DNR to Purchase 6 Forested Parcels in Wahkiakum County
June 1, 2021
185 acres will be managed to produce revenue for county government; 81 acres will support K-12 school construction across Washington state
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will purchase 266 acres of forestland in Wahkiakum County across six parcels after the Board of Natural Resources approved the transaction during its meeting Tuesday morning.
Of the six parcels, five will be managed to generate revenue for Wahkiakum County; the 4,000-resident county receives an average of $1.8 million in nontax revenue each year from timber sales on DNR-managed lands to fund critical services. The sixth parcel will be managed to generate revenue for the Common School Trust, which supports K-12 school construction across Washington state.
“Forestry is the lifeblood of the communities of Wahkiakum County, and I am proud of the impact that DNR’s work makes there,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “By adding productive forestland in prime timber country and blocking up lands, this improves DNR’s ability to produce reliable revenue for critical county services for both present and future generations.”
“I couldn’t be more happy about the land we are going to be purchasing,” said Wahkiakum County Commissioner Dan Cothren. “These properties are coming from some folks who are strong supporters of forestry. To keep it in the county and the state is huge to me. To be able to capture that heritage and that history is huge – it means a lot.
“This shows the Legislature that we are serious about acquiring lands in these areas. We are trying to build on this by being able to purchase these lands to control our own destiny. This builds into our future, and our goal is to increase our land base. This is just the beginning to get bigger holdings to tie into and keep the county solvent into the future. That’s always been our goal – to control our own destiny, to not have to rely on anyone else.”
Parcels 1 through 3 are a combined 109 acres of approximately 15-year-old stands of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and red alder, directly adjacent to DNR-managed lands north of Skamokawa. Parcels 4 and 5 are a combined 76 acres along state Route 4 between Skamokawa and Grays River that are a mixed 40-year-old stand of western hemlock and Douglas fir. The five parcels, valued at a total of $520,000 are the first lands in Wahkiakum County paid for with State Forestland Replacement funds appropriated by the Legislature.
The sixth parcel, also adjacent to state Route 4 just outside Skamokawa, is 82 acres of mixed-age Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar. The parcel was paid for with $60,000 from the Real Property Replacement Account, which allows DNR to replace sold lands with lands better suited to generate revenue.
For decades, DNR has worked to continue acquiring forestlands across the state to support schools and counties. Since 1980, the department has added more than 100,000 acres of forestland to public ownership through its transactions program.
The Board of Natural Resources meeting was held remotely as part of DNR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A photo and locator maps of the parcels are available at https://deptofnaturalresources.box.com/v/BNR-June2021.