20 members named to the Teanaway forest group
A 20-member advisory group has been named to help steer two state agencies to manage the 50,272-acre Teanaway Community Forest north of Cle Elum, the first designated community forest in the state.
The 20 were selected by state officials from a pool of candidates who put their names in the running by a Feb. 14 deadline. Nearly 90 people applied for membership.
The advisory group and the state departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife have been tasked to develop a detailed management plan for the tract by June 30, 2015, according to a news release.
The state Legislature last year approved funding to purchase the private acreage from American Forest Land Co.’s holding firm.
The goal of the purchase is to preserve the environmental integrity of the area which is the headwaters of the Yakima River system, undertake ecosystem improvement projects and allow public use of the land.
The land purchase, the largest in state history since 1945, is seen as a crucial first step in the 30-year, $5 billion Yakima River basin integrated plan to stabilize water supplies and enhance fish and wildlife habitat and ecosystems in the basin.
The group’s plan must address watershed protection, working lands for forestry and livestock grazing, recreational opportunities, conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, and establishment of an ongoing community partnership to guide management of the forest, the news release said.
Listed in the news release as members of the advisory committee:
Gregg Bafundo, Tonasket, representing Trout Unlimited; Dale Bambrick, Ellensburg, a professional fish biologist; Gary Berndt, Cle Elum, Kittitas County commissioner; Mark Charlton, Ellensburg, representing the Kittitas County Farm Bureau; J.J. Collins, Roslyn, chair of the Kittitas Chamber of Commerce economic development committee and Forterra board member; Kitty Craig, Seattle, representing The Wilderness Society; Brian Crowley, Woodinville, representing the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance; Jeri Downs, Cle Elum, a second-generation farmer in the Teanaway Valley; Regan Dunn, a member of the King County Council who owns property in the Teanaway; Urban Eberhart of Ellensburg, representing, the the Yakima Basin Joint (irrigation entities) Board; Deborah Essman, Ellensburg, president and representative of the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club; James Halstrom, Ellensburg, a founding board member of Friends of the Teanaway; Andrea Imler, Seattle, representing the Washington Trails Association; Steve Justham, Ronald, representing off-road vehicle users; Wayne Mohler, Cle Elum, an engineering and project management consultant, representing the Washington State Snowmobile Association; Jason Ridlon, Thorp, representing the Back Country Horsemen of Washington; Phil Rigdon, Toppenish, deputy director of the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources; Derek Sandison, Wenatchee, director of the Office of Columbia River for the state Department of Ecology; Doug Schindler, Preston, representing the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust; Martha Wyckoff, Cle Elum, a neighbor of the forest and a family farm landowner for 25 years.