State purchases almost 600 acres of forest for preservation
Tacoma News Tribune
Olympia, WA - The state has bought 597 acres of forest near Mount
Si for conservation and preservation.
The state Department of Natural Resources paid $4.25 million for
the property, which will become part of the Mount Si Natural Resources
Conservation Area in east King County. The area includes three large
lakes, and the views take in the Snoqualmie Tree Farm, the cities
of Bellevue and Seattle, and on a clear day the Olympic mountain range.
"It is a spectacular sub-alpine property," said Michelle
Connor, regional conservation director for the Cascade Land Conservancy.
"You're in a basin so you really feel you're in a wild place."
The private, nonprofit conservation group first approached the owner
of the property, Crown Lakes LLC, seven years ago, hoping to arrange
a sale of the pristine property. While taxpayer money paid for the
land, the Cascade Land Conservancy will raise money and supply volunteers
to create and maintain trails.
Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland called the property "an
excellent complement to the Mountains to Sound Greenway" and
a valuable addition to "the dwindling legacy of undeveloped forest
land in King County."
The property has been logged once, 20 years ago and still includes
stands of old-growth trees, Connor said. It connects with the Middle
Fork Snoqualmie Recreation area and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.
"Cascade Land Conservancy convinced us of the genuine public
benefits in having the Crown Lakes' basin protected," said Gordon
Hoenig, a representative of Crown Lakes, LLC. "Based on extensive
negotiations we came to agree that this unique legacy property should
be turned over for public stewardship."