(Kalispell, MT) - A growing visitor and local population has prompted Flathead National Forest to take a new look at capacity, outreach, and partnerships.

 This fall, the forest will formally launch a new partnerships program, designed to better engage non-profit groups, businesses and the public through philanthropy, grants, and volunteerism.

Janette Turk, who has been the forest’s public affairs officer for the last three and a half years, will lead the new partnership program.

 “Janette has been instrumental in growing our partnerships and community relationships,” said Forest Supervisor Chip Weber. “With this program, we’ll have the capacity to truly engage the public on all fronts.”

 “I’m also pleased to announce that Lauren Alley has been selected to become Flathead National Forest’s new Public Affairs Officer in late October,” said Weber.

 For the past three years, Alley has worked at Glacier National Park in a similar capacity managing the park’s public affairs and lands programs. She has also worked at Death Valley National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in both commercial services and public affairs. She began her career as an elementary school teacher on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. Alley holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of Leadership Flathead’s 2020 class.

Lauren Alley - NPS

Alley said “I grew up in Oregon surrounded by national forest, and our home in the Flathead is adjacent to forest land. I look forward to working with the community on a number of topics related to how we manage and enjoy this two million acre swath of public land that is so important to recreation, economy, and our way of life.”

 As Flathead National Forest’s public affairs officer, Alley will lead the forest’s public affairs program, and manage a portfolio that includes the conservation education program, website services, and oversight of the Secure Rural Schools Act Title II Funds & Flathead County Resource Advisory Committee.

- By Meghan Mulholland, Flathead Nat'l Forest -