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Frank
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PostWed Feb 08, 2017 7:25 am 
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State Board of Natural Resources rejects Wallace Falls timber deal


Noah HaglundTue Feb 7th, 2017 5:21pmNews

GOLD BAR — A state board on Tuesday turned down a compromise that would have set aside part of a timber harvest to protect trails and scenery near Wallace Falls State Park, leaving local elected leaders and trail advocates disheartened.

The Board of Natural Resources voted 4-2 to oppose a request from Snohomish County. As a result, the whole 187 acres of second-growth forest known as the Singletary sale could go to auction within the next month or so.

“I’m strongly disappointed in the decision,” said County Councilman Sam Low, who played a lead role drumming up local support for the compromise. “I think we were very collaborative. We brought a lot of different people to the table on this.”

Low spoke to the board before Tuesday’s vote. The proposal would have protected 25 acres for four years.

The forest is managed in trust by the state Department of Natural Resources. Logging it would provide revenue to schools, firefighters, hospitals and other local taxing districts. While local governments depend on the revenue, environmentalists and outdoors enthusiasts worried that logging could exact a toll on the natural habitat and hurt local tourism. Debate about the harvest has been ongoing since 2008.

The amount at stake is significant. The Singletary sale is a minimum bid of $1.8 million. It could go out for bids at the DNR’s February or March timber auction.

State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who oversees the DNR, discussed the potential compromise with Snohomish County officials. She supported the deal on the Board of Natural Resources, where she’s one of six members along with other political representatives and scientific experts.

Representing another seat is state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, whose responsibilities include guarding the financial interests of public schools. Reykdal voted “no.” Through an office spokesman, he relayed two reasons for his vote: a lack of guarantees to make the trust beneficiaries, including the Sultan School District, whole after four years; and the absence of a more detailed plan for preserving trails.

The timber trust land is part of the DNR’s Reiter Forest, which also includes the Reiter Foothills recreation area.

Wallace Falls attracts up to 160,000 visitors each year, said Virginia Painter, a state parks spokeswoman. Most visitors trek up to see the park’s eponymous falls.

Logging the Singletary tract would require building roads and bridges. That infrastructure would provide access for future logging of another 1,500 acres of trust land. Those harvests would border the state park, which measures about 4,700 acres.

State parks officials have been working with DNR to lessen the impact of any timber harvests in the area, Painter said.

Mike Town is a past volunteer with an advisory group that helped the DNR plan out the area. Town and others who supported the compromise believed it would have gone a long way toward keeping the park appealing and accessible. He said the county proposal did provide assurances to the state that the land could be logged after four years, barring some other solution. He also contends that a 2011 recreation plan showed how trails through the state trust land would connect to Wallace Falls.

“We are disappointed that the board voted against a compromise resolution which was passed unanimously by a bipartisan county council,” Town said.

The County Council voted 5-0 on Feb. 1 in support. County Executive Dave Somers, who used to represent Low’s council seat, also approved.

“For 10 years, efforts have been made to find a compromise that balances good stewardship of our natural resources with appropriate land management,” Somers said in a statement. “It took Snohomish County Councilmember Sam Low, the City of Sultan, the environmental community and many concerned citizens years of work to craft a reasonable compromise. The Board of Natural Resources ignored both the needs of a local community and a sensible solution.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter:@NWhaglund.
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Chico
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PostWed Feb 08, 2017 3:25 pm 
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In the state constitution that they provide moneys off state trust lands to fund schools. The solution is to provide DNR with other lands (a land swap) that they can log.

Recreation is NOT DNR's #1 priority. That is down on the list.

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treeswarper
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PostWed Feb 08, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Maybe there will be views afterwards.

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NacMacFeegle
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PostWed Feb 08, 2017 10:32 pm 
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rant.gif This stinks - we need to get rid of the part of the state constitution that requires the logging of state lands to pay for government services. Forest land is wasted when it is used purely by extractive industries - it has far more value in its natural state for recreation, carbon storage, habitat for wildlife, etc. At the very least they should put an end to clear cutting and manage state lands on much longer harvest cycles. We would do better to keep state land natural and pay for schools, local governments, etc. with taxes. Shame on the officials who voted against this deal.  down.gif  down.gif  down.gif

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trestle
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 7:01 am 
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I assume then you're willing to pay a significant increase in property tax.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 7:10 am 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
rant.gif This stinks - we need to get rid of the part of the state constitution that requires the logging of state lands to pay for government services. Forest land is wasted when it is used purely by extractive industries - it has far more value in its natural state for recreation, carbon storage, habitat for wildlife, etc. At the very least they should put an end to clear cutting and manage state lands on much longer harvest cycles. We would do better to keep state land natural and pay for schools, local governments, etc. with taxes. Shame on the officials who voted against this deal.  down.gif  down.gif  down.gif

Do you even pay property taxes? 

