Blanchard State Forest Purchase Secures Scenic Vistas, School Funding
November 6, 2018
Board of Natural Resources approves land acquisition designed to preserve popular forest while continuing to support public services
The state Board of Natural Resources approved a proposal by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) during its monthly meeting today to purchase nearly 200 acres of working forest next to Blanchard State Forest in Skagit County. In addition to enhancing road access within the forest, the acquisitions — two parcels of forest land offered by the Goodyear Nelson Lumber Co. — will help replace the timber revenue that Skagit County once received from a popular, scenic portion of the inner forest that is being put into conservation status.
“Completing this purchase ensures continued financial support for Skagit County students and local forestry jobs, all while protecting the core of Blanchard State Forest for present and future generations to enjoy,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz, who leads DNR and chairs the Board of Natural Resources.
DNR’s acquisition of the two parcels, totaling 193.25 acres, for $1.22 million is part of the Blanchard Forest Strategy. The strategy calls for placing a 1,600-acre core zone that includes Samish Overlook, Oyster Dome and backcountry camping areas at Lily and Lizard lakes into conservation status. Because that core zone was used to provide revenue to several Skagit County junior taxing districts, DNR has acquired replacement working forest elsewhere in the county.
Funds for the transactions were included in the Legislature’s 2018 capital budget. One more land transaction is expected before the Blanchard Forest Strategy will be completed.
About Blanchard State Forest
Blanchard State Forest is a 4,800-acre forest in Skagit County managed by DNR. It is located on the southern end of the Chuckanut Range, north of the city of Burlington. The forest is state trust land that DNR manages to generate revenue to support Skagit County public services.
The Blanchard Forest Strategy seeks to permanently conserve a 1,600-acre section of the forest known for its sweeping views from the Samish Overlook, Oyster Dome and backcountry camping areas at Lily and Lizard lakes.
Funds for these purchases are part of a recent $2 million legislative appropriation for DNR to continue the Blanchard Forest Strategy. The beneficiaries include Skagit County, Medic One, the Port of Skagit and United General Hospital, as well as the Burlington-Edison School District. The purchase of the other two private parcels in the appropriation, totaling 76 acres, was approved by the Board of Natural Resources in September.
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. Of these, more than half are held in trust to produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons, and other state institutions. State trust lands managed by DNR provide other public benefits, including outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and watersheds for clean water.
For your story
Video of Commissioner Franz speaking in September about the importance of preserving Blanchard State Forest can be found here:
Photos and videos taken in Blanchard State Forest earlier this year by Ashli Blow of DNR can be found here:
Department of Natural Resources
Department of Natural Resources