The protesters of the Aldwell timber sale may consider the following facts:
The Elwha River watershed is approximately 320 square miles in size.
Fully 275 square miles lie within either Olympic National Park (265 square miles) or Olympic National Forest (10 square miles.)
The remaining 45 square miles is a mix of Department of Natural Resources trust, private and tribal lands.
When forest practice regulations are factored in, well over 90 percent of the Elwha basin is off limits to timber harvest.
The Aldwell timber sale sold at auction for $2.9 million to Bekkevar Logging and Construction.
Since this sale is located on Clallam County forest trust lands, the net proceeds of approximately $2 million flow directly back to Clallam County coffers.
The annual benefit to Clallam County from DNR administered timber sales ranges from $3-$10 million, helping fund general county activities as well as local taxing district beneficiaries such as fire departments and hospitals.
Finally, each DNR administered timber sale passes through a permitting gauntlet that must meet the standards of State Forest Practice Rules and Regulations, DNR’s own Habitat Conservation Plan and the State Environmental Policy Act.
Combined, these are extraordinarily stringent standards and ensure that each harvest meets environmental protection standards for fish habitat, water quality and myriad other parameters.
Thomas L. Swanson