Alvord Lake Community Forest

The Yaak Valley Forest Council partnered with the Vital Ground Foundation and Friends of Alvord Lake to establish the Alvord Lake Community Forest. Known historically as Cowes Lake, this water and its shoreline maintain exceptional habitat for common loons, great blue herons, osprey, bald eagles, spotted frogs, western toads, and painted turtles. Alvord Lake’s surrounding expanse of forest also provides wildlife habitat-connectivity.


The community forest designation in this area covers a 142-acre parcel of land along Alvord Lake’s southeast lakeshore and includes multiple stakeholders. The Kootenai National Forest manages land to the west that provides access to a boat ramp, picnic area, outdoor classroom, and a nature trail that circles the lake. Stimson Lumber Company lands border to the north and east are protected from development by conservation easements. Thanks to the collaboration of these land management organizations, Alvord Lake will forever be open to the public for activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, and wildlife viewing. All future management and activity planning will involve our local community.

Alvord Lake Community Forest is currently managed in partnership with the US Forest Service, the Society of American Foresters (SAF), the Yaak Valley Forest Council, and other local community groups. Long term goals for the forest include active management focusing on forest health, diversity, and protecting wildlife habitat. Our Forest Watch coordinator will work with local foresters to accomplish these goals through strategic thinning, planting, timber harvest, and weed control.


The Yaak Valley Forest Council regards Alvord Lake Community Forest proudly as a collaborative success story and an example of finding common ground to preserve and manage our forests for future generations. 

Location of the Alvord Lake Community Forest