Protect WA State
LEGACY FORESTS

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Dear Commissioner Franz, Board of Natural Resources, and Governor Inslee,

 

I am writing to urge you to STOP logging “legacy forests" on state lands. A legacy forest is a naturally regenerated (i.e. non-plantation) mixed-species forest harvested before WWII with the potential to develop old growth characteristics. Legacy forests are reservoirs of both biodiversity and carbon. According to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data it is estimated that there are only approximately 80,000 acres of unprotected legacy forests left on DNR land. That is less than 5% of all DNR managed lands in Western Washington. These historic forests are an important part of our natural heritage, and a critical tool in efforts to conserve biodiversity, reduce the risk of fire damage and landslides to nearby communities, and improve water quality and quantity within drinking water and salmon watersheds. Research shows that trees 80-150 years old store and capture more carbon than any other age tree, and that allowing these trees to continue to grow and accumulate mass is one of the most efficient ways of increasing carbon sequestration. Legacy forests are one of WA State’s best tools to mitigate our current climate crisis. 

The DNR is aggressively logging the few legacy forests that remain in many lowland watersheds of Western Washington. Some of the trees in these forests are close to five feet in diameter and 200 feet tall. The logging of mature legacy forests on DNR managed lands violates Board of Natural Resources policies intended to preserve older forests, which dictate that structurally complex forests may be considered for harvest only after older forest targets have been met.

 

We urge you to work together with local governments and the legislature to find alternative funding sources for rural counties who have relied on revenue generated by these sales. Our state has the resources and capabilities to fully fund our communities and protect legacy forests.

 

If you want to be seen as a leader on issues of climate and the environment, it is imperative that you take action to protect the carbon-rich forests of our state by protecting all legacy forests on state lands. Once these forests are cut and replanted as plantations, they are gone forever. The actions you take today will have profound effects on our children and their children for generations to come. Please do not compromise their future. Now is the time for bold leadership.

 

Thank you for listening.

This petition will be sent to the following people:

Becky Kelley
Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee
360-688-8149
becky.kelley@gov.wa.gov

Ruth Musgrave
Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee
360-522-6031
ruth.musgrave@gov.wa.gov

Hilary Franz

Commissioner of Public Lands

360-902-1000

hilary.franz@dnr.wa.gov

Angus Brodie

Deputy Supervisor for State Uplands

360-902-2122

angus.brodie@dnr.wa.gov

Bill Peach

Board Chair and County Commissioner

360.417.2233

bpeach@co.clallam.wa.us

Dan Brown

Board Member and Professor

University of Washington

206-685-1928

danbro@uw.edu

Chris Reykdal

Board Member and Superintendant

of Public Instruction

360-725-6000

chris.reykdal@k12.wa.us

Richard T. Koenig

Board Member and Interim Dean

WSU College of Agriculture

509-335-9223

richk@wsu.edu

Jim Cahill

Board Member and Senior Budget

Assistant to Jay Inslee

360-902-0569

jim.cahill@ofm.wa.gov