01/05/2017 – J. W. Snyder – Northwest Fishing News
OLYMPIA – The Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee will begin developing a recreation plan for the forest when it meets on Thursday, Jan. 12, in Cle Elum.
The meeting, which will be open to the public, will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange, 1361 Ballard Hill Road.
Washington state acquired about 50,000 acres for the community forest in 2013, and the departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) worked with the advisory committee to develop a long-term forest management plan which was published in 2015.
The management plan calls for the two agencies to develop a recreation blueprint for the forest. The recreation plan will lay a foundation for the preservation and development of recreation opportunities over the next 10 to 15 years, consistent with watershed protection and other priorities identified by state lawmakers.
DNR and WDFW hosted a public open house in late October 2016 to give local residents the opportunity to discuss the recreation planning effort with agency personnel and members of the advisory committee.
The Jan. 12 meeting will be the committee’s first session devoted specifically to recreation planning. It will include a review of the recreation elements of the forest management plan and an overview of the recreation planning process. Future committee meetings will occur on the second Thursday of each month through December 2017, and all are open to the public.
The meeting agenda, future committee meeting dates and other information about the forest, including the 2015 management plan and the roster of advisory committee members, is available on the DNR website at www.dnr.wa.gov/TeanawayRec.
Background: Washington’s first state-managed community forest
The Teanaway Community Forest is located at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed. Its acquisition in 2013 was the largest single land transaction by Washington state in 45 years and reflected more than a decade of collaboration involving many organizations and individuals. The property is Washington’s first state-managed community forest under the terms of legislation enacted in 2011. That law empowers communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests that support local economies and public recreation.
Acquisition of the Teanaway was a key step in implementing the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, an initiative developed by a coalition of public and private organizations to safeguard the basin’s water supply, restore fisheries, conserve habitat, preserve working lands, and enhance recreational opportunities.
The forest is managed through a partnership between DNR and WDFW, with input from the advisory committee, the local community, and interested stakeholders.