Chelan County Land Trust Update

April 24th, 2015 in Around the Woodstove

Past Articles

As you learned in our last newsletter there was a community meeting April 11th to discuss use of 38000 acres of land that is potentially for sale by Weyerhauerser. It is early in the process, timeline being 16 months which started last January, so we have one year to put information together and discern what the community might wish to do with this land. There were over 100 people attending, which apparently is huge compared to other community meetings similar to this that have been held. The plan is to create a blueprint mapping community needs and concerns then move into the search for funding for the plan from various sources. The plan is not a regulatory document, but a vision for our community that will look to the future as we resolve the conflicts that always rise when groups work together. There is an online survey you can take if you would like to make your feelings known at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UpperWenatcheeSurvey

Scottish Lakes received feedback from two members of our community that I thought might be of interest here.

Mary Miller has worked and recreated at Scottish Lakes for 20 years. Here is her response:

  • What do you value most about area lands and waters?
    • The ability to get up into or near wilderness even though I’m ‘mobility-impaired’ and can’t backpack any more. Scottish Lakes is one of those rare places where I can go be “out” yet also feel safe, have privacy but also wonderful people around me, and restore my health a bit.
    • The vital importance of accessible near-wilderness for education—for schools, for families, for churches and other community groups. Across the nation, there are beginning to be special places where citizens have live in and learn about sustainable farming, forestry, outdoor survival and recreation, history—and Scottish Lakes has begun to fill that niche in this state.
    • I value the practice of “sharing”—using forest lands for more than just harvesting trees, but rather using and supporting the whole ecosystem with logging, recreation, education.
  • What are the biggest threats to those values?
    • Plain and simple: Not saving the places to keep wild lands usable for forestry, but also accessible for seniors/children/families to learn and live.
  • Are there specific places that are most important to you and your community?
    • Places near wilderness but not in it; places that can be reached in 4 seasons from both Seattle-area and eastern WA communities; places in which ecosystems have been protected enough.
  • How can land use and management affect your community, both positively and negatively?
    • If private corporations are “mining” (including farming, forestry, mining) natural resources, the community itself—as well as the corporation’s shareholders—must realize monetary benefits;
      • If some of the profits don’t stay in the community, the community is diminished, not strengthened.
    • For a community to remain sustainable, its natural resources must be used and maintained sustainably—meaning private corporations cannot just use up the resources and then leave behind damaged lands.
      • When the community is involved, and can be educated and work with its resident corporations using its natural resources, all will benefit.

Scottish Lakes, in particular, is a large employer in the area. It regularly brings visitors from the Seattle metropolis who would otherwise travel to the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Baker or Mt. Rainier. It’s an example of a locally-owned business working with a larger corporation, benefiting the town and the region. It deserves the support of both—the corporate landowners and the community.

Jena Gilman lives in North Bend and is familiar with a similar land project in the Teanaway. Here is her response:

In response to your note in the Scottish Lakes Newsletter here are my concerns about planning for these lands:

1.  Checkerboard ownership does not provide the type of contiguous blocks of land needed for habitat, recreation and even good forestry (logging).  I would lime to see private infills and buffer lands revert to public ownership through purchase or trade.
2.  Sustainable logging is OK with me; rural subdivisions are not.  High density human populations in forest lands are bad for habitat in many, many ways.  Also, makes it hard to do rational wildfire control.
3.  Trails should be for hikers and horses, some maybe for bicycles.  None for dirt bikes or quads.  Motorized trail use is i compatible with other uses and are far more destructive to the trails.  Motorized vehicles should stick to okd logging roads.  Snow machines OK in some places, but keep out of wilderness or sensitive habitats.
4.  Trails need to be fixed.  Did you know that 72% of Washingtonians hike at least occasionally?  We need trailheads, roads to access those trailheads (without a hummer), and maintenance of our trails.
We appreciate everyone’s input and will continue to keep you posted on this interesting process.
Chris