White Earth Tribal Forestry

White Earth Reservation




To manage the Tribal resource in an environmentally positive manner for the benefit of present and future generations.


Habitat for Today,

Timber for Tomorrow...



Man does not weave the web of life

                 He is merely a strand in it

                                 And what he does to the web

                                                 He does to himself

                                                                          Chief Seattle, 1852




 Notice of Availability for Review

Draft Forest Management Plan and Environmental Assessment for the

White Earth Nation


The 2013 Draft Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the White Earth Nation is now available for public review from August 7, 2013 through September 9, 2013.  Please review and contact Mike Smith, Reservation Forester with any comments or questions no later than September 12, 2013 at 218.935.5967 or 

Please click on the following link for access to the FMP:  /data/upfiles/files/2013_Draft_FMP_and_EA.pdf



The Tribal Forestry Office is located in the Forestry/Roads Building in Naytahwaush. Personnel include three Tribal employees made up of the Forestry Manager, Mike Smith, who started in October, 1995, Forestry/Fire Technician David Snetsinger, who started in November 2004 and is currently serving in the Timber Sales Forester position, and Jeremy Londo, our Forestry/Fire Technician in training since October 2010. Both David and Jeremy were on the fire crew for several years before becoming full-time employees. The program also has several BIA employees including 2 full-time Fire/Forestry Technicians, who are funded partially by the BIA fire program and partially by the White Earth Forest Development Program. We also have 3 seasonal BIA-employed Fire/Forestry Technicians. Additionally in the spring, anywhere from 6 to 12 BIA firefighters are on staff on a daily basis. All employees, except for the Forester are White Earth enrolled members.

The Tribal Forestry Program is tasked with forest management actions on approximately 55,000 acres of timberland on the reservation. The primary management activity is the planning and implementation of timber sales. Decisions regarding timber harvesting are guided by the Integrated Resource Management Plan for White Earth Reservation, completed in 1993 and its revised version completed in 2002. Our primary focus in timber sales has been the harvest and regeneration of the disproportionate stocking of overmature aspen on Tribal lands. The majority of our hardwood management is accomplished through the sale of fuel wood lots to Tribal members. When these woodlots are harvested as marked, they accomplish a timber stand improvement project, because the higher-quality trees are reserved from cutting.

Timber sale implementation begins with selecting possible sites from data contained in our Operations Inventory (OpInv) tabular database, and personal knowledge of stands obtained via extensive field visits.  Once sites are identified, an annual Harvest Plan is prepared and presented to the Tribal Council for approval. The field work for timber sales includes locating survey corners, establishing sale boundaries and cutting lines, cruising and/or marking the timber, and the preparation of sale maps. The office work includes computing the cruise volume and statistical analysis, determining acreage, appraising stumpage value, and preparing the Timber Sale Contract. Additionally, other documentation is required on each sale by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act related to cultural recourses. The BIA has the final approval authority over all timber harvesting on the reservation.

Timber sale administration includes the inspection of each operation for compliance with special contract provisions, enforcing utilization standards, scaling pulpwood and sawlogs, computing volume and value, submitting monthly scale reports on each active sale, and maintaining accurate records of stumpage payments. Perhaps the most challenging part of administration is developing and utilizing sufficient diplomatic skills to work out compromises between financially strapped loggers and the requirements of the sale contract.

The other primary activity of the forestry program is forest development, in which the most notable component is our spring tree planting. Our goal is to plant at least 100,000 seedlings per year, but our best year was 2001 in which we planted about 240,000 trees. Most of the seedlings we plant are either red pine or white spruce. Much of our forest development work is focused on establishing and maintaining forest tree plantations. We survey and interplant young plantations each year until full stocking is achieved. Other activities include release of plantations from competing vegetation, using brush saws or chainsaws, pre-commercial thinnings of young pine stands, and timber stand improvement cuts in hardwood stands. Some of this work is completed by our fire crew, but much of this work is contracted out, as we have limited manpower to complete all of the scheduled tasks.

In addition to these activities, we receive special funding from the BIA to complete hazardous fuels management work on reservation lands. In the past, this included the winter shearing of timber blown down in the windstorm of 1995. More recently, it has included the clearing of hazardous fuels around Tribal member’s homes and other facilities across the reservation to reduce the wildfire threat there. Our program of community burning in the spring has substantially reduced the wildfire threat to Tribal homes and facilities in White Earth, Pine Point, Naytahwaush, and Rice Lake Village. The funding for all of this work varies from year to year, and is subject to the whims of the Federal budget, but we have been generally fortunate to receive enough to be able to accomplish what we have. 

When time permits, the fire crew is also available to do a wide variety of other project work to assist Tribal members and communities, such as hazard tree removal and providing fire wood for Tribal functions.


The White Earth Tribal Forestry Program

P.O.Box 37

Naytahwaush, MN 56566

Phone: (218) 335-5967

Fax:  (218) 935-9129



Line 1, Forester                                    (218) 935-5967

Line 2, Fire desk                                   (218) 935-2917

Line 3, Timber Sales Forester                (218) 936-5757



Michael Smith, Forester

David Snetsinger, Forestry/Fire Technician (Timber Sales Forester)

Terrance Snetsinger, Forestry/Fire Technician


BIA Personnel:

Brad Estey, Fire Prevention Specialist (full time)

Harry Stevens, Fire/Forestry Technician (full time)

Steve LaFriniere, Fire/Forestry Technician (full time)

Jesse Londo, Fire/Forestry Technician (seasonal)


Current TERO crew (also part of the fire crew):

Willie Auginaush

Mathew Dewey

Jeremy Londo

Bradley Deschampe

Jordan Brown

Dustin Johnson