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Award highlights Timberline's public/private partnership

RLK and Company, the operators of Timberline Lodge, along with the Mount Hood National Forest and the Friends of Timberline have been selected to receive the 2011 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award for the first time.

The award recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations for outstanding efforts on behalf of Oregon heritage and those who have made the most of available resources in those efforts.

The three-way partnership is being recognized for its long-term collaborative stewardship of Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, and for defining public/private partnerships at their best.

'This is really neat for us because it recognizes the collaborative stewardship between RLK, the Forest Service and the Friends of Timberline,' Jon Tullis, director of public affairs for Timberline Lodge, said. 'We are proud of the public/private partnership, and we are honored to get this.'

The award's nominating committee was particularly impressed with the 'Timberline Compact,' a cooperative action plan and statement of principles that recognizes the joint interest that the three organizations share in maintaining the viability of Timberline Lodge and in meeting their mutual obligations to the public as stewards of Mount Hood and historic Timberline Lodge.

The 'Timberline Compact' was the result of a three-week planning process that occurred in 2007 and was spearheaded by former Mount Hood National Forest Supervisor Gary Larson.

'He really believed in this process,' Tullis said. 'What we were shooting for on this document is a lot of mutual interests. It was a matter of getting them on the table and discussing them. We were able to capture it and use it as a blueprint for this partnership.'

Furthermore, Tullis said the 'Timberline Compact' is very 'solutions oriented' and highlights the partnership's role in outreaching to the public. 'Timberline is a very public place; it's not an exclusive resort. We have 1.9 million annual visits. We truly embrace the public.'

The efforts of organizations like the three in the Timberline Compact are essential not only to Timberline Lodge, but to the overall strength of Oregon's cultural heritage,' said Oregon Heritage Commission Coordinator Kyle Jansson.

The Heritage Programs Division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which houses the Oregon Heritage Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office, will be presenting the award at the Heritage Excellence Awards Reception on April 8 as a part of the upcoming Oregon Heritage Conference in Astoria.