Archive for the ‘State Trust Land’ Category

No, we don’t have any Christmas trees for you to cut (but we know where to find them)

December 20, 2013
Webster Nursery

Sorry, no Christmas trees here. Most of the 8 million to 10 million seedlings raised each year at DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery (shown here) are used to replant state trust lands after timber harvests. A limited number are sold in bundles of 100 to private forest landowners. Photo: DNR.

We know that for many of you, going out into the woods to cut your own Christmas tree is a grand tradition. While there are many lovely trees in state trust forests, DNR does not allow them to be cut down for Christmas trees. We don’t mean to be Scrooges, but the trust forests in DNR’s care are intended for sustainably managed habitat, clean water, and revenue to the beneficiaries of state trusts, such as public schools, state universities, and public services, such as libraries and emergency medical services, in many counties.

When we hold timber auctions, we seek the highest return to fund these many trust beneficiaries, which means waiting until the trees reach maturity.

Fortunately, there are many places on federal lands where you can legally cut your own Christmas tree for a small fee. Contact your local US Forest Service Office, or support your local private tree farm:

National Forests

Private tree farms

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Employees at Webster nursery work long hours tending to seedlings during this hard freeze

December 9, 2013
Watering DNR's Webster Forest seedlings

DNR’s Webster Forest seedlings are sprayed with water round-the-clock during deep freezes to create a light coatings of protective ice. Photo: DNR.

We wouldn’t advise homeowners to water their gardens during deep freezes, like the recent one hitting much of the Northwest (and the nation), but when you have millions of tree seedlings under your care, creating a few light layers of protective ice is just the practical — and effective — way to save this investment. Since early October, employees at DNR’s 44-acre Webster Forest Nursery have working around the clock during cold periods pumping thousands of gallons of water to protect the young trees (see photo). Many times during the past two months, DNR crews have worked in shifts around the clock tending to sprinkler systems and water lines to keep them from freezing, too. While this produces some eye-catching scenes, it also is a tremendous human effort.

Here’s how it works: By gently showering the tender seedlings with a mist of water and continuously reapplying, several layers of light ice are built up to protect seedlings from the hard freeze, which is unusual in the moderate western Washington climate of Tumwater.

Why so many seedlings? During winter and spring, DNR sends crews out to replant state trust lands where timber has been harvested to earn revenue for public schools and other trust beneficiaries. There are 2.1 million acres of state trust forests statewide, managed sustainably. It takes millions of seedlings to do this big job each year, with several species custom grown for the numerous growing zones across the state. The seedlings are also made available to small forest landowners to help them meet replanting requirements in the state’s Forest Practices Act.

Just part of the job at DNR.

A boost for public access to the Olympic Peninsula’s Discovery Trail

November 25, 2013
forested area near Crescent Lake on the Olympic Peninsula

A forested area near Crescent Lake on the Olympic Peninsula where sections of the Discovery Trail were recently acquired by DNR in a large land exchange with a private timber company. Photo: DNR.

A recently completed 14,000-acre land exchange — the Foothills Exchange — between DNR and a private timber company brings a few more sections of the popular Olympic Discovery Trail route under public ownership. The sections of the trail transferred to DNR ownership are northeast of Crescent Lake, and also known as the ‘Adventure Route’ portion of the trail. Once completed, the Olympic Discovery Trail will provide 130 miles of non-motorized trail between the Quileute tribe’s reservation in LaPush on the Washington coast and downtown Port Townsend.

Land Exchange Details

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A few scary facts for Halloween 2013

October 31, 2013
common garter snake

In Washington State, the common garter snake (which is nonpoisonous) is found from coastal and mountain forests to sagebrush deserts, usually close to water or wet meadows—or your garden. Photo: Jon McGinnis/WDFW.

If the parade of costumed tricker-treaters coming to your door tonight or the endless reruns of horror movies on TV these past few weeks (or today’s close-up photo of snake) are not enough to give you a fright, here are some scary facts about the state of the environment in Washington State, with an emphasis on biodiversity.

