Protecting our Public Lands for Future Generations | Cascade Forest Conservancy

Wildlands and Connectivity

Conserving wildlands and promoting connectivity are interconnected efforts and are central to much of our work in the southern Washington Cascades.



Protecting habitat through federal designations and other legal mechanisms has been an effective and necessary strategy in saving some of our most special places and important environmental systems. Whether it be the Wilderness system, National Monuments, Wildlife Refuges, or Wild & Scenic Rivers, an official designation is often the only way to ensure that logging, development, and other impacts are kept at bay and natural systems are maintained. 

We work with partners and stakeholders to better understand how we can best protect important habitat areas into the future. CFC believes It is important that efforts to bring new designations are carried out with a diverse set of stakeholders and that a variety of approaches are considered. This helps ensure a more robust and well-informed campaign for habitat protection. 



Protecting wildlands is an important step towards preserving many species. So too is ensuring that protected areas are linked together by wildlife connectivity corridors–or undisturbed areas that allow animal populations to move and migrate among protected areas unheeded by human structures or interference. 

We strategically focus much of our work on projects that directly and indirectly contribute to the connectivity of protected areas in the forest. Robust connectivity is vital to the survival of many wild species, and the ability to move into new habitats or utilize an array of connected habitat areas will help species be more resilient to the effects of climate change.

There is not enough is currently a lack of attention being paid to the on connectivity needs of wild species in the region and there is currently a lack of cohesive information outlining what is needed and where to focus efforts to implement a comprehensive and effective approach to protect and enhance connectivity in our region.

In addition to securing land designations, building connectivity requires a comprehensive approach that also includes restoration work to improve habitat function, working partnerships to improve habitat management, science to identify priority project areas, communications to inform decision-makers and the public, and policy and advocacy work to improve habitat protection in roadless areas and on state and private land.

To read more about our vision for habitat connectivity in the GPNF, check out our Wildlife and Climate Resilience Guidebook here.



In 2016, we carried out a region-wide connectivity analysis to help prioritize resilience-building efforts for species that live in mature forest habitats, such as martens, fishers, and northern spotted owls. This analysis identified core habitat areas and potential connectivity corridors. The analysis parameters we set are broad enough to encompass habitat needs of a suite of species yet focused enough to be applicable to the individual conservation needs of each. For more information about this connectivity analysis, check out the Forests and Connectivity chapter of our Wildlife and Climate Resilience Guidebook!