Snow-covered mountain peaks and famous "blue ribbon" trout streams have made Gallatin National Forest a beloved Montana destination.
Often called the "Gateway to Yellowstone," the forest spans 1.8 million acres, six mountain ranges and two designated wilderness areas.
Gallatin National Forest is home to a rare, vibrant wildlife population that includes grizzly bears, gray wolves, bald eagles and the
Canada lynx, and the forest also provides fresh drinking water and soil protection through much Montana.
But devastating wildfires have put this treasured natural resource in jeopardy. Fires burned through hundreds of thousands of acres,
destroying millions of trees. In an ongoing effort to restore the beauty and splendor of this forest, contributions through the Arbor
Day Foundation's Trees in Memory and Trees in Celebration campaigns are supporting the planting of lodgepole pine, Douglasfir and
Engelmann spruce trees in damaged areas. To help heal recent devastation, the Foundation is also restoring hundreds of acres of conifer
forest lost in the Big Creek Fire that burned 12,000 acres in 2006.
The Need to Plant Trees
With the support of members, partners, and generous sponsors, the trees planted by the Foundation will help restore recreational space,
protect wildlife habitat and keep water supplies safe and clean for people living hundreds of miles downstream.
Blackwater River State Forest holds several distinctions which makes it a unique natural resource. This forest is the largest state forest in Florida. It is the central piece to the largest remaining contiguous tract of longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem in the world. It also is one of the most diverse habitats with more than 100 species of plants and animals to be found on a quarter of an acre. Home to rebounding populations of red cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and Florida black bears, this ecosystem is one of a kind but once was the dominant landscape throughout the Southeast.
Tucked away in far Northwest Florida, the 209,000 acres of Blackwater sits nearby two of the area’s premiere beach destinations – Pensacola Beach and Destin – and is actually a major contributor to what so many tourists travel to see. The Blackwater River flows through the forest, which serves as a filter for the watershed, as it makes its way south before reaching the Gulf of Mexico and depositing much of the beautiful white sand this area is famous for. That same white sand can be found from the source of the Blackwater in southern Alabama and all along its winding shores through Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties in Florida before emptying into Escambia Bay and eventually the Gulf.
The forest is the protector of this waterway and has been for eons. Site specific forest management, sound land protection and habitat restoration will ensure it remains so for many years to come. In 2012, the Florida Forest Service plans to plant more than 2,000 acres – more than 1.5 million trees – of pines to help protect and replenish this forest and maintain its standing as one of the most important and pure forests in the region.
The Need to Plant Trees
Wildfires and drought have taken a toll throughout the state in recent years. Critical habitat and healthy forestland was lost. This is where the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners can help. In 2012, the Florida Forest Service will urgently focus on accomplishing their goal of planting more than 750,000 longleaf and slash pine trees on Blackwater River State Forest.
These trees are essential to the landscape and its recovery: to filter rain water, retain topsoil and moisture, provide diverse habitat and food sources for local wildlife, and help preserve public lands in Northwest Florida for decades to come. It's a race against time to replant desperately needed trees before vital forest ecosystems are taken over by fire-prone brush. With your help, we can replant critical areas of Blackwater together.
To bring life back... to ensure that the Blackwater River State Forest continues to thrive and benefit the environment for generations to come... replanting is desperately needed. Thanks to the efforts of the Arbor Day Foundation members and supporters... the forest management staff at Blackwater River State Forest can continue to execute their plans for longleaf pine reforestation as part of the restoration of this beautiful and scenic forest. Precise attention to the balance of life is crucial for survival. For that reason the Arbor Day Foundation is helping to replant more than 1,600 acres of the Blackwater River State Forest. Restoring such an area will help maintain the precarious balance among species. These new pine trees will help clean air and water, sustaining the ecosystems within as well as restoring a beautiful natural site that lures 21st-century people back into nature's spell.