Comment sought for lands proposal

Olympic Peninsula sites among those reviewed

PORT ANGELES — Sites on the North Olympic Peninsula are among those that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife proposes acquiring for use as public lands.

The state is seeking public comment though Nov. 21 on 15 proposed public land acquisitions, totaling up to 12,500 acres of land, before its Dec. 8 briefing in Clarkston.

The proposals are currently under review through the Department’s annual Lands 20/20: A Vision for the Future process, which launched in 2005, according to a Fish and Wildlife press release.

The proposals are under review through Fish and Wildlife’s Lands 20/20: A Vision for the Future process which began in 2005, the state said in a press release. The review process considers species and habitat management plans, regional conservation initiatives, community perspectives and outdoor recreation, the release said.

For information on the project and individual proposed acquisitions, see wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/land-acquisitions.

Comments on the proposed acquisitions can be emailed to lands@dfw.wa.gov or sent via U.S. mail to Wildlife Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

The proposed site in Clallam County is 38.12 acres of land along the Sol Duc River just north of Forks. Some 2,600 feet of the site would be waterfront with 1,500 feet of easy access for fishing and water recreation, the state said.

The land would replace a nearby recreation area that has been washed out by shifts in the river, the state said.

The project is supported by the City of Forks, The Puget Sound Anglers and the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers, the state said.

In Jefferson County, Fish and Wildlife aims to acquire 15 acres of tideland property that is surrounded by department properties in Quilcene Bay.

The aim is to “conserve tideland connectivity with recreational opportunities for shellfish harvest, tideland exploration, waterfowl hunting, and wildlife viewing,” the state said.

Other sites under consideration are in Asotin, Clark, Cowlitz, Douglas, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Klickitat, Mason, Okanogan, Snohomish and Yakima counties.

Following public review and final approval by the Fish and Wildlife director, the department will begin pursuing grant funding, a process that can take several years, the department said.

Potential grant sources include the state of Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and federal grants through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the release said.

“Public input is at the core of how we make decisions about acquiring new public land in line with our goals for conservation and outdoor recreation,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, lands division manager.

“We take our obligation to fully consider the perspectives related to potential new land management obligations seriously and your input is a key element,” Wilkerson said.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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