The community planning process for the award-winning 174,000 acre Upper Joseph Creek watershed project will be the subject of two days of tours on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 as about 35 visitors from outside the county will join local participants in the northern reaches of Wallowa County.

Resource-based organizations from throughout the Northwest, as well as environmental groups, some involved with litigation on Forest Service projects, will be represented.

Diane Snyder of Wallowa Resources said the project is owned by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners, run through the Wallowa County Natural Resources Advisory Committee and facilitated by Wallowa Resources.

In the two years that the Upper Joseph Creek project has been active it has won two Chief of the Forest Service awards: one a Spirit Award and the other a Partnership Award.

Part of the uniqueness of the project is that it is only 44 percent publicly owned, with the rest of the land owned by 70 different private landowners.

Wallowa Resources has been actively soliciting grants to finance contractors. The majority of those grants, Snyder thought, are coming from outside of the Forest Service.

Snyder emphasized that the tour is primarily based on the community planning process that has created the project, and not the project itself.

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