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Save Blanchard State Forest from clearcutting

Jan 27, 2016

WILD NW Action Alert #254: Urge state leaders to fully fund Blanchard Forest Strategy to save an important recreation and conservation area.

Save Blanchard State Forest from clearcutting

Hikers enjoy the trail to Oyster Dome on Blanchard State Forest. Photos: Anna Hogenson.

WILD NW Action Alert #254: Urge state leaders to fully fund Blanchard Forest Strategy to save an important recreation and conservation area.

Located south of Bellingham off Chuckanut Drive, Blanchard State Forest is a hugely popular recreation area visited by tens of thousands of people from across the Puget Sound region each year. Managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and encompassing Blanchard Mountain and popular Oyster Dome, the Forest features prized hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails.

In addition to Blanchard’s many trail users, visitors enjoy wildlife watching and families find a natural respite near the bustling I-5 corridor and rapidly growing Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King counties. At the southeast flank of the Chuckanut Mountains, Blanchard Forest also provides important habitat connectivity as the only place in Washington where the Cascade Mountains meet the Salish Sea.

But without additional funding from the state, Blanchard State Forest might soon be clearcut. 

State plans to log the entire Blanchard State Forest were met with great concern in the 2000’s. A diverse group of stakeholders, including Conservation Northwest, was convened to decide the future of the Forest. In 2007, with support from the DNR and Commissioner of Public Lands, the group announced the Blanchard Forest Strategy agreement. 

The collaborative agreement identified a 1,600-acre core zone that would be conserved for recreation and environmental qualities and would no longer be logged for state trust lands beneficiaries. However, to implement this part of the Strategy DNR needed funding to purchase replacement lands for the core zone.

To date, the Washington State Legislature has shown their support for Blanchard State Forest by providing $6.5 million of the appropriations necessary to fund the replacement land purchases. But $7.7 million in funding is still needed. And now the deadline for funding the agreement is about to expire. We need your help to permanently protect the core of Blanchard from logging!  

The view from Oyster Dome
The view from Oyster Dome
Despite Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requesting this amount to save Blanchard Forest, Governor Jay Inslee and state legislators have not yet written this funding into the state budget. Without full funding, the DNR won’t be able to purchase replacement lands and will be forced to log the Blanchard Forest’s cherished core area.  

Conservation Northwest has worked to save the Blanchard State Forest for over ten years. Close to our roots in Bellingham, Blanchard encompasses everything that we stand for as an organization: wildlands conservation, habitat connectivity, outdoor recreation and collaboratively finding solutions for preserving our natural heritage for future generations.

Please help us save this special place from clearcutting by taking action today! Learn more in this factsheet from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Do you live in the 40th Legislative District where Blanchard State Forest is located? We have a personalized comment form for you that's directed at your district delegation!

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