MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video is from a 2017 story about lack of state funds to purchase land at Blanchard Mountain for logging.
Washington state land officials have approved a land transfer to help conservation groups protect recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain.
The Skagit-Valley Herald reports that the state Board of Natural Resources granted the approval Tuesday for the 2.5-square-mile area known as the Blanchard Core, which includes popular trails, campgrounds and lakes.
Land officials say the transfer would be paid for with $10 million allocated by the state Legislature in 2018 to become a state natural area.
The transfer would be completed by putting sections of the Blanchard Core into the Common School Trust program, then paying the program the $9.2 million value of timber on that land.
Officials say the $626,000 value of the land would be used to purchase new forest lands elsewhere in the state.
The state’s latest move is the second of a two-part plan that will allow the Department of Natural Resources to continue supporting public services in Skagit County with timber revenue, as well as permanently conserve the Blanchard Core, according to the Skagit-Valley Herald.
The first land transfer of a two-part plan converted Common School Trust lands in Skagit County to general trust lands, which provide revenue to local taxing districts.