Funding for Blanchard Mountain passed in Capital Budget

Funding for Blanchard Mountain passed in Capital Budget

ConservationNWAdmin / Jan 19, 2018 / Blanchard Mountain, Protecting Wildlands, State Trust Lands

Great news! The state legislature finally passed a Capital Budget last night, including full funding to save the core of Blanchard State Forest from logging. The iconic trails, forests and habitat around Oyster Dome, Lilly Lake and Samish Overlook will now be preserved for future generations!

A hang glider soars over the forests slopes of Blanchard Mountain, where the Chuckanut Range meets the Salish Sea. Photo: Paul Anderson

While a few minor details still need to be worked out regarding this Trust Land Transfer exchange, plans are in place to do so through the Supplemental Capital Budget and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

THANK YOU to all the legislators, organizations, recreationists and community members who helped make this success possible!

The new conservation area has also been officially renamed the Harriet Spanel Forest in recognition of one of its greatest champions, a longtime state senator who passed away in 2016.

Located south of Bellingham off Chuckanut Drive and home to Oyster Dome, Blanchard Mountain, Lily Lake and other beloved local outdoor destinations, Blanchard State Forest is a hugely popular recreation area visited by as many as 100,000 people from across the Puget Sound region each year. These state lands are managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Since the mid-2000s, we’ve been a leader in efforts to conserve this special place.

In 2007, we helped craft the Blanchard Forest Strategy agreement, identifying a 1,600-acre core zone that would be protected for recreation and environmental qualities and would no longer be logged for state trust lands beneficiaries. However, to implement the Strategy DNR needed funding to purchase replacement timberlands to offset those in the core zone.

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

From 2015 through 2018, we worked with elected leaders and partners including Skagit Land Trust and local recreation groups to ensure the remaining funding is provided and the fiscal needs of the Blanchard Forest Strategy agreement are fulfilled.

Learn more about our history working to conserve this special area at: www.conservationnw.org/our-work/wildlands/blanchard-mountain