Alvord Lake Community Forest

The YVFC’s Forest Watch Coordinator has been a leader in establishing the Alvord Lake Community Forest, along with the Vital Ground Foundation and the local organization Friends of Alvord Lake. 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. Its surrounding expanse of forest provide habitat and safe travel routes for a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, moose, elk, fisher, lynx, wolverine.

 

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

The forest is currently managed in partnership by the US Forest Service, the Society of American Foresters [SAF], and other community groups and individuals including the Yaak Valley Forest Council. The forest’s long-term goals include active management that focuses on forest health and diversity, and protection of 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 community forest designation in this area covers an important 142-acre parcel of land along Alvord Lake’s southeast lakeshore. Kootenai National Forest manages land to the west of this parcel, including a boat ramp, picnic area, outdoor classroom, and the trailhead for a beautiful path that circles the lake. And Stimson Lumber Company lands to the north and east are protected from development by conservation easements. Thanks to the collaboration of these land management organizations with the champions of this community forest, Alvord Lake will forever be open to the public for activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing. And all future management and activity planning and will involve our local community.

With its trail around the lake, outdoor classroom, and close proximity to Troy’s school district, this beautiful area is also central to our Conservation Education program. Coordinator Shawna Kelsey offers natural resource workshops at the lake, and uses the trail for our annual Summer Girls hiking series. The lake is also an important feature in building Geotourism in the Troy area, and is featured on our map.

YVFC regards Alvord Lake Community Forest proudly as a collaborative success story – both across our organization, with our programs working together to make the most of this area for our community, and within the broader community, with a wide cross section of locals finding common ground to preserve and manage this area for future generations. The area encompasses a beautiful, diverse natural environment and we are lucky to have it just a 10-minute drive from the town of Troy!

Proposed Location of the Alvord Lake Community Forest