Boy Scouts of America Centennial Forest sprouts up in Montana

If 100,000 trees get planted in a forest, they make more than just a sound.

They produce a roar, emanating from Montana and felt nationwide.

That roar comes from the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Forest, a “living legacy” for the 100th Anniversary of the BSA that officially opened on Saturday at Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana.

“We started our tree-planting campaign by planting a single tree at the BSA national office in Irving, Tex.,” said Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. “I’m so proud to be in Montana to celebrate the accomplishment of going from one tree to 100,000. We couldn’t have done this without the collaboration of such great partners.”

He’s referring to three teammates in particular: the U.S. Forest Service in Montana, the Arbor Day Foundation, and AT&T.

With the help of the Arbor Day Foundation, AT&T encouraged its customers to switch to paperless billing, saving trees one electronic bill at a time. To thank those who switched, AT&T agreed to plant one tree for each paperless customer.

“We are honored to support the creation of the BSA’s Centennial Forest and the organization’s long tradition of youth leadership development and environmental stewardship,” said Chris Tuten, regional director of sales with AT&T Mobility.

The final 30 trees went up at Saturday’s dedication ceremony at Flathead.

Why Flathead? The site was chosen after several large wildfires in 2003 and 2007 damaged large sections of the forest. The new trees will provide a habitat for wildlife—including Montana’s famed grizzly bears—and help filter rivers and lakes in the area.

“Managing our nation’s forests is a wonderful responsibility—and a big one,” said Tom Schmidt, deputy regional forester with the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s with the support of partners who also care deeply about our natural resources that we are able to achieve our mission of caring for the land and serving the people who enjoy it.”

Those people he mentions will include a ton of Scouts and Scouters in the years to come.

“I hope the trees stay around for a long time,” said 10-year-old Scout Nathan Dellinger of Missoula, Mont. “I can’t wait to come back and see them when they are big.”

Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca and several Scouts plant a tree at the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Forest.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.