Blanchard Natural Resource Conservation Area
Feb 28, 2010
Conservation Northwest welcomes the announcement by Public Lands Commissioner Goldmark that the Department of Natural Resources intends to extend natural resource conservation area protection to the Blanchard Mountain State Forest in western Skagit County.
Blanchard Mountain's beautiful third-growth lends wildlife habitat and social solace, and includes legacy old-growth trees. Photo:y Erin Moore
Conservation Northwest welcomes the announcement by Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark that the Department of Natural Resources intends to establish a natural resource conservation area (NRCA) on the Blanchard Mountain State Forest, in western Skagit County. NRCA designation protects “outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes.
NRCA designation is also consistent with the agreement reached by the Blanchard Strategies Group. This process, which Conservation Northwest participated in, brought diverse interests together in 2006 to find solutions to protect the core recreational and ecological values of Blanchard Forest and combat conversion of forests to sprawl, in ways consistent with the interests of fiduciary trusts and the local community.
National resource conservation area designation of Blanchard Mountain would build on the negotiated agreement reached by the Strategies Group by providing stronger, enduring protections for 1600 acres of roadless forest on the upper slopes of Blanchard.
In order to both protect Blanchard while keeping the trusts whole, the Blanchard Strategies Group agreed to seek $12.5 million in state funding that would be used to purchase additional public timberland to replace the 1600 acres protected from logging. State purchase of additional timber lands (at risk of development) will help maintain a viable timber industry and reduce sprawl.
Conservation Northwest and other members of the Strategies Group worked with local legislators to successfully raise $5.5 million, which have already been used to buy lands. We will continue to seek funds to fulfill the agreement and complete the resource area designation.