January 22, 2009
Contact: Aaron Toso, Communications Director, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lands Commissioner Goldmark Views Recent Landslides
New commissioner tours Whatcom County to view landslides caused by early January storms
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today toured several sites in Whatcom County hit by landslides following large storms in late December and early January. He also met with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff in the department’s Northwest Region office in Sedro-Woolley.
Goldmark, who was recently sworn in as the state’s elected Lands Commissioner, was accompanied by two DNR geologists as he viewed landslides on state trust lands near the town of Van Zandt, and in western Whatcom County near the Mount Baker Highway.
“Considering the number of landslides across the region and the devastation that some of them caused, we can be very thankful there were no deaths or serious injuries,” said Goldmark, who as Lands Commissioner leads DNR. “My heart goes out to the many families and individuals affected by these landslides.”
Shortly after the December storms, DNR responded by mapping and documenting more than 1,500 landslides that occurred on private, state and other public, non-federal lands across Washington. As the home of the Washington Geologic Survey, DNR is the primary source of geological hazard information and services for the state. In addition to documenting landslides, DNR provides technical information about the threats of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and other hazards that public agencies across Washington use for safety planning.
Goldmark also met with DNR staff in Sedro-Woolley at the department’s regional office that manages the state’s trust and aquatic lands in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties, and implements regulatory and community assistance programs in those counties.
Commissioner of Public Lands
As the elected Commissioner of Public Lands, Goldmark oversees the state’s largest fire department, protecting 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned land from wildfires. As Commissioner he also chairs the state Forest Practices Board, which sets rules concerning logging, road building, and other forest operations. Goldmark is the state’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood.
DNR manages millions of acres of state trust lands to raise money for the construction of public schools, colleges and universities, prisons, and other institutions and to help pay for services, such as hospitals and libraries, in several counties.