Once intended for development, the Teanaway Community Forest is now uniquely managed with community input for the restoration, health, and enhancement of the rivers and forests on which Kittitas County depends.
The State of Washington purchased the 50,241 acre Teanaway Community Forest from a private timber company in 2013, to protect a vital piece of the Yakima River Basin watershed under the provisions of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. Lawmakers directed the Department of Natural Resources to manage the property along with the Department of Fish & Wildlife as Washington’s first state-run community forest. A citizen advisory committee worked with the agencies to develop a forest management plan, which was completed in 2015. The advisory committee members continue to provide input on forest management.
The Legislature required that the management plan “must ensure that the land is managed in a manner that is consistent with the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan principles for forest land acquisitions,” including the following:
- To protect and enhance the water supply and protect the watershed
- To maintain working lands for forestry and grazing while protecting key watershed functions and aquatic habitat
- To maintain and, where possible, expand recreation opportunities consistent with watershed protection, such as hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping, birding, and snowmobiling
- To conserve and restore vital habitat for fish, including steelhead, spring Chinook, and bull trout, and wildlife, including deer, elk, large predators, and spotted owls
- To support a strong community partnership, in which the Yakama Nation, residents, business owners, local governments, conservation groups, and others provide advice about ongoing land management
The Greenway Trust sits on the citizen advisory committee, along with local community members and partner nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Washington Trails Association, and Kittitas County Field and Stream Club. Greenway staff also facilitate a subcommittee that advances the fifth legislative goal: supporting strong community partnerships. We plan volunteer events, run educational programs, and fundraise on behalf of the forest.