Cooperatove Conservation Project

Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership

Restore, Protect and Enhance Flagstaff's Ecosystems and Communities

Location: South-Central/South-West Region: Arizona

Project Summary: The Partnership works collaboratively in the Flagstaff region to restore native ecosystems, protect communities from destructive wildfire, and enhance economic opportunities for community enterprises.
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Forest restoration & fuel reduction thinning treatment in the wildland/urban interface. Photo by Steve Gatewood, GFFP.
Resource Challenge

Forest health problems and extreme drought combined in 1996 to cause an intense fire season.  The USFS, NAU, Grand Canyon Trust and Flagstaff Fire Department helped establish the Grand Canyon Forests Foundation, now Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership, to implement forest restoration actions and fuel reduction treatments in 180,000 acres around Flagstaff in northern Arizona (100,000acres of USFS land).  Four areas of effort are emphasized: project planning, design and implementation; monitoring, research, adaptive managment and demonstration; public education and involvement; and development of community-based economic enterprises utilizing small diameter forest products.  Because the US Forest Service is the primary land owner/manager, a Memorandum of Understanding is in place to establish protocols for interaction and cooperation working in 10,000-acre blocks (several of which were combined) around Flagstaff.

Examples of Key Partners

The Partnership has 23 members, including federal, state & local government agencies such as:

AZ State Land/Forestry Department

AZ Game & Fish Department

Flagstaff Fire Department

Coconino County Community Development Department

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Several business interests including:

Greater Flagstaff Economic Council

APS Public Service

Academic institutions including:

NAU Ecological Restoration Institute

NAU College of Engineering

And several conservation organizations including:

Grand Canyon Trust

The Nature Conservancy

And 12 others.

We have separate "Memoranda of Understanding" with the Coconino National Forest and the Rocky Mountain Research Station/Forest Products Lab

Results and Accomplishments

To date, planning is complete on approximately 50,000 acres and ongoing for another 40,000.  Around 15,000 acres are NEPA ready.  Only 6,000 federal acres have been treated to date, but an additional 5,000 acres of state, local government and private acres have also been treated.

Extensive research has been completed and there is a "Multi-Party Monitoring Plan" in place.  Numerous utilization studies have been completed and a few businesses recruited.  Public education has been successful as citizens support forest restoration and fuel reduction treatments now, including the use of prescribed fire, but did not in the mid 1990's.


The GFFP is one of the longest lived collaborative processes in the nation and it's Partnership Advisory Board makes decisions unanimously.

Project Contact
Steve Gatewood
Program Director
Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership
1300 S. Milton Road, Suite 218
Flagstaff, AZ 86001


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