This is Western Warshington.  We have a heck of enough wilderness for you to go hopping in the flowers.  We grow forests scientifically, we harvest forests--using science.  The cut area is planted back and cared for.   That pays some of the bills, provides income to communities, and provides income to a few people, whom you seem to despise. 

Right now, B&M logging is hiring if you want a job and then you can blog about being a logger.
Kind of a Plimpton thing.

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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 7:33 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Maybe there will be views afterwards.

Yes, now there will be views down to the power lines from the falls.

I think if I cut down some trees, I might have a clear view of the clear cut.

Pretty crappy, but I wonder about the 'health', and true natural state of some of our local forests. The trees in my yard are second growth, originally planted to be harvested. They are farm trees that don't seem to be as durable as a natural Douglas fir. The lack limbs, grow straight and fast. They also seem less sappy. Ants have been killing a half dozen or so adult trees per acre a year in our community.

We have been told these trees have a life span of about 70 years, almost there, and be prepared to keep losing more. Not sure how much of the surrounding area got planted with these junk trees. And how likely there garbage genetics will get passed around.
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treeswarper
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 9:15 am 
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Ale, the desired diameter of trees for harvesting is less than 27 inches--(diameter breast height--4.5 feet).  Around 18 inches is prime.   The amount of limbs on a tree depends on the location.  A tree that grows out in the open will be limby almost to the ground.  A tree growing in the midst of other trees has to compete for sunlight and will have limbs towards the top with the limbs on the bottom getting shaded out and "dying" which is self pruning.  Trees growing along edges of stands will have lots of limbs on the open side.  That's how it works in nature.

We can keep the trees growing fast by thinning them out and reducing the competition for light and moisture.  A friend of mine used to be against commercial thinning because it made the trees a bit limbier and reduced the grade because the trees did not do as much natural pruning.

Yard trees are under a lot of stress--soil can get compacted, they can get too much water if you water your grass, pollution, and damage from kids and lawnmowers. Your yard may not be at the elevation that your trees were grown for, or the right aspect.  There are a lot of variables when it comes to growing trees.

If you want a limby tree, get Christmas tree seedlings.  They are a whole different animal, even though they are the same species, than seedlings grown for timber plantations.

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drm
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 9:38 am 
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As to the property tax issue, just how much revenue does recreational spending bring in? This is not a rhetorical question. As in the other post regarding Utah / Bear Ears / Outdoor Recreation conference, the recreation industry has generally not pulled it's weight comparable to it's economic contribution. On the one hand, some of us probably only spend money on gas when we go hiking. I know the famous retort about hikers bringing a pair of shorts and a $20 bill and not changing either. But some people do spend a lot of money on restaurants (brewpubs!) and hotels and not just on their gear. But I don't know if a local state park plays into that much.
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 9:45 am 
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Not too many brewpubs in Utah one in Moab, Park City, SLC, and they can only serve 3.2 beer. huh.gif

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boot up
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 2:15 pm 
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I am finding it interesting moving from an area that mines it forests for revenue, to an area that mines its forests for recreation.     
Seattle area is primarily a software and tech culture for its economy.   Recreation has become an afterthought in western WA, and it shows in the grooming of trails and rec opportunities.  So its an easy sell to clear cut recreational areas and sell the trees instead of grooming for recreation.

Central Oregon would be a dead zone if not for recreation dollars, and most of the locals are smart enough to figure that out.   Biggest industry that isn't recreation oriented is the Hospital and medical center in the area, and one can argue all the extreme recreation adds some pretty good bucks to that to.   Biggest problem is keeping up with the demand.   

What employs more people, a logging operation or a multitude of restaurants, breweries and other related services?  (Don't bother to count the mills, because the average logging operation is plenty willing to eliminate their neighbor's job at the mill by sending the logs offshore for milling). 

If Bend OR had to depend on non-recreation dollars, such as with their "booming" tech, they would be in deep trouble.  Mighty hard to support full infrastructure with a handful of startups that mostly employ 2 or 3 people.   (average tech business size in the area is 9 people). They are actually trying to encourage logging to thin the juniper forests, which are doing a bit too well, but the trees don't seem to have commercial value.