  • Approximately 33 percent of the Puget Sound’s 2,500 miles of shorelines have been armored with bulkheads and other structures to protect homes, ports, marinas, roads and railways, and other property. More than half of the shoreline in the central Puget Sound has been modified by port development, armoring of beaches, and other uses, causing significant loss of habitats important to beach and nearshore species.
  • More than half of the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion (roughly the area known as the Columbia Basin) has undergone conversion from its shrub-steppe landscape to cropland. What remains is a fragmented shrub-steppe, which compromises the habitat of many species that rely on this type of habitat.
  • More than 90 percent of the original Palouse grasslands in Washington have been converted to agriculture, housing or other uses. A number of plant species once common throughout the Palouse now hang on in small, isolated remnants.

What’s so important about biodiversity?

Native species (such as shellfish, salmon and Douglas-fir) and their ecosystems contribute billions of dollars to fisheries, timber harvests, outdoor recreation and other sectors of our state’s economy. Native ecosystems also provide clean water, natural flood control, and habitats for fish, plants, and wildlife.

To help protect these important native habitats that help nurture biodiversity, DNR manages a statewide network of Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resources Conservation Areas. Many of these areas represent the finest natural, undisturbed ecosystems in state ownership; they also protect one-of-a-kind natural features unique to this region, such as the Mima Mounds in Thurston County or Selah Cliffs in Yakima County.

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New bridge clears way for fish to migrate

October 24, 2013
new bridge

A DNR heavy equipment crew installs a new bridge on DNR-managed state trust land in southwest Washington State to replace an old bridge/culvert that blocked fish migration. State law requires forestland owners (public and private) to remove in-stream barriers that block fish migration by Oct. 31, 2016. Photo: Steve Ogden/DNR.

The numbers of salmon and trout have been on the decline for several decades in Washington State. Contributing to these declines are poorly designed or improperly placed road culverts and other barriers in forest streams that prevent fish from reaching good quality stream habitat. In 2013, DNR removed 100 fish barriers from forest streams on state trust lands, opening an estimated 50 miles of stream to salmon and other fish. Since 2000, DNR has removed 1,282 fish barrier culverts associated with streams on state trust lands.

The department’s ongoing project has opened nearly 650 miles of stream for fish habitat. About 208 fish barrier culverts under forest roads on state trust lands remain for DNR to remove by October 31, 2016, when the state’s Forest and Fish Law requires landowners to complete improvements.

[The bridge was installed on the E-3000 Road in the Elochoman Block of the St. Helens District of state trust land in southwest Washington State, managed by DNR's Pacific Cascade Region, headquartered in Castle Rock, Washington.]

Say goodbye to summer this weekend

September 20, 2013
Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area

Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area includes more than 35,000 acres of mountainous terrain for hiking and other types of low-impact, outdoor recreation

This fall equinox this Sunday (September 22, 2013) signals the official end of summer. Many DNR recreation sites and trails are open this weekend. Check out a DNR recreation opportunity near you. For example, the Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) is a 33,592-acre mountainous conservation area in Snohomish County. It offers access to a number of wilderness trails from various trailheads (Note: The trails are not ADA accessible; however, accessible toilets are available at the Ashland Lakes trailhead and at the Boulder/Greider trailhead).

A Washington State Discover Pass is required for parking at all trailheads in Morning Star NRCA.

DNR provides trails and campgrounds in primitive, natural settings on the 2.2 million acres of forests that the department manages as state trust lands for revenue to support school construction, state universities and services in many counties.

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DNR’s Samish Overlook popular for its views and recreation opportunities

June 25, 2013
Samish Bay Overlook

View of Samish Bay from the Samish Overlook and Day-Use Area, managed by DNR. Photo DNR.

