High Road to Tribal Forest Restoration and Stewardship
The High Road To Tribal Forest Restoration and Stewardship works with Tribes across California providing forestry and landscape restoration training and on the job work experience. A central principle of the partnership is to support and develop Tribal capacity along with individual skills. Tribes are the leaders in the process of developing long term training and employment plans, leading to successful stewardship of homelands and implementation of forest health projects.
Since July 2021, the workforce training program has served over 250 unique individuals from CA Native American Tribes. Training participants receive certificates for valuable industry skills and are compensated for training like Wilderness First Aid, Wildland Firefighting, Saw Training, Hazard Tree Removal, Traditional Ecological Knowledge and more.
The program includes an assessment of workforce goals and the current level of training of existing crews, followed by a training plan geared toward current work available so that training leads directly to employment.
HRTP in Action:
- In December 2022, the HRTP hosted a two-day leadership training intensive for thirty-eight tribal restoration crew leaders who traveled from eleven Tribes across the State. The two-day intensive was identified as a key need by Tribal partners and covered leadership skills, risk management, workforce challenges like crew retention and social support needs for crew members, among other topics
- A key partner, the Tribal Eco Restoration Alliance completed a Lake County Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX), where they trained forty-three individuals for prescribed and cultural fire. This training developed a crew of individuals who will be on-call throughout the upcoming burn season to continue to put healthy, managed fire on the ground.
- In 2022, Berry Creek Rancheria partnered with Sierra Institute to develop a forest restoration crew. Through HRTP, twenty-nine Berry Creek members have now been trained to conduct intermediate to advanced land management work. Berry Creek is also integrating traditional ecological knowledge to guide post-fire replanting efforts and cultural site identification based on their historical knowledge of the landscape.
- After completing HRTP training Susanville Indian Rancheria crew members began an elders firewood gathering project supplying firewood from fuels reduction projects to local elders.
Along with partners, including Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions, Big Sandy Rancheria, the Tribal Eco Restoration Alliance, Shasta College, The Inter-Tribal Council of California, Berry Creek Rancheria, the Pit River Tribe, North Fork Rancheria, Susanville Indian Rancheria, North Fork Rancheria Tribal TANF and others, Sierra Institute is grateful to the funding from the California Workforce Development Board and California Climate Investments, High Road Training Partnership Program that has allowed this training partnership to succeed.