Posts Tagged ‘trust land’

Small land transfer brings needed funds for Skamania County public services

June 30, 2014
Southwestern Washington State

Circled in red are two parcels (totally 42.5 acres) of forestland whose transfer into conservation status will provide $327,000 to Skamania County. Colored sections indicate other state trust lands managed by DNR. CLICK on PHOTO to see larger image.

How can changing a few words on the deed for a couple of small parcels of remote forestland provide welcomed relief to a struggling rural county? Thanks to a legislatively funded program, an additional $327,000 will be available for public services in Skamania County. The land in question is two parcels of forestland — 42.5 acres in all — that DNR manages for revenue to support public services in Skamania County. However, with that state-owned parcel encumbered by federal endangered species restrictions, it was unlikely that timber or other forest products would ever be harvested there.

A solution  (more…)

What good is a cottonwood tree anyway? (part 1)

June 16, 2014
Black cottonwood

Black cottonwood tree (also called western cottonwood). Photo: David Powerll/U.S. Forest Service. bugwood.org

Here at DNR we often talk about trees in terms of their value for habitat as well as for revenue to state trust land beneficiaries, such as public schools, state universities, many counties, and others. Then there are the trees whose main value is for habitat and beauty. Cottonwoods fall squarely into this latter category.

Cottonwoods aren’t worth much on the timber market, they can crowd out and shade new conifer plantations, and they don’t have many BTUs of energy for firewood use. They sprout when and where they aren’t wanted and form impenetrable stands. They can clog septic drain fields. They are notorious for breaking apart during minor storms and, among other annoying habits, their billowing cottony seeds can clog water intake structures and screens. Yet, they are one of the most widespread and important wildlife trees in the western United States and Canada.

Cottonwoods belong to genus Populus. There are at least four primary species of Populus in North America: eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), balsam poplar (P. tacamahacca), black or western cottonwood (P. trichocarpa), and quaking or trembling aspen (P. tremuloides). Two of these–western cottonwood (also called black cottonwood) and quaking aspen–are found on appropriate sites across Washington.

Balsam poplar occurs throughout the intermountain west and is most prevalent in northern Canada and Alaska while aspen, the most widespread native poplar throughout the northern hemisphere, is unique enough for an article of its own. In this article, we will focus on the black or western cottonwood.    (more…)

DNR weekend reading: Magnetic fields guide salmon home

March 9, 2014
State trust land

Fog and below-freezing temperatures combine to give the illusion of recent snowfall on a tract of DNR-managed state trust land in Pend Oreille County. Photo: James Hartley/DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Oregon State UniversityStudy confirms link between salmon migration and magnetic field
The Earth’s magnetic field may explain how fish can navigate across thousands of miles of water to find their river of origin, say scientists following experiments at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in the Alsea River basin.

Cornell UniversityDeer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth
Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters the progression of a forest’s natural future by creating environmental havoc in the soil and disrupting the soil’s natural seed banks.

Science DailyWhat has happened to the tsunami debris from Japan?
The driftage generated by the tragic 2011 tsunami in Japan gave scientists a unique chance to learn more about the effects of the ocean and wind on floating materials as they move across the North Pacific Ocean.

Harvard UniversityInfrared: A new renewable energy source?
Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences envision using current technologies to create a device that would harvest energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space.

Groundbreaking research addresses innovative approaches to Douglas fir root diseases

January 23, 2014
Photo of a Douglas Fir root with laminated root rot fungus.

Close-up view of the fungus that causes laminated root rot (white stuff on root). Photo: Amy Ramsey-Kroll/DNR

Laminated root rot is becoming more of an issue in Washington State. Why? The disease affects many conifers, including Douglas fir, a vital resource for Washington’s economy and ecology.

A recently released report addresses new approaches to understanding root rot diseases, with a focus on laminated root rot Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requested the study, which was conducted by the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

What is laminated root rot?
Laminated root rot is caused by caused by the fungus Phellinus sulphurascens and affects Douglas fir, western hemlock, and other conifers.

