Natural Resources Board Meets in Olympia

In other action today, the board approved transfers of mineral rights for two parcels of former state trust land now owned by federal agencies. One was to the National Park Service for 320 acres it manages on San Juan Island adjacent to English Camp National Historic Park. The other was to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for a 391-acre parcel it will hold in trust on the Kitsap Peninsula near Poulsbo for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

During testimony prior to the board action Tribal Chairman Jeromy Sullivan encouraged the board to approve the transaction, noting that it was important to the tribe and its tribal sovereignty to own the combined surface and mineral rights.

Both parcels were Common School Trust lands and the proceeds from their sale or transfer will be used to acquire more productive lands for long-term revenue to the trust. Revenue from Common School Trust supports construction of K-12 schools. The federal agencies asked for mineral rights ownership after acquiring the lands even though neither property contains any known minerals of value.