Board of Natural Resources approves Lake Roesiger land purchase, keeping 2,845 acres as working forest
State board turns down lease buyout on Stemilt parcel near Wenatchee; delays proposed land exchange at Lake Whatcom
OLYMPIA – The state Board of Natural Resources Tuesday approved the purchase of 2,845 acres of forestland west of Lake Roesiger in Snohomish County. The $6.58 million purchase will be paid from a fund dedicated to replacing trust land in the Common School Trust, which helps build public schools statewide.
The land will be managed as a working forest by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Snohomish County and the Cascade Land Conservancy also worked with DNR on the purchase. As part of the arrangement, the County will provide an additional $1.371 million to purchase 40 acres in the area already platted for 12 home sites and the development rights through a conservation easement on 200 acres of the 2,845 acres the state is purchasing. The Lake Roesiger area was once envisioned as a large, private residential and commercial development before its backers defaulted on the deal.
“By working together with the state, we have protected sensitive habitat, allowed for sound forest management practices and offered additional recreational opportunities. This is all around great news,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
“I’d like to thank Commissioner Goldmark and DNR staff for partnering with Snohomish County to protect valuable timber lands and open space that will benefit all residents of Snohomish County,” said Snohomish County Council Chairman Dave Somers following the Board’s approval.
Marbled murrelet project coordinator introduced
Kristen Ohlson-Kiehn was introduced to the board today as the newly appointed project leader for DNR’s marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy. Ohlson-Kiehn has been a facilitator and coordinator for the Blanchard Forest planning process. Her other positions with DNR include forester and planning coordinator in the department’s Northwest Region. Previously, she designed and conducted forestry restoration research in Bolivia and Belize and was a special project coordinator for the Rainforest Alliance. She received her master’s degree in Forestry from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2001.
In other action, the board:
· Approved an inter-trust exchange and transfer of 736 acres into the Dabob Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area north of Quilcene in Jefferson County. The transfer will be funded by the state’s Trust Land Transfer Program, putting $4.27 million into public school construction and $1 million to replace those lands for the Common School Trust.
· Approved the direct transfer of 3 acres of land around a public well site to San Juan County.
· Declined to approve a proposal to transfer ownership of 2,542 acres of Common School Trust land in Chelan County to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The property, known as the Stemilt-Squilchuck Watershed and located 8 miles south of Wenatchee, is leased by WDFW.
Tabled a decision on the Lake Whatcom Inter-Trust Exchange in order to receive further analysis on the impacts of redesignating the trust status of about 8,000 acres of state trust lands near Lake Whatcom.
DNR manages state trust lands
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. Of these, more than half are held in trust to produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons, and other state institutions. These state trust lands managed by DNR provide other public benefits, including outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and watersheds for clean water.