(more…)

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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Thirteen ideas for fun recreation on DNR-managed lands for Friday the 13th (or whenever)

December 13, 2013
Discover Pass

Buy your loved one a gift that will last the whole year, an annual Discover Pass! Now you can choose the start date at the time of purchase. http://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/

Start off the holiday recreation season with a few of these 13 tips & ideas. Plan a winter adventure now!

1.       Hike
If we’re blessed with one of those brisk clear blue-skied days we sometimes get here in the Northwest grab your boots and hit the trails. DNR has trails for different skill levels. Head over to our recreation page and find a trail that’s right for you!

2.       Trail Run
Get some peace and quiet during the holiday season by spending a few hours running through some of our hundreds of miles of trails. Check which trails are open and make sure you wear something bright and reflective if you’re in an area with hunters.

3.       Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe
Enjoy the peace and quiet of non-motorized winter recreation. You can cross-country ski and snowshoe on nearly 50 miles of trails—20 miles of which are groomed—in the Tahoma and Elbe State Forests, east of Elbe on the way up to Mount Rainier. The Mount Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA) operates free ski huts there, but you do need reservations. Visit the MTTA website for more information. Don’t forget to purchase a Sno-Park permit for parking at any of these areas.

4.       Geocaching
Enjoy a state-wide scavenger hunt with your holiday visitors and take them geocaching! There are many caches hidden on trails on DNR land. Bring a holiday trinket to leave behind for the next geo-explorer.

5.       Dirt biking & ATV
Winter is the best time to take your bike out and get muddy! Although some trails are closed in the winter, there are plenty of places to head out and blow off some of your holiday stress.

6.       Sledding
It’s not winter without sledding! Take your holiday visitors for an adventure the whole family can enjoy! Head out to the mountains and hills to find a snowy bank and sled all day.

7.       Winter Camping
Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the perks of getting away for the weekend. Become a true Northwestern, weekend warrior by enjoying some off-season tent, car, or RV camping on DNR state land. Just make sure you check what sites are open during the winter before you head out for a frosty adventure.

8.       Snowmobiling
You’ll find groomed trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing on state trust lands managed by DNR. Many of these trails originate on DNR-managed lands; others hook up with trails from other public and private lands.

9.       Bird Watching & Nature Observing        
Winter is a great time for locating animal tracks and watching waterfowl. Many birds that spend summer months in Alaska and Canada migrate down to Washington during the cold season. Coastal inlets, estuaries, and freshwater wetlands are some of the best places to go birding in winter. Learn about DNR’s Natural Areas Program and find protected natural areas nearest you to spend a day at peace with nature.

10.   Razor Clamming
It’s razor clamming time! Check out this post on the current razor clamming season from our friends at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Right now is one of the best times to get out and dig your own delicious dinner.

11.   Pleasure Drive
Need to get away from the holiday rush? Clear your head on a weekend drive like this one that made National Geographic’s 500 Scenic Drives of a Lifetime. Stop along the way for a picnic at one of DNR’s protected Natural Areas such as Kennedy Creek NAP, Shipwreck Point NRCA, or the Chehalis River Surge Plain NAP. You could also camp for the night at Bear Creek Campground (milepost 206), Hoh Oxbow Campground (milepost 176 -177), or Cottonwood Campground (milepost 177 – 178). For more road trip ideas, visit DNR’s recreation page. If your trip takes you off the highway, remember the safety rules of navigating any of DNR’s working forest roads from our Forest Road Survival Guide.

12.   Meet Washington’s Other First Family
The Squatches are a fun-loving, outdoorsy family that moved to the ‘burbs to escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. These weekend warriors love the millions of acres of Washington state-managed lands where they can fit all their outdoor activities into one, action-packed trip. Must-view fun videos.

13.   Discover Pass
Nothing says holidays like giving the gift of the great outdoors! Now you can choose your start date, so you can give it as a present to your family outdoor enthusiast or pick one up for yourself and start your own winter adventure.

Happy holidays from DNR!

