VFS was founded by island forest owners who wrote management plans for their forests but found it difficult to carry out certain difficult or dangerous stewardship activities. Often times the cost of thinning trees on small parcels was greater than the revenue generated from the sale of those trees. There was also a lack of appropriate low-impact forestry equipment and operators capable of doing the type of sensitive forestry that would enhance rather than degrade our woods. 

Vashon has a strong rural, working class heritage as well as a diverse population of environmental and artistic communities that value the rural character of the island, and already supports a number of organic subscription farms and other sustainable endeavors. We believed a locally based forest stewardship non-profit business was right for Vashon.

Low-impact forestry and small-scale wood production takes more time, skill, knowledge and attention than industrial forestry. In short, it takes more work but causes less damage and creates more local jobs, benefiting local forests, workers, our community and its economy. And it reduces our dependence on wood harvested from other areas that may lack environmental oversight.

It is easy to endorse but harder to implement the notion of humans living in harmony with nature. The challenge before us is to learn to live in, nurture and use the landscapes we are a part of, taking only what we need without destroying their ability to sustain us. We all use wood – it is in the houses that shelter us, the tables and chairs we dine on, the wood stoves that warm us, and the pages of our favorite books. Properly managed, local forests can be nurtured towards majestic, ecologically complex older stands, even as they provide a renewable local source of wood and habitat for native wildlife.

Together we can overcome many of the difficulties of doing good forestry on small parcels and benefit our island environment. Please join us in supporting that mission.