Stew McMorrow, followed by a brief overview of California and CAL FIRE history. Next up was a land recognition from members of the Colfax Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe and a welcome by California State Forester and Director of CAL FIRE, Joe Tyler. 

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Who We Are”. Since we haven’t even reached our first anniversary as a committee, we’re still learning about each other. To that end, we devoted a few hours to talking about our state programs – what we are responsible for and how each state’s program operates, but especially talking about the issues and challenges that each program faces. After lunch, we identified a few challenges that many programs have in common and took a deeper dive into those topics. 

Photo: Neil Simpson

For day two, CAL FIRE put together an excellent field program looking at work on small private, state, industry, and National Forest System land. This all-lands approach is critical to CAL FIRE’s ability to help landowners, both before and after a fire. The group toured post-fire plantings, fuel breaks, and an area that CAL FIRE has been burning for over 30 years now. 

The tour ended on an area of the Eldorado National Forest that had just been planted by Sierra Pacific Industries in a partnership to help re-establish the forest after the devastating Caldor Fire. Throughout the day, an overall theme was partnerships and finding solutions to get work done on the ground, regardless of ownership or management. It was hot, 90-plus degrees, but that didn’t dampen the group’s excitement during this tour. CAL FIRE even found a nice, cool lunch stop next to Jenkinson Lake.

On day three, it was time to hear from partners. We heard from American Forests, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Forest Service. Closing out was a roundtable discussion to capture any items for follow-up, and to chart our path forward. I think the best way to describe this meeting came from Trevor Dobell of Alaska, who said, “It was a fantastic meeting, very well-run. Very inspiring as well”. I think all of us in attendance agree with that. 

As the CWSF FSP/LOA Committee moves into year two, we’ll coordinate with our State Forester Advisor, Kelly Norris, to identify deliverables that could help address common issues discussed at this meeting. This meeting gave us momentum, and those of us on the committee are excited to keep that going and work to solve some of the complex challenges that we all collectively face. And of course, we all look forward to our 2025 annual meeting, which will be held in Wyoming! 

To learn more about CWSF’s FSP/LOA Committee, visit

To learn more about Forest Stewardship in your state, visit your forestry agency’s website or go to