Citizens and communities of the Northern Forest region have demonstrated the power of local knowledge and participatory research thanks to a grant from the US Department of Agriculture. Over the course of four years, the National Community Forestry Center, Northern Forest Region trained local community researchers, fostered new relationships between communities and the traditional research establishment, and created new ways for rural people to access information and participate effectively in natural resource decision-making. The National Community Forestry Center was a project of the National Network of Forest Practitioners. Network members share an interest in rural community development based upon sustainable forestry. The grant, which provided funding over four years, was the result of a highly competitive national process through the Fund for Rural America. The National Community Forestry Center was the only project of six centers funded that was not located at a land grant university and tested an alternative model of research, education, and extension to meet the needs of rural Americans.