Wal-Mart Supports Conservation of Klamath-Cascade Forestlands

SACRAMENTO, CA (April 27, 2006) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced a $1 million grant to the Pacific Forest Trust to protect the McCloud forestlands.  The “Acres for America” signature grant will be used to help purchase easements on 9,200 acres of private land within view of Mt. Shasta.  These forests will connect to 2.1 million acres of protected forestlands in the Klamath-Cascade region.  

“These nationally significant forestlands support more than 250 species of wildlife,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “Today’s announcement is an important part of a much larger public private commitment that will preserve productive forestlands and wildlife habitat.” he added.

The $7.3 million acquisition of forestland is near the towns of McCloud and Ponderosa.  Additional funds to complete the purchase will be provided by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and a proposal is pending before the California Wildlife Conservation Board.  

“As we build new stores, we are always looking for greater ways to give back to our customers, and we hope that our land conservation efforts will benefit communities for many years into the future,” said Henry Jordan, Regional General Manager of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We understand the importance of protecting the environment and we’re proud to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help preserve valuable wildlife habitat here in California and across the country.”  

Under the terms of the easements, sustainable timber harvests will be permitted to continue on the lands, helping maintain the economic benefits these commercial forestlands provide for local communities. These lands, bordering the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, will also remain accessible for public recreation, providing opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor pursuits.

“We are delighted that the Foundation and Wal-Mart are joining this landmark partnership to protect the value and vitality of these critical forestlands,” added Pacific Forest Trust President Laurie Wayburn.  “Together, we are demonstrating a new, practical way to keep California’s forests thriving, providing high value jobs, recreational access and a wealth of environmental benefits.” 

The Pacific Forest Trust’s McCloud Project – a partnership with landowner Bascom Pacific and their forest managers, Forest Systems – is the largest working forest conservation easement granted by a private forest owner in the state and first to include lands owned and managed by a major commercial timberland interest. This landmark easement will prevent development, protect water quality and fisheries, sustain critical wildlife habitat and provide recreational access to the popular McCloud Falls and Pacific Coast Trail – all while supporting the landowner’s forestry and the local economy. 

"This partnership is more than just a creative approach to conservation, it is an important step that will deliver lasting benefits to the McCloud region’s wildlife habitat, water quality and the economic vitality of the surrounding communities," said California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman.  "Wal-Mart’s support through Acres for America’s is helping to ensure that major conservation easements like this one are always an option for preserving our natural resources." 

The McCloud forestlands are located within the Klamath Cascade eco-region, considered to have the highest biological diversity of any coniferous forest in the world. Special status species found there include the bald eagle, pileated woodpecker, silver-haired bat, northern flying squirrel, northern goshawk, and the imperiled redband trout. Located in the headwaters of the Sacramento River, forest management under the easement will protect the water quality and flows of the river system that produces most of the salmon caught in California.

 “Conservation easements are an important part of our long-term investment strategy. They provide private landowners with an extra financial incentive to provide exemplary stewardship of the other forest resources that are of interest to the public,” said Scott Sacco, Vice President, Forest Systems. “We hope this project helps set a conservation precedent in this state, because we all have a vested interest in seeing California’s working forests continue to provide us with the wood products we use everyday as well as the clean water, abundant wildlife and outdoor recreation we all value.”

Launched in 2005, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation founded Acres for America to conserve critical wildlife habitats for future generations. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has committed $35 million over 10 years to permanently conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every developed acre of Wal-Mart Stores’ current footprint, as well as the company’s future development throughout the 10-year commitment, making this one of the largest public-private partnerships ever and the first time a company has tied its footprint to land conservation. With this announcement today, Wal-Mart is on the path to tripling the offset of its development footprint.

The Acres for America
program provides critical funds to complete timely conservation acquisitions before they are lost in the marketplace. In 2005, the Acres for America program funded its first five projects in Maine, Louisiana, Arkansas, Arizona and Oregon. Together with this grant in California, the six projects funded to date represent a commitment of $9.8 million from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., which leveraged additional funding from project partners to invest a total of nearly $28 million for land conservation. With additional projects planned for 2006, the Acres for America program will permanently conserve more than 360,000 acres, helping connect conservation landscapes totaling nearly 4 million acres and producing a conservation investment nearing $50 million. 

About National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and the habitat on which they depend. The Foundation creates partnerships between the public and private sectors to strategically invest in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. The Foundation awarded over 7,000 grants to more than 2,600 organizations in the United States and abroad and has leveraged – with its partners – more than $300 million in federal funds since its establishment, for a total of more than $1 billion in conservation. The Foundation is recognized by Charity Navigator with a 3-star rating for efficiency and effectiveness. Ninety-two cents of every dollar contributed to the Foundation is directed to on-the-ground efforts, with 5 cents supporting management and administration of the Foundation’s multi-million dollar grants program and 3 cents funding partnership development and fundraising. www.nfwf.org

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.

About The Pacific Forest Trust
The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) is the only conservation organization in the nation dedicated to sustaining America’s private forests for their wealth of public benefits. Founded in 1993, PFT is a collaborative, problem-solving organization that works with landowners, forest managers, public agencies and local communities around the country to raise awareness of the threats to America’s private forests, encourage innovations in stewardship forestry and promote incentives for long-term forest stewardship and conservation. As a specialized working forest land trust, our primary focus on direct conservation is in California, Oregon and Washington. PFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity. www.pacificforest.org

“I have been managing this property and forests in the region for thirty years and have seen the region change a lot. I believe we have a tremendous responsibility to make sure we do not allow all of this beautiful land to be developed. Our legacy should be open land, clean air, clean water and productive working forests for our grandchildren”
– David Marshall, Registered Professional Forester, Forest Systems

“This partnership between the Pacific Forest Trust and Bascom Pacific is a creative approach to conservation that will deliver lasting benefits to the McCloud area’s wildlife, water quality and communities. Acres for America’s support helps ensure that major conservation easements like this one are always an option for preserving natural resources.” – Mike Chrisman, California Secretary for Resources 

“The Bascom Pacific conservation easement will protect an extraordinary array of natural resources, including habitat for 250 species including threatened bald eagles, northern spotted owls, willow flycatchers and McCloud redband trout. We applaud the landowner’s commitment to forestry that conserves and enhances fish and wildlife habitat in partnership with the Pacific Forest Trust.” – Ryan Broddrick, Director, California Department of Fish and Game

 “We are very supportive of the McCloud Project and will be recommending it to the Wildlife Conservation Board at our May meeting. This partnership represents a new approach to conserving California’s threatened working forest landscape in that it protects fish and wildlife while supporting sustainable forestry, jobs and public recreation. With Bascom Pacific and the Pacific Forest Trust sharing in the stewardship of the forest, the state can focus its limited dollars on making the acquisition happen.” – Al Wright, Executive Director, California Wildlife Conservation Board

“Conservation easements are an important part of our long-term investment strategy. They provide private landowners with an extra financial incentive to provide exemplary stewardship of the other forest resources that are of interest to the public. We hope this project helps set a conservation precedent in this state, because we all have a vested interest in seeing California’s working forests continue to provide us with the wood products we use everyday as well as the clean water, abundant wildlife and outdoor recreation we all value.” – Scott Sacco, Vice President, Forest Systems 

“I have been managing this property and forests in the region for thirty years and have seen the region change a lot. I believe we have a tremendous responsibility to make sure we do not allow all of this beautiful land to be developed. Our legacy should be open land, clean air, clean water and productive working forests for our grandchildren”
– David Marshall, Registered Professional Forester, Forest Systems

For more information on Acres for America, check out the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation at: http://www.nfwf.org/acresforamerica