Board of Natural Resources Approves Middle May Timber Sale
September 1, 2020
The harvest supports services in Snohomish County, provides recreation opportunities, and protects critical habitat
The Washington State Board of Natural Resources unanimously approved the Middle May timber sale in the Reiter Foothills State Forest in Snohomish County during its meeting Tuesday morning.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff spent years working with community members to plan harvest activities in this area. The sale design includes a protected forested corridor between a Snohomish County-owned trailhead and Wallace Falls State Park that will serve as long-term habitat for the northern spotted owl.
The sale is estimated to generate approximately $1.9 million for Snohomish County, state schools, and county roads, as well as taxing districts such as a local school district, fire district, hospital, and library.
“The Middle May timber sale is the result of a comprehensive community engagement process and reflects the input of tribes, recreationists, conservationists, trust beneficiaries, and community leaders,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “By moving forward in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner, we are able to provide financial support to public schools, create new recreation opportunities and family-wage jobs, and preserve the treaty rights of tribes that have used these lands since time immemorial.”
“The Tulalip Tribes, successors in interest to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish tribes, signatories to the Treaty of Point Elliott, co-manage lands alongside the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These include working forests and ‘Open and Unclaimed’ lands that are critical to the continuation of tribal culture and lifeways,” said Teri Gobin, Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors. “The Middle May timber sale is an example of DNR working closely with Tulalip and other Treaty Tribes, ensuring that the Reiter Foothills’ lands are managed so as to protect important species and landscapes. The Middle May timber sale will allow for vital stream restoration efforts to be implemented. As co-managers, we can testify it will improve habitat while maintaining working forests. Tulalip strongly believes in DNR's management of these lands for the greater good of this and future generations.”
Said Commissioner Franz: “Tribal support for this sale was a key factor in moving forward. We cannot lift up tribal voices when it suits our purposes, and then ignore them when it is inconvenient.”
“The revenue generated from these trust lands is critical to our operations,” said Dan Chaplik, superintendent of the Sultan School District. “Over the next four-year budget cycle, we have budgeted $550,000 per year for critical repairs, student learning materials, and other facilities needs that are not covered by state funding, based on recent revenues received from these lands.
“Over the past two decades, the Sultan School District has received nearly $7.8 million from these lands, which has helped us complete many important projects in our school district and softened the burden for our taxpayers in our property-poor area.”
Road access from the harvest will allow DNR to more easily construct trails in the part of the Reiter Foothills Forest designated for non-motorized recreation, completing the work a decade sooner than would otherwise be possible and saving millions of dollars. The harvest fits within the Reiter Foothills Recreation Plan, which was designed with conservationists and community members to include outdoor access and environmental stewardship across the 10,000-plus-acre area.
The harvest units of the Middle May sale range from 6 to 70 acres, comprising approximately 160 acres total. The units are planned for variable retention harvest, which retains at least eight trees per acre, in addition to standing dead snags for habitat, large woody debris, and stream and wetland buffers. The sale site will be replanted with a combination of Douglas-fir and Western redcedar.
All of the more than 2 million acres of forested trust lands managed by DNR are independently certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and grown to a set of standards that demonstrate environmentally responsible management practices.
There are 3.6 miles of non-motorized trails in the immediate area, and approximately 0.8 miles of trail will be relocated as a result of this harvest. The other trails will remain; however, they will be closed during harvest activities to protect public safety.
The Middle May sale is expected to be auctioned November 30.
The Board of Natural Resources meeting was conducted remotely as part of DNR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources