State approves $55 million forestland purchase
November 9, 2023
The acquisition, the state's largest in
more than a decade, would bring more than 9,000 acres in Wahkiakum County into public ownership
The Washington State Board of Natural Resources approved the $55 million purchase of more than 9,000 acres of forestland in Wahkiakum County during its meeting Tuesday at the Natural Resources Building.
Each of the four properties is adjacent to lands already sustainably managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to generate revenue for public services, provide wildlife habitat, and protect water quality.
Funding for the purchases will come from Climate Commitment Act dollars from the Legislature, as well as proceeds from prior transactions by DNR.
"This is a transformational opportunity for Washington state," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.
The purchase is set to be the state's largest land acquisition in more than a decade. 941 acres of land would be purchased with $7.2 million in Real Property Replacement Account funding and would benefit the Common School Trust, which supports K-12 school construction across Washington state. That parcel is on the southern end of the Elochoman State Forest east of Cathlamet.
The other 8,174 acres of land in the transaction, which are north and northwest from Cathlamet, would be purchased with $47.8 million in Climate Commitment Act funding allocated in the 2023-25 capitol budget. The three properties in that transaction would be held in DNR's Land Bank, allowing it to be designated to support specific trusts at a later date.
The vast majority of the lands approved for purchase have high-quality soils, and tree ages range from recently harvested and replanted stands to those that are mature enough to be harvested.
The transaction is expected to close in mid-December.