Before statehood in 1889, settlers migrated to Washington with little more than hope, faith and courage. They brought with them new ideas about the possibility of finding a better life in the vastness of the Pacific Northwest. They began by harvesting lumber from the seemingly limitless forests that bordered the bays and inlets of Puget Sound. Their hard work accounted for the remarkable growth of a region, and they had unbounded optimism about the future.
In those early years, private forest landowners organized the Washington Forest Fire Association, the predecessor to today’s Washington Forest Protection Association, to meet the threat of forest fire. It was 1908, and for the first time the forests were systematically patrolled to protect what was becoming an increasingly valuable resource to a rapidly growing country.
For more than a century the efforts of the private forest landowners of WFPA have supported the families, culture, economy and beauty of the Evergreen State. It takes a special kind of vision and regard for the future to plant a new forest knowing that it will take decades to grow. We have learned that as our society and economy change, we must embrace new and sophisticated approaches to managing our forests to ensure the health of our industry and our environment.
We like to believe that we have a little something in common with our migrant ancestors. And that is the belief that with a little hope, faith and courage, that over the next 100 years we will continue to ensure the viability of a renewable forest resource that provides benefits to us all.