FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2010
Goldmark initiates creation of Blanchard Mountain NRCA
New Conservation Area would protect land in Skagit County forever
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today announced his intention of establishing a new Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) at Blanchard Mountain. This new NRCA would build on the “Blanchard Strategy,” a process initiated under the previous Commissioner of Public Lands to determine the fate of Blanchard Mountain. This new use would be consistent with the Strategy, but provide stronger, enduring protections for the area.
“Blanchard Mountain is a treasure for the state of Washington and needs to be protected in perpetuity,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “By creating an NRCA for 1600 acres on Blanchard Mountain and maintaining the balance as a working forest, we can ensure that area is available to the public for its amazing recreation opportunities, rich wildlife habitat and sweeping views for generations to come.”
DNR will begin the formal process to create the Blanchard Mountain NRCA in March. Replacement working lands will be purchased as funds are available. There is currently $5.5 million allotted by the Legislature for purchasing working forests in Skagit County.
“Maintaining the working lands base in northwestern Washington is important to keep small operators and the infrastructure for the forest products industry healthy,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “We will work with our partners in the Legislature in the coming years to fully fund the replacement of state trust lands to ensure that conservation and working landscapes go hand-in-hand.”
DNR’s Natural Resource Conservation Areas
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently the steward of 131,000 acres of conservation areas in Natural Area Preserves and NRCAs throughout the state.
Conservation areas (NRCAs) protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes. Environmental education and low-impact public use are appropriate where they do not impair the resource values of the area protected. The program was established in 1987.
Habitats protected in NRCAs include coastal and high-elevation forests, alpine lakes, wetlands, scenic vistas, nesting birds of prey, rocky headlands, and unique plant communities. Critical habitat is provided for many plant and animal species, including rare species. Conservation areas also protect geologic, cultural, historic, and archeological sites.
DNR’s diverse efforts on the land
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages 2.9 million acres of state-owned trust lands, including forests, range, agricultural land, and commercial properties. Trust lands earn income to support schools, universities and other state institutions; and they help fund local services in many counties. Trust lands provide habitat for native plant and animal species, protect sources of clean water, and offer public recreation and educational opportunities statewide.
DNR is also steward of 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, including many beaches, and navigable rivers and natural lakes. These are managed on behalf of all Washington State citizens to protect fish and wildlife and to facilitate commerce, navigation, and public access.
DNR provides wildfire protection and supports the state Forest Practices Board in protecting public resources on 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned forestlands. DNR geologists regulate surface mine reclamation, while DNR staff provide technical assistance for forestry and mining. DNR provides financial and grant assistance to state and local communities through a number of programs, including the Urban and Community Forestry Program.
Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023 firstname.lastname@example.org
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