Over 400 People Sign Petition to
Stop "Crush" Timber Sale
Well over 400 people, including close to 300 local residents living in and around Olympia, have signed a petition to stop the Department of Natural Resources from logging a popular hiking and biking trail in Capitol State Forest.
HIKING TRAIL IN "UNIT 2" OF CRUSH TIMBER SALE
The fate of one of the most popular hiking trails near Olympia hangs in the balance as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), under the leadership of Commissioner Hilary Franz, prepares to auction the surrounding forest for commercial logging.
Local residents are speaking out against the logging of this forest. Close to 440 people, many of whom live near Capitol State Forest, have signed a petition asking Franz to cancel the project. Eirik Steinhoff, a local resident and member of the faculty at Evergreen State College, has lead hikes through this forest. "Each time we take a community hike through here we learn something new," says Steinhoff. Christy White, another local resident of Olympia, and member of the Legacy Forest Project, describes it as "a stunning and beautiful older forest". "This is not a Douglas fir crop," she says. "The value of these forests to remain far outweighs the dollars of a sale."
An identical petition signed by 155 local residents was ignored by the Board of Natural Resources in September. The Board is responsible for approving logging projects proposed by DNR. "It is disrespectful to every local resident who signed the petition," said Stephen Kropp, Director of the Center for Responsible Forestry, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the conservation of older forests in western Washington. "The Board did not even acknowledge that it had received the petition, and it was completely ignored by DNR and Commissioner Franz."
JC Davis, Director of the Summit Lake Alliance, argues that it is important to protect these forest for their recreational value. "Outdoor recreation is at an all-time high, and the campgrounds are full to capacity. Why are we eliminating these unique and special forests?"
KENNEDY CREEK LEGACY FOREST
The forest is located in the headwaters of Kennedy Creek, about 10 miles west of Olympia. There was opposition to logging in this area from the start. The trees that DNR wants to harvest are among the largest trees in Capitol State Forest. DNR initially claimed that parts of the forest had been logged as recently as 1954. In October, DNR was forced to acknowledge that the forest is older than that, after the Center for Responsible Forestry produced aerial photos from 1951 that clearly showed that the forest had established well before 1954. "Based on sample data that has been collected in other similar stands in Capitol State Forest, it would not be surprising if some of these trees are more than a century old," said Kropp. " Most of the older forests that once populated the south end of Puget Sound are gone. Close to 360 acres in size, the Kennedy Creek Legacy Forest is one of only a few forest remnants of its kind left in the Puget Sound lowlands."
Peter Goldmark, who served as Lands Commissioner and head of DNR from 2009 to 2017, believes that the project violates both Board policies and DNR's agreement with the federal government stretching back to 1997. "Commissioner Franz is proposing the logging of old forests that represent the naturally regenerated legacy forests from the early 1900s," says Goldmark. "These should be preserved for the many ecological functions they provide."
The timber sale is scheduled for auction next Tuesday. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call Commissioner Franz at 360-902-1000 on Monday and urge her to cancel the "Crush" timber sale.