Jefferson County gets $1.6 million in timber revenue
This was the message delivered by Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials in a quarterly report to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 14.
DNR State Lands Assistant Region Manager Al Vaughn reported that Jefferson County should anticipate $1.6 million in timber revenue in 2004, nearly double the income from 2003.
Vaughn's numbers were the latest available state harvest revenue figures provided by Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland.
DNR officials say Jefferson County should expect a steady increase in revenue over the next several years.
In 2003, Jefferson County received about $890,000 in timber revenue, the lowest amount since 2001, when the county received $518,203.
DNR Olympic Region Manager Charlie Cortelyou attributes the increase in revenue to the DNR's work in getting the county to a reasonable average of income and harvest.
"Over a decade we want to see those numbers even out," Cortelyou said.
DNR officials say they hope to increase the state's current harvest of 80 million board feet a year, which generates between $20 to $25 million, to about 120 million board feet, generating between $50 to $60 million. The new figure depends on how strong the market is, Cortelyou noted.
Vaughn said the average volume that DNR is striving to reach for Jefferson County is 5 million board feet of harvest, which is expected to bring about $1.5 million to the county annually.
Cortelyou said increases in harvest are being made under new sustainable harvest calculations.
"A number of restraints were placed on harvest by the previous federal administration, but they're removed now so we can go across the landscapes and put up more timber sales," Cortelyou said. "We're keeping forests healthy and viable."
Cortelyou said that along with a tight budget, another major challenge is something DNR officials call urban interface.
"Tension with landowners who are not anticipating living next to a managed forest is one of our greatest challenges," Cortelyou said. "Sometimes things are incorrectly advertised by real estate calling the adjacent land state park land when it's a working forest."
Cortelyou said there are benefits to living near a working forest. "Landowners can be assured the land is not becoming another neighborhood or a parking lot for a Wal-Mart – these lands will continue to grow in perpetuity.
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