Cascades conservation group buys 4,000 acres

Associated Press/Spokesman Review

SEATTLE, WA - 5/24/02 _ A coalition of conservation groups has purchased nearly 4,000 acres of forest land in Washington's central Cascade range from Plum Creek Timber Co.

The Cascades Conservation Partnership used $4 million in federal funding approved last fall to buy the land -- six parcels south of Alpine Lakes Wilderness and just east of Snoqualmie Pass.

"The lands protected today contain critical wildlife habitat as well as some of the most popular hiking trails in the entire Cascade Range," Kollin Min, the group's campaign director, said Thursday.

The land contains 900 acres of old-growth forest, 1,100 acres of roadless forest, nearly 2 miles of trails, as well as habitat for elk, deer, cougars and threatened species such as the marten, a member of the weasel family; and the goshawk, a raptor.

"These parcels are important components of the threatened wildlife corridor that bridges the gap between Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the area around Mount Rainier National Park," said Charlie Raines, who oversees lands and public funding for the Seattle-based partnership.

The six parcels commonly known as No Name Ridge, Cooper Pass, Knox Creek, French Cabin Creek, Baker Lake and Hicks Butte will become part of the Wenatchee National Forest.

The group credited Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash., with leading efforts to secure funding for the land acquisitions.

The partnership has come up with more than $45 million since it was formed two years ago -- about $33million in federal funding and the rest from private donors. The money has helped set aside more than 18,000 acres of forest land throughout the Pacific Northwest.


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