Land Purchases will Protect Public Access to Blanchard State
September 5, 2018
Natural Resources Board actions will help keep funds flowing to Burlington-Edison School District and other public beneficiaries
The state Board of Natural Resources yesterday gave its go-ahead for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase 76 acres of working forest next to Blanchard State Forest in Skagit County. In addition to protecting a major public access route into the forest, the acquisitions — two parcels of forest land offered by willing private sellers — will help replace the timber revenue that Skagit County once received from a popular, scenic portion of the inner forest popular that is being put into conservation status.
“The winners here are the thousands who enjoy recreation in Blanchard State Forest, the parents, kids and teachers in the Burlington-Edison School District, and those who work in the local timber economy,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz, who leads DNR and chairs the Board of Natural Resources.
DNR’s acquisition of the two parcels for $728,000 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 is seeking replacement working forest elsewhere in the county.
About Blanchard State Forest
Blanchard 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 from logging 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 today’s authorized purchase 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.
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary 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.
Public Information Officer
Department of Natural Resources