Working forest Purchased on Olympic Peninsula

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state Board of Natural Resources today approved the transfer of a 304-acre parcel of state trust-owned forestland to Kitsap County. The land, located near Silverdale, will be managed by Kitsap County Parks and Recreation as part of the county’s 1,100-acre Newberry Hill Heritage Park.

The transfer was initiated after Kitsap County requested that 304 acres of trust land be reconveyed, or returned, to county ownership. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) previously managed this forestland for revenue to support county services.

DNR and its predecessor agency have managed thousands of acres of forestland for the benefit of westside counties since the early part of the 20th century. The lands can be reconveyed to a county with the approval of the Board of Natural Resources if the proposed use is consistent with the county’s and the state’s outdoor recreation plans.

Working forest of 1,777 acres purchased on Olympic Peninsula

The board today approved the purchase of 1,777 acres of forested land on the western Olympic Peninsula from TerraPointe, LLC, a Delaware-based limited liability company. Funds for the $3.28 million acquisition came from a land replacement account that DNR uses to acquire working forests and other trust lands better suited for generating long-term revenue for public schools, universities, and other public institutions.
The largest section purchased—a 1,506-acre parcel known as Anderson Creek—is five miles southeast of Forks. Two other parcels are a 155-acre parcel and a 115–acre parcel—both in Clallam County. The purchases help block up state trust lands for more cohesive and sustainable forest management.

Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy development underway Also today, the board was presented with the first step in developing a Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy for state trust lands in western Washington. The strategy is part of DNR’s Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which helps provide certainty for long term management activities, including timber harvests in working forests on state trust lands. The HCP guides DNR with long term protection of species listed by the federal government as threatened or endangered with extinction. The board endorsed sending draft language describing the need, purpose, and objectives for the strategy to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for review.

Public involvement In the next six months, DNR will initiate public outreach on the project. The outreach will include scoping—designed to get public input first on the project’s need, purpose, and objectives, followed by public input on the range of management alternatives to help protect the murrelets and their habitat on state trust lands, while meeting DNR’s obligations to trust beneficiaries, including public schools, universities and western Washington counties.

Altogether, there will be six phases to development of the strategy, during which comments will be gathered at many points to help DNR develop the best possible long term strategy.