Results are actual thinning operations(not the "hey we left a tree, lets call that thinning), controlled burns and brush clearing, and some really nicely maintained trailheads. 

Downside is overcrowded restaurants and breweries, but the Locals know to go midweek, same as with hiking/mtn biking/snow sports.  (Road biking on the weekend still a good option).    And even weekdays popular trails and food spots can get surprisingly busy, as the area becomes a destination spot where people can find enough variety to stay through the week and come in from more than just Portland.  (although the Portlandia weekend exodus can be impressive on Summer and Winter weekends)

Biggest economy issue is housing prices are getting tough to afford on the Service Industry incomes, but you could say that of a lot of places, including Seattle.  Houses prices are really being driven by CA refugees with a pocketful of house equity from selling a cottage in CA for a couple million.   

Its pretty interesting living in a place that is giving more than lip service to making a recreational use of their forests actually work.   Definitely some tradeoffs of course, like anywhere.   

I do notice logging industry folks seem to have a greater than average resistance to training or transferring to another career path.    I certainly had to reinvent myself a bunch of times during my working days, so my sympathy is only moderate at best.

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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 3:51 pm 
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drm wrote:
just how much revenue does recreational spending bring in?

Quote:
$21.6 billion is spent every year on outdoor recreation trips and equipment on both public and private land in Washington.

Nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by outdoor recreation, comparable to the aerospace and tech industries in Washington.

$10.4 billion is spent on sightseeing and nature activities including $7 billion on wildlife watching and photography.

$8 billion is spent on activities around water, including fishing, boating, swimming and diving.

Out-of-state visitors play an important role—accounting for 12 percent of recreation days, but 27 percent of dollars spent on outdoor recreation. Every dollar spent by an out-of-state traveler in Washington generates $1.36 in economic impacts, resulting in a total of $4.6 billion in new money circulating in the state's economy.

The recreation market is one of the largest markets in the state for moving income from urban to rural areas and building jobs in more rural areas.

This quote is from a wilderness society article about the Economic analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State, a study carried out by Earth Economics for the Washington State Conservation and Recreation office.

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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Instead of rendering our state lands useless to everyone other than the logging industry, we should adopt taxes on pollution and wealthy individuals and corporations and pay for schools, local governments, etc. that way. This would put the burden on those causing us harm with their emissions, as well as those who can best afford it. It would let Washington grow its tourism economy while improving the ability of our forests to filter our air and water.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Feb 09, 2017 4:44 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
Instead of rendering our state lands useless to everyone other than the logging industry, we should adopt taxes on pollution and wealthy individuals and corporations and pay for schools, local governments, etc. that way. This would put the burden on those causing us harm with their emissions, as well as those who can best afford it. It would let Washington grow its tourism economy while improving the ability of our forests to filter our air and water.

Yer getting a bit dramatic there. 

It isn't a black and white choice.  Both can exist at the same time and have been doing so.  I'll repeat an old fact, a lot of roads that you are using to access your recreation places were put in or at least improved by a timber operation. 

Boot Up--As to Central Oregon, they still have timber harvests there.  Otherwise, they'd burn up even worse than they already do.  Learn to see the stumps and you'll figure it out.  We don't "mine" the forests.  They are replanted and nurtured.  Calling it that is an insult and shows ignorance.

Logging folks aren't any more stubborn about changing careers than anybody else.  Some do, some find ways to keep going.   Just what do you want? It's an industry that is viable and actually needed, unless you want to just let the forest burn up, because that's what forests do.
I'm sure all the new housing being slapped up in the Bend area uses no lumber. rolleyes.gif

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CC
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PostSat Feb 11, 2017 10:34 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
It isn't a black and white choice.  Both can exist at the same time and have been doing so.  I'll repeat an old fact, a lot of roads that you are using to access your recreation places were put in or at least improved by a timber operation. 

Boot Up--As to Central Oregon, they still have timber harvests there.  Otherwise, they'd burn up even worse than they already do.  Learn to see the stumps and you'll figure it out.  We don't "mine" the forests.  They are replanted and nurtured.  Calling it that is an insult and shows ignorance.

Logging folks aren't any more stubborn about changing careers than anybody else.  Some do, some find ways to keep going.  Just what do you want? It's an industry that is viable and actually needed, unless you want to just let the forest burn up, because that's what forests do.
I'm sure all the new housing being slapped up in the Bend area uses no lumber. rolleyes.gif

Coming up:  treeswarper explains how the burning of slash piles actually helps cleanse the atmosphere.

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