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Precommercial thinning of tree stands… like a haircut but on a much larger scale

November 18, 2013
Red alder in SW Washington

Chris Rasor, a DNR Reforestation Coordinator, inspects a 7-year-old red alder plantation in southwest Washington that is ready for pre-commercial thinning. Pre-commercial thinning — selective removal of some trees, primarily to improve the growth rate or health of the remaining trees — is regulated under the state’s Forest Practices Rules. DNR manages more than 2 million acres of forested state trust lands under a Habitat Conservation Plan agreement with the federal government that adds additional forest practices guidelines and reporting requirements. Photo: Florian Deisenhofer/DNR.

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Q & A: What’s that smoke near Capitol State Forest?

September 11, 2013
DNR and Nature Conservancy fire crews supervise a controlled burn to help restore prairie habitat at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Olympia. Photo: DNR

DNR fire crews supervise a controlled burn to help restore prairie habitat at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Olympia. Photo: DNR

On September 12 & 13, if wind and weather conditions are favorable, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may conduct a controlled burn at Rocky Prairie Natural Area Preserve.

Why burn?

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Working forests, working double-time

September 3, 2013
Many forested areas offer more than just economic value to communities. Photo: DNR.

Many forested areas offer more than just economic value to communities. Photo: DNR.

Most people know about the monetary benefits of harvesting trees from forest lands, but what people may not know are the other services forests provide. For instance:

• Forests are effective pollution filters, protecting the water we drink and the air we breathe
• Forests provide fertile and productive soil
• Forests protect against floods from large storms
• Forests reduce climate change impacts by sequestering carbon

Well, now there may be a way to better recognize the many ways that forests provide public health and safety benefits and, perhaps, compensate land managers who manage their land in a way that provides these benefits to communities.

View of Mount Loop Highway in Snohomish County. Photo: DNR.

View of Mount Loop Highway in Snohomish County. Photo: DNR.

In 2011, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received funding for a demonstration project to test whether public water utilities could provide payments to upstream private forest landowners who are committed to protecting watershed functions related to their mission.

DNR worked with ecosystem scientists and watershed resource managers in the Nisqually and Snohomish watersheds to explore payment systems for ecosystem services.

DNR just submitted a report to the Department of Ecology on their findings. In addition to this report, the demonstration turned from a project into a long-term solution in the following instances:

 • Partners in a demonstration project in the Nisqually watershed are discussing forested properties that could help protect the City of Olympia’s new drinking water source, the McAllister Wellfield.

• The demonstration project in Snohomish County is contributing to the Snohomish Basin Protection Plan.

Special thanks to all involved in this important study which may help preserve both forest land cover and economic vitality in Washington State.

For more information on this project, please visit DNR’s Forest Watershed Services Transactions Page.

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DNR weekend reading: Wildfire seasons to get longer and smokier in western U.S.

September 2, 2013
Mount Adams

View of Mount Adams from DNR-managed trust land in southwest Washington. Photo: Florian Diesenhofer/DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics:

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: Wildfires projected to worsen with climate change
Harvard model predicts wildfire seasons by 2050 will be three weeks longer, up to twice as smoky, and will burn a wider area in the western United States.

NASA: After a Fire, Before a Flood: NASA’s Landsat Directs Restoration to At-Risk Areas
The U.S. Forest Service is using NASA satellite images of fires in the American West to help rapidly restore burned areas before the upcoming rainy season causes floods and washouts that could threaten lives and property.

US Forest Service–Pacific Southwest Research Station: Woodland salamanders indicators of forest ecosystem recovery
Researchers have established that when woodland salamanders are a viable indicator of forest ecosystem recovery: where they are found in high abundance, it indicates a healthy forest.

Science Daily: Cost Gap for Western Renewables Could Narrow by 2025
Washington state can meet the balance of its current state-mandated renewable energy targets using in-state resources, but unlike several other Western states, there may be little left in the way of undeveloped prime-quality resources for subsequent demand beyond 2025, according to a new Energy Department study.

National Geographic: Rebirth on the River: Washington’s Elwha Flourishing After Big Dam Removals
The first signs of life are beginning to return to the Elwha River in Washington State, where the largest dam removal in U.S. history is nearly complete.

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