Aitkin SWCD Forestry Program Now Certified


Offers New Opportunity for Local Landowners


Aitkin, MN (6/1/07) - The Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been recognized as meeting the forest certification standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for their management of family forestlands in the county.



“With all the other forest certification activities going on in the county, we decided it was time to develop a program that makes it possible for family forest owners to also have their forests certified,” said Dennis Thompson, SWCD Forester.



The Aitkin SWCD joins the more than six million acres of Minnesota forests that have become FSC-certified since 1997.



“Minnesota has been a leader in forest certification and has more FSC-certified forestland than any other state in the nation,” says Katie Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners and collaborator on the SWCD project.


SmartWood, an FSC-accredited certifier with offices in Northfield, Minnesota, conducted the certification evaluation of the Aitkin SWCD.



“SmartWood is the leading FSC certifier of family forests in North America and the management practiced by the Aitkin SWCD on behalf of the landowners they serve in their FSC Group certification is right in line with other exemplary family forest managers in Minnesota and across the US,” says Dave Bubser, SmartWood US Region Manager.

The first group of landowners to be certified through the Aitkin SWCD project includes a dozen properties and approximately 1,500 acres of forestland. Additional landowners in Aitkin County can enroll their lands and participate in the program by contacting Dennis Thompson at the SWCD office in Aitkin.



“Forest certification offers an opportunity to link responsible forestry with a marketplace that is interested in environmentally-friendly products,” says Ross Wagner, Director of Economic Development in Aitkin County.


The project has been supported by funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources and a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service-USDA.



Certificates will be presented to the certified landowners during a workshop and public event in Aitkin County in September.


For more information:

Dennis Thompson, Aitkin SWCD 218-927-6565,