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State forest lands

An overview of our work protecting forests and wildlife habitat on Washington State's trust lands.

Making a difference

Forests in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Photo by Paul AndersonMore than half of the state lands in Washington are trust lands, and over half of those are forested and managed primarily to generate logging revenues. State trust lands include much of the Lake Whatcom watershed, drinking source for the city of Bellingham, and Blanchard Mountain, the only place where the Cascades meet the sea.

Today, state trust lands are managed as they have been for decades, with an unfortunate emphasis placed on timber and grazing revenues. Conservation Northwest is working to change this basic management tenet to make sure that forest lands held in trust by Washington State are managed to protect other critical public benefits such as maintaining streams for spawning salmon, drinking water reservoirs, and places to recreate. We believe that the Department of Natural Resources should manage these lands to safeguard all of these public benefits.

We work to conserve mature old-growth forests and protect watersheds for all the people, and for values such as clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities. The Loomis Forest, where we protected forests in northeast Washington for lynx and other wildlife, is one example of a major success Conservation Northwest has had on protecting state lands forests. We also track forest conservation issues in the Washington State legislature. Some of our top concerns are:

  • The Lake Whatcom watershed, which provides drinking water for more than 90,000 people in Whatcom County
  • Blanchard Mountain, the only place where the Cascades, through the small arm of the Chuckanut Mountains, meet salt water - this is important for wildlife connectivity.
  • Protecting old growth and legacy trees on state public lands that home diverse wildlife, including the northern spotted owl
  • Considering working forests to help stem the rising tide of sprawl and development on private lands
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