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Mailbox Gets Four Magic Letters: NRCA

Posted by elizabeth at Dec 04, 2009 09:25 AM |

Every December, the Mountains to Sound Greenway holds a party, and there’s usually a lot of good work to be celebrated, from land acquisitions to restoration projects to WTA’s own 30,000+ hours of work in the Greenway corridor. 

Last night, we got to see great things actually unfold before our very eyes.  Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark signed off on the protection of more than 10,000 acres of land in the Middle Snoqualmie as a newly created Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA). 

But before that happened, the past four Public Lands Commissioners (Brian Boyle, Jennifer Belcher, Doug Sutherland, and Commissioner Goldmark) gathered on a single podium to talk about thirty years of conservation on state forest lands, beginning with the creation of the Natural Resource Conservation Area Act and, soon thereafter, the Tiger Mountain NRCA. 

Most of the land managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is held in trust to generate revenue for schools, primarily through timber harvest.  However, over time, some of these areas have become more valuable as conservation properties than as timber lands.  The Trust Land Transfer program allows for the transfer of trust obligations from the parcel, so that the agency can manage the property for conservation purposes.  

Tiger Mountain, Mt Si, Dishman Hills, Table Mountain, and Gothic Basin all lie within NRCAs.  Last night, with the creation of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA, Mailbox Peak earned such favor, as well

Thirty years ago, the challenge was to find the appropriate vehicle by which to protect these areas.  Today, the challenge is one of long-term stewardship.  DNR has not been given a budget to effectively and sustainably manage recreation, on either its trust lands or within the NRCAs.  And yet, over the past thirty years, DNR has come to manage some of Washington’s most popular and best-loved hiking trails. 

To learn more about the DNR and WTA’s work in the coming legislative session to support better funding for NRCAs and other state lands, click here or join the Trail Action Network