HNFP: A Crew’s View

A key component of the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership (HNFP) is local workforce development in natural resource assessment.  The goal of the workforce development is to create capacity within the community for future projects and assessment. This benefits the HNFP model by addressing the “triple bottom line”: building social capacity for natural resource assessment, creating a model based on management needs and community values, and striking a balance between timber production and subsistence resource production. An important aspect of workforce develop is asking and gauging what “success” looks like. I spent a day with the HNFP crew reflecting on the summer and gain their insight as one way to measure success and also areas for growth.

How did this work benefit you?


Useful hands-on experience on our land

Got in shape

Learned new skills that I can use in the future

Learned a lot of new spots to get berries

Am now very confident on navigating our road systems

Plant ID

Experience and knowledge of our surrounding natural resources

What was the most useful skill learned this summer?

Alpine experience

Plant ID and what deer prefer to eat

Navigation and extensive knowledge of our road system


What Projects would you like to see implemented based on the work that you did?

Stream and river maintenance

Trail blazing to harvest areas (both game and berries)

Informing community of road maintenance needs

Alder Thinning

Beach cleaning

Stream maintenance through wood recruitment

Fixing culverts and installing new ones to possibly prevent landslides

Identifying for the community the location of berries and fish for subsistence

“Using past and present knowledge to determine best ways to sustain and utilize our forests, stream, and rivers.”

— Phillip Sharclane, HNFP Crew

The HNFP crew completed an array of natural resource assessments to quantify deer, fish, and vegetation. They worked through many conditions during a field season spanning from March through October. Their work included quantifying deer and slash, road maintenance and hydrology inventory, fish monitoring, and vegetation plots from the sea to the alpine. The video below highlights the work their summer and also shows off that we can have a bit of fun doing it, too!

An important part of the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership is learning from the experiences we had so that other future projects can pick up where we left off. The field season was long and complex with some ruts in the road. One of the great aspects of the project was digital data collection, however, four different platforms were used to collect data (EZ Tag, DataPlus Mobile, Fulcrum Data App, Cyber Tracker App). Each of these applications required new learning by the crew and new data management steps. Also, since the technology would fail from time-to-time, they asked for greater ability to adapt to technology failures. Working with the data programs could be included in a more extensive pre-field season which they asked for to better prepare them. More of their observations are recorded below.

What could be improved for the next year?

Forest Plots – find a way to better collect the data and give more options for where to conduct the surveys

Drivers should be higher paid

Be able to adapt to the technology failures

Have better Westport accessibility and vehicle logistics

HIA should provide all the gear needed for the position – cork boots, rain gear, Xtra Tuffs

Better navigation maps would create more efficiency for the crew while in the field

A weekly plan/ planning further ahead so that the crew can make changes to the plan in the field as needed

More pre-season planning with the crew to make sure they have the necessary training

Have a structure for raises

Leaders and project points should come into the field more to lead the work

Memories from the field:

“Get certified in Electro-shocking, locate and identify plant species. Going to the Alpine to do vegetation plots and getting to experience many fantastic views.” Donny Smith

“Being left in the ditch after a bear growled at us and everyone ran to the van” Charlie Wright

“ I enjoyed being out in the field going to many locations that I had never been to, nor had I even thought that I would ever need to go to. Also had my first experience hiking to an alpine…in my life!!! “ Rosita Brown

“ALL OF THE BLUEBERRIES!!!!!” Rosita Brown

“See a deer fawn in the river during Tier 2”

Charlie’s famous words “just five more minutes”.

Road surveys have opened everyone’s eyes to some amazing views and knowledge of roads that need work.

All the hiking had everyone losing weight. YAY!!!!!!!!

Charlie getting upset about not being informed about needed hip waiters and then having to walk threw a river

The time we were doing a forest plot next to a river and a bear ran down the hill into the river scaring the crap out of us.

The time I slid down rock pit hill on my butt and I was going faster down the hill then Charlie walking down the hill.

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