Huge swath of forest conserved in south King County
Just south of the Greenway…
King County and Hancock Timber Resource Group have reached a preliminary agreement for the county to purchase a conservation easement that would permanently protect 43,000 acres of the White River Forest near Enumclaw.
The terms of the conservation easement would allow current and future owners the right to harvest timber sustainably, but restrict future development of the forestland.
Making up nearly one-fifth of the private commercial forest lands in King County, the White River Forest is an important part of the County’s timber resource industry. An analysis of countywide timber harvest data suggests that in 2010 the White River Forest yielded nearly 10 million board-feet with an estimated timber value of $3.5 million, supporting more than 350 forestry jobs.
The White River Forest is located along scenic Highway 410,and is a critical component to a large north-south wildlife habitat link that connects Mount Rainer National Park in the south to the upper Green and Cedar River watersheds that lie to the north. It is also an important east-west wildlife corridor, providing an uninterrupted link from the lowlands to the Cascade crest.
Species known to be present in the White River Forest include Northern Spotted Owls, elk, American black bears, as well as other more common birds and mammals living in the Cascade Mountains. The White River, which makes the southern boundary of the property pending protection, is an important salmon system, with healthy populations of chinook, coho, and steelhead, and one of the largest pink salmon runs in King County.