Blanchard Core Preserved Forever After Board of Natural Resources Approves Land Transactions
October 1, 2019
Inter-trust exchange, trust land transfer convert final parcels of core area into natural area while realigning forestlands to benefit Skagit County
The conservation plan for the Blanchard Core is now complete.
The Board of Natural Resources approved a pair of transactions involving Department of Natural Resources-managed lands in the center of Blanchard State Forest, moving those parcels into recreation/conservation status while also continuing to support public services in Skagit County. The newly protected Core area will be managed for conservation and recreational use.
“Oyster Dome, Samish Overlook, and the rest of the Blanchard Core are unique and beloved assets for everyone across Washington state,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. “I’m proud to say Washingtonians will be able to enjoy the beauty of these public lands forever.”
The two-part transaction was paid for with $10 million in appropriated funds from the Legislature.
This is the final piece of the Blanchard Forest Strategy, which called for the designation of a 1,600-acre area around Blanchard Mountain, including Oyster Dome, Samish Overlook, and backcountry camping areas at Lily and Lizard lakes.
The first transaction was an inter-trust exchange, in which State Forest lands and Common School Trust lands were swapped for one another. The 662 acres of State Forest lands were traded for 1,985 acres of Common School Trust forestlands across western Skagit County. The value of the exchanged lands, including the trees growing on them, are equivalent and were appraised within $1,000 of one another.
An act of the Legislature will allow Skagit County to provide an opportunity for the original beneficiaries of the Blanchard Core lands to receive the future revenues from these newly repositioned State Forest lands.
In the second transaction, a portion of the Blanchard Core lands, having just been swapped into Common School Trust lands, were then put into a trust land transfer to be perpetually managed for natural area, conservation, and recreation purposes. The transfer pays the Common School Construction Account the value of the timber on the lands, and then pays DNR’s Real Property Replacement Account for the value of the underlying land on the property. The trust will receive $9.184 million from the transfer, which goes toward funding school construction across Washington state. The property replacement account will receive $626,000, which goes toward buying property elsewhere in the state to be managed to benefit this trust.
Photos and video B-roll from Blanchard State Forest can be found at bit.ly/BlanchardTLT.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources