Property Rights Foundation of America®

52. Northern Forest Alliance
(Latest update 2001)
58 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 223-5256

Key Personnel

Key personnel are actually the figures at the granting foundations. (See Comments.)

Finances (See also Coalition Involvements and Comments.)

Cannot find the financial reports of NFA.

The Appalachian Mountain Club has acted as the fiscal agent for the Northern Forest Alliance, so that most of the Alliance's revenue does not show on its financial reports.

Coalition Involvements

Their outsized fold-out, full color, glossy brochure published in January 1995 listed the following 26 member organizations:

Member Organizations (1995):

Adirondack Council
Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Trail Conference
Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks
Conservation Law Foundation
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Air Force
Garden Club of America
Green Mountain Club
Green Mountain Forest Watch
Maine Audubon Society
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Hampshire Wildlife Federation
New York Rivers United
Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks
RESTORE: The North Woods
Sierra Club
Student Environmental Action Coalition
Trust for Public Land
Vermont Audubon Council
Vermont Natural Resources Council
Vermont Land Trust
Wilderness Society

Note: RESTORE: The North Woods has dropped out.

New member groups (as of 1999):
Certified Forest Products Council
Gorham Trails, Inc.
John McKeith Location Photography
National Audubon Society
New England Environmental Voters
New England Forestry Foundation
New Hampshire Rivers Council
New York League of Conservation Voters
Sierra Student Coalition
Trout Unlimited: Basil Woods Jr. Chapter
World Wildlife Fund

Major Foundation Funding Sources:

American Conservation Association
Jessie V. Cox Charitable Trust
Surdna Foundation
The John Merck Fund
Richard King Mellow Foundation
Pew Charitable Trusts
Moriah Fund
Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Foundation
Weeden Foundation

Organization Description and Goals

The Alliance's self-description: "In 1990 regional, state and national conservation organizations united as the Northern Forest Alliance. We speak for hundreds of thousands of our members across the Northern Forest and the nation. We have also listened and learned from many others who care about this region. Now that the NFLC has completed its work, it's up to all of us to work together toward a brighter future.
"We recognize that there is no quick fix to the challenges facing the Northern Forest-but to fulfill the dream of leaving a healthy forest for our children, we ask you to join us now as we look to the decades ahead." -"The Northern Forest," Northern Forest Lands Alliance, Jan. 1995.

"Vision: To achieve a sustainable future for the 26-million-acre Northern Forest, in which its Wildlands are permanently protected, its forests are sustainably managed, and its local economies and communities are strong and vibrant." -"The State of the Northern Forest," Northern Forest Alliance, c. 1999, p. 2.

Short-term goals: In 1995, the Alliance issued a map showing 10 new wilderness preserves in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, totaling approximately 7,000,000 acres to be acquired from private owners for federal and state government ownership.

Mid- and long-term goals appear to be the establishment of a four-state federal land management commission over the 26,000,000 acre so-called "Northern Forest Lands" from just east of Lake Ontario (including the Tug Hill Plateau and Adirondack region) to the east border of Maine, leading to the unstated goal of ultimately acquiring most of the entire 26,000,000 acre region and eliminating almost all of the human population. The interstate commission plan has been soft-pedaled for the past several years, but it was modeled on the interstate Columbia River Gorge Commission, a bi-state federal agency under U.S. Forest Service, with total control over local land-use, with rules stricter than the APA.

(See also "The Northern Forest Lands Plan" and centerfold, Positions on Property, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1995, Property Rights Foundation of America, pp. 10-13)

Tone and distortions of the Alliance's goal statements:

"A Region Under Siege

"...Unfortunately the Northern Forest we know is being lost.
The first alarm bells rang in the late 1980's when a million acres of industrial forest land were sold in a leveraged buyout to t foreign investor...
"Large scale clearcutting and forest liquidation also continue. From northern Maine to the small communities of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, people see clearcutting, highgrading and herbicides degrading the forest. In many towns, it will be generations before the woods again provide good jobs or a peaceful afternoon's respite.
"Development of favorite lakeshores and choice open land cuts off the tradition of public access. It is harder and harder for local residents and visitors to find places to hunt, fish and relax. An entire way of life is ion peril" -John Sheehan from "The Northern Forest" Jan. 1995, Northern Forest Alliance.


A project of the big foundations

In his new book, Undo Influence (Free Enterprise Press, 1999, pp. 38-43), Ron Arnold presents a very important description how the Northern Forest Alliance was founded by the Rockefeller's American Conservation Association and funded to the tune of $2.2 million in traceable funds during its first seven years of operation, most channeled through the Appalachian Mountain Club.

According to Arnold, at the meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association in October 1992, Chuck Clusen explained the Northern Forest Alliance to other foundation leaders, beginning with his personal background:

"'Well, during the 1970s and '80,' said Clusen, 'I was involved as an advocate in a great number of forest issues in large part dealing with wilderness. I started at the Sierra Club where I was for eight years. Then I was Vice President for Programs at the Wilderness Society for eight years. I also was greatly involved in the Alaska lands. I led the Alaska Lands Coalition during the lands fight in the late '70s and 1980s. And in the late '80s I spent a period of time in the Adirondacks. I was the Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. So my background is advocacy, it's public lands, it's land use regulations and so forth. Now for three years, I've been with the American Conservation Association, which is a foundation. It's Laurance Rockefeller's foundation. He has specialized over the many years in sort of land use kinds of issues.

"'In any case, the environmental community across these four states, which really did not have a history of collaboration, has come together in a very large coalition called the Northern Forest Alliance, and not [1992] has I think 28 organizations. It has the major national groups as well as all the principal state groups in these four states.

"'And I've been working with them over the last year and half. One, on their development of political strategies and so on. But also to facilitate their development of a campaign plan very similar to the Alaska situation as to a campaign that will probably go on for at least a decade.'

"Not so spontaneous." -Arnold, Undo Influence, p. 38

Arnold lists grants beginning in 1990 from the giant foundations in amounts from $10,000 to $400,000 specifically for the purpose of protection of the northern forest lands of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Many of the grants are for sums over $50,000, from entities such as the American Conservation Association, Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust (Wall Street Journal money), Surdna Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, The John Merck Fund, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Pew Charitable Trusts gave a grant of $350,000 in 1994 and another of $400,000 in 1996.

What Arnold has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Northern Forest Alliance that came "out of nowhere" to bring together 26 or more environmental groups was a creation of Laurance Rockefeller's foundation and the other wealthy foundations.

For Additional Information:

1. PRFA Web site on Northern Forest Lands: (link)

2. Also, see Northern Forest Lands Council, this directory.

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