FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2009
State DNR to manage 20,000 acres of forestland in King County for public school and UW trusts
Exchange transaction closed today
OLYMPIA— Today, the state trusts that support the construction of public schools and University of Washington facilities took formal ownership of about 20,680 acres of forestland in eastern King County. The land was obtained from Plum Creek by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In exchange, DNR provided Plum Creek about 6,033 of equally valued forest acres elsewhere in the state that the agency had managed for the same state trusts. Both DNR and Plum Creek received approximately $26.9 million of value in the exchange. An independent appraisal was prepared for each property traded.
“DNR will manage these lands above the North Fork of the Green River as working forest that supports clean water and habitat, and it will remain a vital part of the watershed,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “By closing this exchange, the people served by Tacoma in King and Pierce Counties can be assured that these lands within the watershed supplying their water will remain working lands.”
DNR will manage roughly 20,330 acres of the acquired land to produce revenue for the Common School Trust, which helps fund school construction statewide. DNR will manage the remaining 350 acres to support University of Washington capital projects.
“Plum Creek was pleased to work cooperatively with the Washington State DNR to achieve this important outcome that will protect the City of Tacoma’s watershed while benefiting local schools including the University of Washington,” said Rick Holley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Plum Creek.
“Tacoma Water has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Department of Natural Resources in the Green River Watershed, and looks forward to years of continued cooperative efforts to protect the quality of the water and land,” said John C. Kirner, Superintendent.
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 the watershed supplies drinking water to Tacoma and surrounding areas. As with the previous owners, DNR will harvest timber from the property. The agency follows forest management designed to protect streams and habitat as spelled out in a 1997 agreement with the federal government known as the trust lands Habitat Conservation Plan.
Nearly all of the land that DNR exchanged with Plum Creek has been in parcels isolated from larger blocks of DNR-managed forested trust lands; several of those parcels had become surrounded by housing and other development not consistent with effective habitat management or cost effective natural resource production. Before bringing the exchange to the state’s Board of Natural Resources, which approved it in June, DNR conducted four public meetings and two public hearings.
DNR manages trust lands
DNR manages about 3 million acres of state-owned trust lands—forests, agricultural and commercial properties that provide long-term funding and benefits to current and future trust beneficiaries and the 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 Contacts: DNR, Jane Chavey, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1721, firstname.lastname@example.org
Plum Creek, Kathy Budinick, Director of Communications, 206-467-3620 Kathy.Budinick@plumcreek.com
Tacoma Water, Sonja M. Hall, Community Relations Specialist, (253) 502-8223 email@example.com
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