Logging near Olympic View put on hold after resident uproar

The state Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday postponed a proposal to sell or trade a 48-acre parcel of trees near Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after neighbors complained about the plan to log the land.

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and other state officials met with neighbors in the Olympic View Community to tour the land and said the department would look for a compromise with the neighbors.

"I'm here in the spirit in listening," Goldmark said.

According to Art Tasker, region manager of the department, about four months ago the department surveyed the parcel and determined that there are 693,000 board feet of timber available — at the time worth $250 per 1,000 board feet. These rates would make the timber value of the parcel $207,900, but Tasker believes that this amount has already increased over the past months.

The department previously sold timber on the parcel in 1999, through a marked tree sale that amounted in a partial cut of the forest, said Tasker. Neighbors of the parcel were against this sale as well, but opposition for this sale is much stronger.

People walking the trails of the parcel or along Olympic View Road stopped representatives from the department on their first visit to the parcel to question the department's business with the land, said Dave Denis, forest manager for the department.

According to Denis, neighbors wanted to remain informed and asked questions each time the department visited. The department began planning the timber sale about two years before making the initial visit to the site, added Denis.

Present alongside Olympic View residents were state Sen. Phil Rockefeller and state Rep. Christine Rolfes, both Democrats from Bainbridge Island, and North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder.

The department proposed a two phase cut. The first phase would cut 13 maple trees, which are typically used for musical instruments and value at about $5,000 per tree. The next phase would be a regeneration harvest, which leaves about eight trees per acre. These cuts amount to 693,000 board feet.

The department intended this lumber to fund the K-12 school system as the land is part of the State Trust Land, said Goldmark.

Some residents raised concerns about erosion — especially those who live on the banks nearby.

But because studies on the affect of logging the land have also been put on hold, it is hard to know exactly how reductions in nearby forests will affect water flow in the area, said Tasker.

Others raised concerns for resident wildlife or decreases in property values.

"We've felt very frustrated," said Lou Ann Wood, an Olympic View resident whose house lies close to the bank and who was relieved to hear of the postponement. "Fireworks went up when we saw the postponement."

While most residents are concerned about the destruction of the nature trails that weave through the parcel, some understand that it is hard to control what happens on someone else's land.

"It's up to all of us to manage what we have," said Pete Kroenke, another Olympic View resident.

Goldmark said the department's two goals are revenue and employment.

"Harvest means jobs and economic activity, which is really important today and tomorrow," he said.

Rockefeller, Rofles and Gelder plan to form a small committee of community members to review potential options and find the best solution for the area.

"You pass us the football and we can run with it," said Rolfes.

Gelder said this committee should be in place and reviewing options by the fall.




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