Samish Overlook Day-Use Area in the Blanchard Forest Block, south of Bellingham, offers stunning views of the San Juan Islands. It is also is a place where hikers, paragliders, and equestrian riders have joined forces by contributing hundreds of hours of their personal time to preserve this beautiful recreation area. See photos from our 2013 National Trails Day Event in Blanchard Forest Block.

Each year, an estimated 40,000 visitors come to Samish Overlook to picnic and enjoy the view. The overlook is also a popular jumping-off spot for hang gliders and paragliders. DNR-managed lands provide 1,100 miles of trails, 143 recreation sites, and a variety of landscapes throughout Washington State. Recreational opportunities include hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, motorized vehicle riding, mountain biking, and boating.

Download a recreation and trails map for the Blanchard Forest Block.

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How to be safe using tools in the woods

May 28, 2013
chain saw

This DNR employee displays proper chain saw cutting technique and is wearing approved personal protective clothing, including gloves; head, eye and ear protection; protective chaps; and sturdy footwear. Photo: DNR.

The warm summer weather is taking its time arriving in Washington state this year, but some people are already turning their thoughts to winter: gathering firewood, that is. If you plan on gathering your own firewood from publicly owned lands, you’ll need a permit – check this web page to find out where DNR firewood gathering permits are still available.

If you are using a chain saw to trim your firewood, here are some basic safety tips from the federal safety agency OSHA:

  • Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw’s chain path.
  • Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.
  • Keep your hands on the saw’s handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment when operating the saw, including hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protection.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
  • Watch for branches under tension, they may spring out when cut.
  • Make sure your chain saw is equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback.

Other places to gather firewood   (more…)

Board of Natural Resources approves two state trust land transactions at regular monthly meeting

May 10, 2013
Green Mountain parcel

This 19-acre in-holding will become part of Green Mountain State Forest after DNR completes its purchase from a willing private seller, Photo: Ray Lasmanis/DNR.

At its regular monthly meeting earlier this week, the state Board of Natural Resources approved two transactions involving state trust land:

Warden 16 Direct Transfer. Grant County Port District #8 asked to purchase 218 acres of Common School trust property, part of which is within the city limits of Warden in Grant County. A portion of the parcel is already zoned for light industrial use. The appraised value is $1,145,000. The Board agreed to sell 111 acres now for $525,000 in cash, and sell an additional 107 acres for $620,000 on a three-year contract. The interest rate on the payments will be 6 percent, which is the minimum rate set by law for sales by real estate contract by DNR. The property would revert to the State if the Port defaulted on the purchase The funds will be used to buy other lands for the Common School trust.

Green Mountain 20 Trust Acquisition. Nineteen acres of forestland in Kitsap County will be acquired by the Common School trust. DNR will manage the land, which is primarily timbered with 25-year old Douglas fir, as a working forest. The property also contains a small communication site that generates about $7,800 per year in lease revenue. The land, which is an in-holding in the Green Mountain State Forest, is being purchased from a willing private seller. The purchase price of $170,000 comes from a fund dedicated to replacing trust land, including the Common School Trust.

DNR manages nearly 1.8 million acres of Common School trust lands for revenue to support public school construction projects statewide.

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Updated public lands quadrangle map of popular Banks Lake area now available

April 18, 2013
steamboat rock

Steamboat Rock as seen across Banks Lake in the Grand Coulee. Photo: Williamborg.

DNR has just released an updated Banks Lake–Public Lands Quadrangle map. It’s one of the 50 maps of public lands in this series for the state of Washington. The new version replaces our 2004 map of this popular area which features several destinations, including Steamboat Rock State Park, Banks Lake Wildlife Area, and other public lands.

DNR public lands quadrangle maps are full-color maps that show highways, roads, trails, water features, and the locations of lands managed by DNR, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW); State Parks and Recreation Commission, and other public agencies.

You can purchase the new Banks Lake – Public Lands Quadrangle Map online.

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