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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goldmark initiates creation of Blanchard Mountain NRCA

New Conservation Area would protect land in Skagit County forever

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today announced his intention of establishing a new Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) at Blanchard Mountain. This new NRCA would build on the “Blanchard Strategy,” a process initiated under the previous Commissioner of Public Lands to determine the fate of Blanchard Mountain. This new use would be consistent with the Strategy, but provide stronger, enduring protections for the area.

“Blanchard Mountain is a treasure for the state of Washington and needs to be protected in perpetuity,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “By creating an NRCA for 1600 acres on Blanchard Mountain and maintaining the balance as a working forest, we can ensure that area is available to the public for its amazing recreation opportunities, rich wildlife habitat and sweeping views for generations to come.”

DNR will begin the formal process to create the Blanchard Mountain NRCA in March. Replacement working lands will be purchased as funds are available. There is currently $5.5 million allotted by the Legislature for purchasing working forests in Skagit County.

“Maintaining the working lands base in northwestern Washington is important to keep small operators and the infrastructure for the forest products industry healthy,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “We will work with our partners in the Legislature in the coming years to fully fund the replacement of state trust lands to ensure that conservation and working landscapes go hand-in-hand.”

DNR’s Natural Resource Conservation Areas
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently the steward of 131,000 acres of conservation areas in Natural Area Preserves and NRCAs throughout the state.

Conservation areas (NRCAs) protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes. Environmental education and low-impact public use are appropriate where they do not impair the resource values of the area protected. The program was established in 1987.

Habitats protected in NRCAs include coastal and high-elevation forests, alpine lakes, wetlands, scenic vistas, nesting birds of prey, rocky headlands, and unique plant communities. Critical habitat is provided for many plant and animal species, including rare species. Conservation areas also protect geologic, cultural, historic, and archeological sites.

Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023 aaron.toso@dnr.wa.gov

1 comment:

Chuckanutz said...

Just so people aren't confused, the idea of an NRCA for Blanchard Mountain is a good one. The problem is that what's being proposed is an extremely small protected area, better described as a "mini-NRCA" that doesn't begin to protect what's most in need of protecting. Two-thirds of the mountain still gets logged and the habitat, the views and the trails will still be severly degraded. For more info, visit http://chuckanutconservancy.blogspot.com.