EDITOR’S NOTE: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has rescheduled the public hearing for proposals to expand two DNR-managed conservation areas near Quilcene in Jefferson County due to travel safety advisories related to storm conditions in northwestern Washington. The public hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the Quilcene High School multi-purpose room, 294715 U.S. Highway 101.
QUILCENE — The state Department of Natural Resources will hold a second public meeting tonight to gather input on proposed boundary expansions for two conservation areas in Jefferson County.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Quilcene High School multipurpose room, 294715 U.S. Highway 101, and is expected to last until roughly 8 p.m. John Gamon will represent DNR.
The proposal was presented to county commissioners in September and, if approved, would expand the boundaries of the Devils Lake and Dabob Bay conservation areas.
The Devils Lake Natural Resources conservation area, which was designated in 2002, currently consists of 80 acres of protected land.
The proposed boundary would add 415 acres and include a coastal bluff along Quilcene Bay to the already protected lake and forested areas, according to Curt Pavola, DNR’s natural areas program manager.
The Devils Lake expansion consists entirely of undeveloped DNR trust land, making it the easier of the two plans logistically.
The second proposed expansion would expand the Dabob Bay Natural Area by 3,600 acres, encompassing the south side of Dabob Bay and stretching to the Hood Canal.
That proposed expansion includes more than 900 acres of DNR trust land and 2,700 acres of privately owned land.
Pavola said there have been some areas in the proposed expansion that have already been developed; ideally landowners would work with DNR to ensure conservation of the area.
“That one is much more of a long-term project,” said Pavola. “We know the proposed boundary will likely change.”
However, DNR has already identified priority parcels for the Dabob expansion for forest recovery projects and two DNR parcels that contain old-growth forest.
DNR held a meeting Sept. 28 in which it presented its proposal to the community. According to Pavola, roughly 70 community members turned out for the meeting and engaged for almost an hour with DNR representatives.
“I don’t want to make any general statements, but it does seem like people are in support of this,” said Pavola. “This has the very direct economic benefit of protecting clean waters for the shellfish industry and the salmon runs in the area.”
Pavola said he expects up to 100 people to attend the meeting because that is roughly the number that attended a similar meeting in 2008 for the last Devils Lake boundary expansion, which was put in place in 2009.
“I think we’re going to hear what the community’s final decision is on this,” said Pavola.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].