OLYMPIA — A new state grant program is designed to conserve forestland, not as a park, but as an actively managed forest, with timber harvest and other income-generating activities.
Grants also can be used to restore land or provide trails for recreation opportunities.
The Community Forest Program, administered through the state Recreation and Conservation Office, allows communities to apply for up to $3 million to purchase a minimum of 5 acres of forest land on the condition that it be maintained as forest land. A 15% community match is required.
More than 1,700 forest products-related businesses call Washington home, supporting 101,000 workers and gross business income of about $28 billion a year.
“What’s unique about this program is that it’s not another parkland acquisition or pure conservation program,” said Jason Callahan, director of government relations for the Washington Forest Protection Association. “It’s a program to help maintain the state’s base of managed working forestlands. Actively managing forests also will help forest health, the rural economy, log supplies for mills and other aspects of the community. These values are only obtained when working forests are kept working.”
Grant applications will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Oct. 1. For details, visit wwrld.us/3ffH3UG.