Changes for this Working Forest in an Urban Setting
For more than half a century forested state trust lands in Blanchard Forest have been sustainably managed to provide funds for local schools and county services, and for diverse wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.
In order to carry out long-term planning for the forest DNR involved the broad community in the discussion. At DNR’s request, a group of ten volunteers representing a range of interests in Blanchard—the Blanchard Forest Strategies Group—crafted Management Strategies for Blanchard Forest State Trust Lands that were subsequently adopted by DNR in 2007.
In 2009, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark directed that a portion of the forest be moved into conservation status, and replacement forest lands be acquired for the trusts—to keep their long-term assets whole.
Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee
The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formed the Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee as a first step in implementing the Management Strategies. The Advisory Committee assists DNR by making recommendations on DNR-proposed management activities in Blanchard Forest. It serves as a community-based entity that advises DNR by evaluating agency proposals against the Management Strategies as a basis for committee recommendations. DNR strives, to the extent possible, to adopt advisory committee recommendations but retains the final decision-making authority.
The Advisory Committee consists of eleven members appointed by the Commissioner of Public Lands. Committee members represent organized non-motorized recreation, a trust beneficiary, a forest land manager, a forest industry representative, a land trust, a conservation/forest ecologist, a community member, a state agency, a local business and an education representative.
Advisory Committee Members
Roy Bever, Bloedel Timberlands
Scott Chalfant, Larrabee State Park
Seth Cool, Conservation Northwest
Molly Doran, Skagit Land Trust
Mark Herrenkohl, Lake Samish Resident
Jon Knechtel, Pacific Northwest Trails Association
Michael McGlenn, Backcountry Horsemen, Whatcom County Chapter
Harold Mead, Friends of Blanchard
Tom Nelson, Sierra Pacific Industries
Bob Rose, Conservation Consultant
Kendra Smith, Skagit County
Additional Public Participation and Public Comments
Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to contact advisory committee members who represent their interest on Blanchard Forest for updates on committee meetings as well as to make comments on upcoming proposals. DNR proposals can be found in advisory committee meeting packets for upcoming meetings. At the discretion of the advisory committee members, opportunities for public comment can be provided.
Members of the public also can submit written comments to the committee on whether they think that specific proposals are consistent with the Strategies. Written correspondence may be submitted to: Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee, c/o Kristen Ohlson-Kiehn, Department of Natural Resources, 919 N. Township Street, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Management Strategies for Blanchard Forest State Trust Lands
Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland approved the set of management strategies proposed by Washington’s DNR for the 4,800-acre Blanchard Forest state trust lands in Skagit County, strategies – with a few minor changes – developed by the 10-member Blanchard Forest Strategies Group. The Strategies Group represented recreation interests, conservation groups, county (as a trust beneficiary), land use interests, timber industry, and a representative of DNR.
Blanchard Strategies Approved by Lands Commissioner
The strategies are intended to help DNR meet multiple objectives and benefits from these state-owned trust lands.
The Blanchard Forest Strategies Group
Public Meeting February 12, 2007
Other Documents During Development of Strategies
(Under State Environmental Policy Act process—SEPA)
Blanchard Forest History
From a fire-blackened cutover landscape to healthy sustainable forest
With its location so convenient to the Puget Sound and logging mills, the area now known as Blanchard Forest was extensively logged from the mid-1800s to 1920s. A major 1925 fire swept through, torching most of the remaining old forest. Landowners abandoned the land and defaulted on the local taxes.
Without staff to fight wildfires and manage the scorched and cutover hills, Skagit County as — other Westside counties — deeded Blanchard and other default lands to the state to manage as trust lands to generate revenue for the county and its junior taxing districts. DNR and its predecessor agency invested time, funds and effort to replant and protect the new forest that today provides so many benefits.
State trust lands in Blanchard Forest, northwestern Skagit County, are known to some as Blanchard Mountain or Blanchard Hill (vicinity map). In addition to earning revenue and offering recreation and other opportunities, DNR ensures that public resources are protected — habitat for fish and wildlife, water quality, slope stability and more. Revenue is for specific beneficiaries: local junior taxing districts (including Burlington-Edison Schools, United General Hospital, and Port of Skagit County), Skagit County (for county roads and county general fund) and the State General Fund (earmarked for education).
As trustee and manager of Blanchard Forest, DNR has established a clear strategy to protect long-term income production, habitat, and public use opportunities.
June 30, 2004 Public Meeting