Property rights advocate elected to Conservation District Board

By Leif Nesheim Sequim Gazette Wednesday,

March 23, 2005

In March, Clallam County voters elected Happy Valley resident Bob Forde to the Clallam Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Forde is a longtime property rights advocate who has at times clashed with county leaders about local legislation, including the county Critical Areas Ordinance, which he has argued in court challenges is an unnecessary infringement upon landowners” ability to use their property.

Forde praised the conservation district for its work with local landowners to improve management practices for improving water quality. He said he hopes his involvement with the board will bring a different point of view to the group.

“I don’t know what to think,” Forde said of the election results. “I guess it shows I have more than two supporters out there.”

He added that he hoped the position would lend him some additional credibility when he speaks out on issues like the ongoing watershed planning in eastern county watersheds.

Forde was elected as a write-in candidate. Nobody had filed to be on the ballot for this year’s elections. Forde replaces Matt Heines, who did not run for re-election. Forde received 47 write-in votes, Ben Smith received 30 and Steve Johnson received one vote; the results of the election are not official until certified by the state Conservation Commission, which doesn’t meet again until May, according to Joe Holtrop, conservation district manager.

“It is my belief that every freedom-loving citizen has an obligation to the community in which he or she lives, to be of some service without regard to personal gain,” Forde stated in a press release. “It is my hope to contribute in some small way to that end. That is why I wish to serve on the Clallam Conservation District. I have a deep love of this land and want to help with water, soil, and all our wonderful natural resources in a thoughtful and practical manner.”

The Clallam Conservation District Board of Supervisors is comprised of five members, each serving a three-year term of office without compensation. Registered Clallam County voters elect three of the board positions. The state Conservation Commission appoints the other two positions.

The other conservation district board supervisors are Nash Huber, Joe Murray, Steve Marble and Walt Forsberg. The board of supervisors holds a public meeting on the first Tuesday of each month from 3-5 p.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles.

District supervisors identify local conservation needs, set goals and oversee the implementation of plans to protect soil, water, wildlife and other renewable resources. The Clallam Conservation District employs a six-person staff and administers an annual budget of about $500,000.


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