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  • dnrforum 4:30 pm on March 3, 2011 Permalink  

    Friday, March 4 -What is DNR’s role? 

    What do you see as the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) role in protecting working forests across Washington State?

    • P. Quin 3:11 pm on March 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I am not sure what exactly to say here, but I was expecting to see more participation. The more outreach done the better. Keep up the effort! Your “ear to the ground” web site is much appreciated for instance.

      I am curious… You are willing to post links to articles of interest about more potentially sustainable practices and/or technologies, like the one on Feb 26th “Diesel substitute” by the NY Times. But are you willing to address the flip side?

      That story discusses the use of natural gas. What I hope DNR finds more important and pertinent to it’s role is the issue of Natural Gas Drilling by hydraulic fracturing and the effects on forest lands (not to mention water tables and surrounding communities). I am not sure if any state lands are or will be involved but I would want to know if there are and I would expect DNR to recognize and address any issues like this to the public.

  • dnrforum 5:00 pm on March 2, 2011 Permalink  

    Thursday, March 3 – Climate Change and Carbon Storage 

    Because forests can ‘sequester’ or absorb and store large amounts of carbon, does the broader community have an interest in the loss of carbon storage capacity when forestland is converted into home sites or other types of development…and the carbon storage is permanently lost? How would that lost capacity be best offset and who should pay for it?

  • dnrforum 7:00 am on February 28, 2011 Permalink  

    Wednesday, March 2 – Economic Value of Nature 

    Do the things that forests provide to us—such as drinking water, food, wildlife, climate regulation, flood protection, recreation, and aesthetics—have an actual economic value to you and your community? If so, how and where should that value be recognized when decisions are made about land use that would affect forestland?

    • Jane Revesz 3:21 pm on March 2, 2011 Permalink

      Certainly all of the items listed in the question introducing today’s conversation are provided by our forests. Some theoretical conversations have considered some kind of reimbursement in dollar value to landowners for the public use for those assets.So far the public has gone along with severely restricting the small forest landowners by laws while not paying for those items listed. When considering the overall topic for the week of “Loss of Forests”, the public and the state government must realize it cannot just keep taking form small forest landowners without eventually losing those small businesses. Any real economic value at present for the owners comes from producing and selling forest products, however, even this is highly restricted by state laws, particularly the law nicknamed “Forest and Fish”. Now, here in Clark County, many non forest landowners are willing to sacrifice the remaining forests we have for the 500 kv BPA line. The line is not wanted on the right-of-way that exists; forest lands are considered as irrelevant. It is time for the public not to just punish forest owners but to realistically support less regulations that would allow private forests to operate and survive as tax-paying small businesses. This year in very severe economic times for timber, we object to raising fees for Forest PRACTICE PERMITS. WHAT NEXT? Keeping productive working forests should be very possible in Washington State, probably the best timber producing land in the world. Let’s not so over restrict and add increasing costs to the detriment of the whole community and the unnecessary loss of our back country forests..

  • dnrforum 11:37 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink  

    Monday, February 28 – Loss Of Forests 

    Currently there are more than 12 million acres of state and private working forests in Washington State. However, since the late 1980s, more than 17 percent of non-federal forests in Washington have been converted to other uses, such as home sites and other types of development. How have you and your community been affected by the loss of forests? How would additional losses affect it? In a narrow or broad sense, what jobs or industries are supported by forestry in your community? (Statistic from 2007 Future of Washington’s Forests )

    • D. Mitchem 4:11 pm on March 1, 2011 Permalink

      Our community is dependent on timberlands as the backbone of our economy, for our cultural identity, and for outdoor recreation. During the housing boom, Cowliz County was hit tremendously by conversion of industrial timberland into housing. Now McMansions–some empty, some half built–line our lakes and roads. Our town lost it’s mill. Where there once was timberland by the river, we now have a airport/dragstrip/subdivision. It seems anything with road access and power is on the plate for conversion. And “recreation” properties are being chopped up from lower productivity timberlands in high elevations such as near Mount St. Helens. Five lakes are now subdivided. Many of these places are off the grid, but are being marketed as vacation sites where “wildlife roam”. Along the Cowlitz River floodplains, where houses can’t be built, recreation properties cater to RV’s. Economically, the loss of timberland is compounded by the loss of recreation access to the timberlands. According to the local grocery store owner (our town has one) locking the gates hurt more than closing the mill. Subdivision in timberland often creates a cascade of restrictions, and causes even more subdivision. These lots bring city folks looking for “nature” out into the country on x-timber 5-acre chunks. These newcomers don’t like clearcuts, hunting etc. and complain about nearby forest activities (noise, smoke, loss of trees) which creates hassles for remaining timberland management and more pressure to sell more. As for trades, they help the big picture over the long term. There are no easy answers, but special funding to purchase high public-value lands like the Wash Wildlife/Rec. Program has helped. Inheritance taxes are also a worry for small forestland owners, who may have to sell and divide to pay taxes. I suggest a “right to log” type document similar to “right to farm” used in Ag. lands for everyone to sign before they move into a timber region.

