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Blanchard Natural Resource Conservation Area

Feb 28, 2010
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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 Natural Resource Conservation Area

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 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 Blanchard Forest Strategy agreement reached by the Blanchard Strategies Group in 2007. This process, which Conservation Northwest participated in, brought diverse interests together starting 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 Forest, and Blanchard Mountain at its core, 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 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. More on Blanchard State Forest.

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