Proposals to reconvey State Forest Transfer trust lands to counties for park use:
What is reconveyance?
A county may ask the state to transfer State Forest Transfer trust lands to its ownership to use as a public park.
State law RCW 79.22.300 describes how a county board of commissioners may request ‘reconveyance’ if the public park use proposed will not conflict with county and state outdoor recreation plans. The county pays for the cost of reconveyance.
If the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determines that the request is consistent with comprehensive outdoor recreation planning, the proposed transaction is presented to the Board of Natural Resources for approval.
Why do we say ‘reconvey’?
The process is called reconveyance because State Forest Transfer trust lands, which DNR manages, were once owned by the counties. These forestlands—originally called Forest Board Transfer trust lands—were forfeited to counties by private landowners who failed to pay property taxes, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s. Most of these lands had been logged, abandoned, and piled with slash; they were fire hazards with little or no market value. Many counties asked for the legislature’s help because the abandoned lands had no buyers and were costly to manage. The legislature, by statute, directed 21 counties to deed the abandoned forestland to the state. DNR and its predecessor agency have managed these trust lands since then.
Revenue from State Forest Transfer trust lands contributes to the county in which they are located—to county services such as schools, libraries, hospitals, port districts, and to the state general fund for education.