    • The shepherd's Inn 1:12 pm on February 28, 2011 Permalink

      We are talking about Natural Resources that belong to the people collectively and once they are converted to another use ( I assume the state gets the money) but the citizens have lost that resource or land forever. Especially when it becomes home building sites. The state has encouraged landowners to develop timber land by offering reduced taxes so it doesn’t make sense to remove public land out of timber management. What the state needs to do is manage effectively and harvest effectively by being accountable!
      I’m also disturbed by the tremendous amount of trading that is done with DNR lands. benefits and why is it being done. Someone is pulling strings somewhere and the public is never consulted about it. We had several hundred acres of DNR land that adjoined us but it was traded to a timber company.
      No one ever explained why? We need to be very careful and protective of changing uses of timber land!

  • dnrforum 8:35 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink  

    Tuesday, March 1 – What Can Be Done about the Loss of Forests 

    If current trends continue, more than one third of the forests that support timber and other forest related jobs in Washington State will be converted to development or other uses by 2030. What market mechanisms or opportunities could help prevent the loss of more of these working forests?

    • D. Mitchem 8:16 am on March 2, 2011 Permalink

      We need to use all the tools in the toolbox effectively and efficiently: conservation easements, land planning (zoning), exchanges, property tax incentives for timber and tax penalties for conversion. We need to value not just the most pristine, park-like areas, but also working forests and farms: the worst clearcut is still better than the best subdivision. Land trusts need to expand into areas of less “beauty” and more working timberlands. Most federal and state grants for easements etc. a tied to endangered species, not recreation or working timberlands. The cost of maintaining open space, working forests and riparian zones should not just fall on rural residents. Urban areas, including waterfront industry and homeowners, that have already developed their critical areas should pay into funds to buy Easements or Riparian areas from rural timberland owners. Why should the state punish the very people who have kept their land in timber by making them bare all the costs of preserving the remaining Riparian areas?? Shouldn’t the industries that have profited over the years by converting those same important habitat areas kick in some funding to save what’s left? Port districts are a good example. Look at the shores of Puget Sound or Lake Washington where mansions with lawns and docks pushed into the prime habitat. These same folks are working to stop logging in rural areas. Why couldn’t a “shoreline use” fund be established to purchase shoreline elsewhere. Another opportunity is the tax break that is in place on designated timberland. This significant reduction in property taxes is to compensate for the public benefits of timberland. These individual benefits–wildlife habitat, clean water and air, economics, recreation–are outlined in state law. We should quantify each benefit and assign a portion of the tax break to each one. Then, if a timber company reduces one benefit, for example the eliminate public recreation from their land, then that portion of the property tax break can be reduced. The resulting increase in taxes would go to support “recreation” on public lands. If they converted the land to housing or industry, the back taxes penalty should be high enough to cause them to reconsider conversion. And the back taxes should go to protect critical timberlands or riparian zones from folks who keep their land in timber.
      Additionally, Washington has some of the most restrictive forestry rules in the country. We need automatic Green certification for all timber harvested in Wa under Wash. state rules. All this other certification is just flushing $ away and wasting paper. SFI, SFC, etc. its just an elaborate paper trail. Use the money industry and Gov. is funneling into that mess to compensate for real protections on the ground, like conservation easements and purchasing shorelines or floodplains. And perhaps most importantly, make sure family farms and forests are not chopped up to pay for inheritance taxes. Give families tools to keep timber in timber through the generations.

    • Barbara 11:21 am on March 1, 2011 Permalink

      I think Comm. Goldmark’s new bill for a Community Forest Trust is a great idea! We should not let development leases be an option on state land. It’s such a mistake to tie our educational structure to land. Maximizing profit on state trust lands often means development is the “better” option, but it is forever. A logged forest grows back.

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