FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2009
State acquires over 20,000 acres of King County forestland for Common School, UW trusts
Board of Natural Resources also approves exchanges to expand Kitsap County park and add land to Dabob Bay Natural Area in Jefferson County
OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources today approved a land exchange with Plum Creek Timber Company, which will add 20,681 acres to state trust forestland holdings in eastern King County. Plum Creek will receive 6,033 acres of equal value—about $22.9 million—elsewhere in the state. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will manage the newly acquired land for revenue to trusts that support construction of public schools and the University of Washington.
“DNR will keep these lands as healthy, viable forests providing habitat, drinking water to Tacoma, and non-tax revenue to building schools,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.
“Plum Creek was pleased to work cooperatively with the Department of Natural Resources to achieve this outcome which benefits the State, public schools, Tacoma Water and Plum Creek,” said Rick Holley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Plum Creek Timber Company.
Most of the acquired land becomes part of the Common School Trust which helps fund school construction. DNR also will manage about 350 acres in the area to support University of Washington capital projects. The property, which is located along the North Fork of the Green River and east of the Howard A. Hanson Reservoir, will remain closed to public access because it is part of the watershed supplying drinking water to the City of Tacoma.
Many of the state parcels exchanged with Plum Creek were isolated from larger blocks of DNR-managed forestland¬; several were bordered by housing and other development not consistent with effective habitat management and natural resource production. Four public meetings and two public hearings about the exchange were held across western Washington during 2008.
Exchange to pave way for expanded Kitsap County park
In another transaction, the Board approved the exchange of 522 acres of Common School Trust land in Kitsap County for 543 acres of equal value owned by Kitsap Parks and Recreation Department.
“This transaction paves the way for a future Newberry Hill Heritage Park that will serve as a critical buffer between urban Silverdale and rural Seabeck, while continuing Kitsap County's commitment to protect the Chico Creek watershed,” Josh W. Brown, Kitsap County Commissioner, Central Kitsap, District 3, said following the exchange.
The two properties are adjacent to each other; each was valued at approximately $2.3 million.
The parcel DNR will manage connects to Green Mountain State Forest, which the department manages for sustainable forestry and habitat. A public meeting and hearing about the exchange was held March 18, 2009, in Port Orchard.
Board approves transfer of land into Dabob Bay Natural Area
The Board approved a transfer of 384 acres of Common School Trust land near Dabob Bay in Jefferson County through the state’s Trust Land Transfer (TLT) Program, which uses legislatively appropriated funds. The transfer does not add new money to the Common School Trust; rather, it reimburses the trust for the $2.8 million value of the land and timber, which effectively puts those funds into future school construction.
The parcels transferred were identified by the state’s Natural Heritage Program as beneficial to protecting the area’s unique natural features, which include shellfish beds in the Bay. Three public meetings were held in Quilcene–May 14, 2008, October 23, 2008, and May 7, 2009–about the expansion of the designated natural area and transfer of the trust lands; the latter two meetings also included open hearings to take public testimony.
The Board also approved:
• Transferring 30 acres of Common School Trust Land in Clark County to the City of Battle Ground through the TLT Program. The Common School Trust construction account will be reimbursed $372,000 for the parcel’s timber value, while the land value, $458,600, will be used to purchase replacement lands for the trust.
• Completing an ‘intergrant exchange’ between state trusts that will allow for two 50-year leases through the state’s TLT program: 50 acres of Common School Trust forestland along Hood Canal leased to Jefferson County for $619,000 and 58 acres on Carr Inlet, leased for $1.51 million to Key Peninsula Parks and Recreation. Both leases will be paid for by legislatively appropriated funds, and the funds will be used for school construction.
• Transferring about 40 acres of the former Camp Bonneville Military Reservation, which DNR previously leased to the U.S. Army, through the TLT Program to Clark County. The County plans to manage the parcel, along with 640 acres previously transferred, for open space, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat.
• Selling 42 acres in Spokane County to the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. The parcel, located a mile west of the City of Medical Lake, will be the site of a new veterans cemetery. The funds, which come from a legislative appropriation, will reimburse the Common School Trust’s land account $171,000 for the sale.
DNR manages trust lands
DNR manages about 3 million acres of state-owned trust lands—forests, agricultural and conservation lands and commercial properties that provide long-term benefits to current and future trust beneficiaries and other residents of the state. DNR is administered by Peter Goldmark, the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889 and the first from Eastern Washington.
Media Contact: Bob Redling, senior communications manager, 360-902-1149, email@example.com
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