Archive for the ‘State Trust Land’ Category

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


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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DNR’s fish barrier removal program

April 5, 2013
Culvert removal on Miller Creek

A contractor installs a 22-foot-span bottomless arch culvert over Miller Creek near Hoodsport. It replaces a 12-foot-wide culvert that blocked fish passage to habitat in the creek’s upper reaches. Photo: Jason Mettler/DNR.

Lack of access to good quality stream habitat has contributed to declines of salmon and trout populations in Washington State. In 2012, DNR removed 134 fish barriers from forest streams on state trust lands, opening an estimated 67 miles of stream to salmon and other fish. Since 2000, DNR has removed 1,184 fish barrier culverts associated with streams on state trust lands. Sometimes, they are replaced by bridges, but other fish-friendly structures include bottomless arch culverts.  

The department’s ongoing project has opened nearly 600 miles of stream for fish habitat. About 276 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.

Many private forestland owners also are affected by the deadline. Because removing these blockages — usually culverts — and installing more fish-friendly structures isn’t cheap, DNR offers small forest landowners help to replace those barrier culverts. Since 2003, nearly 200 small forest landowners have taken advantage of funding from the legislatively funded Family Forest Fish Passage Program to replace 232 barriers and open more than 485 miles of stream for salmon and trout. But many have yet to apply for the state program—Family Forest Fish Passage Program—which pays nearly all of the costs for landowners

Watch a video about the Family Forest Fish Passage Program and learn how just applying to the program can help small forest landowners deal with regulatory burdens around the culvert removal requirements. The program is administered by DNR’s Small Forest Landowner Office.

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DNR has history to celebrate this President’s Day

February 18, 2013

DNR Forester Jesse Steele with old growth Douglas-fir estimated to be 250-300 years old. Photo by: DNR

This Douglas-fir has seen a lot in its lifetime. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted an old growth assessment on it and concluded it was between 250 – 300 years old.

We celebrate our country’s history of presidents today on the birthday of our first leader; United States President George Washington. When George Washington was born 281 years ago, this tree may have been already standing in the forests we see today.

Can you imagine what changes have taken place since this tree was a seedling over 250 years ago?

250 years ago - When this tree was young, Benjamin Franklin was conducting his kite experiment to uncover the complexities of lightning and electricity.

224 years ago - By the time George Washington was elected president in 1789, this tree was already as old as most of the ones you see in our forests today.

202 – 206 years ago – When Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, Washington State was already rapidly undergoing many of the changes that would shape it into the community we know today. Just four years before Lincoln’s birth the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the area that is now Washington State. Two years after Lincoln was born David Thompson sailed down and completing the first formal mapping of the Columbia River.

163 years ago – Just 11 years before Lincoln was elected president in 1861, the area that is now Washington State had its first census conducted counting a population of 1,201. The population increase 865.4% in the next ten years.

124 years ago – The State of Washington was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889. That year the U.S. government endowed the state with 3.2 million acres of trust land.

56 years ago – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources was established in 1957; just over 150 years after our first president began his term in office; by combining seven agencies and boards, including the Commissioner of Public Lands who administers the state trust lands, and the Division of Forestry, and the State Forester.

Over the next years, DNR was very busy transitioning the management of Washington’s resources.

48 years ago - The first formal DNR recreation sites were created in 1965.

42 – 43 years ago – In 1971, Washington State legislature stopped the sales of state tidelands and shorelands, and the State Environmental Policy Act was established. The next year, DNR was selected to manage our Natural Area Preserves and the first Natural Resource Conservation Areas were established.

Florian doug fir

DNR Forester Florian Deisenhofer with an old growth Douglas-fir estimated to be over 400 years old. Photo by DNR/Dan Friesz

Today, DNR manages 5.6 million acres of land. That’s over 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, and 145,000 acres of natural areas. We maintain 54 Natural Area Preserves, 30 Natural Resource Conservation Areas, and 143 recreation sites. DNR also protects 12.7 million acres of forest from wildfire.

Washington State has come a long way since the days of those first presidents. We can celebrate history and the accomplishments of our country and state today while remembering these majestic old growth trees that have seen it all.

Happy President’s Day!

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