With nearly 750 members in 12 chapters (including four student chapters) throughout the state, the Washington Society of American Foresters is one of the largest state affiliates of the national society. Foresters play a major role in managing Washington's 22 million acres of forest land. These forests provide a variety of benefits for Washingtonians and the nation in the form of wildlife, water, recreation, timber and other forest products.
The practice of forestry has changed and will continue to evolve over time. Historically these changes can be represented by shifts in forest policy at both the federal and state levels. For example, the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan changed the way federal forests are managed to protect riparian areas and other wildlife habitat, consequently shifting much of the timber production to state and private forest lands. In 1999, the state updated its Forest Practice Rules that cover state and private forestlands resulting in a federal Habitat Conservation Plan that ensures compliance with both the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act for fish and other aquatic species.
Today, foresters manage for a rich diversity of forest resources to achieve landowner objectives and meet society's needs and the needs of future generations. Washington’s forests are some of the most productive forests in the nation and professional foresters continue to be drawn to the state to practice the art and science of forestry.