Jefferson commissioners ask DNR to consider swap

Agency may ‘donate’ conservation acres to Clallam County

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Commissioners voted to draft a letter concurring with the state Department of Natural Resources’ selection of lands for conservation but asked the department to ensure funding to junior taxing districts will remain intact.

DNR is seeking concurrence from county commissioners as it looks to move 2,000 acres of structurally complex, carbon-dense forests into conservation status, part of the state’s Climate Commitment Act passed last year. That act also included $70 million to purchase replacement lands that can still be worked to support the junior taxing districts that rely on timber sales to fund critical services like fire and schools.

Duane Emmons, assistant deputy for state uplands, told commissioners Monday that DNR needs concurrence from the counties before it can begin selecting replacement lands.

“We can’t move on to the next stage of work until we get the areas finalized,” Emmons said.

The language of the act gave the department some flexibility in selecting replacement lands, Emmons said, as various kinds of trust lands can be used as replacements.

“It’s a huge priority,” said District 2 Commissioner Heidi Eisenhour, “that we are sure that we find replacement acres for those junior tax districts.

Of the 2,000 acres DNR has identified, 952 are in Jefferson County, mostly around Dabob Bay, where 671 acres will be moved into conservation status and used to expand the Dabob Bay Natural Area. Another 281 acres is being set aside in the Mount Walker and Notch Pass areas.

DNR sent the county a letter in December asking for concurrence before Jan. 31, so the land selection process can begin.

Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to have Eisenhour draft the letter, but they also voted to include a paragraph asking state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz if some of Jefferson County’s conservation acres could be “donated” to Clallam County to secure land near Lake Sutherland.

“We’re happy to write the letter, but we would like exploration of this idea,” Eisenhour said. “I think it could be a win-win for the Peninsula.”

Earlier this month, Clallam County commissioners delayed giving their concurrence to DNR’s selection until the department can provide more information about the impact on junior taxing districts.

Clallam County commissioners had requested the Shore Thing sale parcel south of Lake Sutherland be included in DNR’s selection, but it was not.

Emmons said he had not asked Franz if one county donating acres to another was possible, but said he could raise the issue with her.

“I can try and have those discussions with the commissioner,” Emmons said.


Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at

More in News

Quilcene schools, Clallam Bay fire district measures passing

Voters in Jefferson and Clallam counties appear to have passed measures for… Continue reading

Tribe seeking funds for hotel

Plans still in works for downtown Port Angeles

Clallam County eyes second set of lodging tax applications

Increase more than doubles support from 2023

Olympic Medical Center reports operating losses

Hospital audit shows $28 million shortfall

Jefferson County joins opioid settlement

Deal with Johnson & Johnson to bring more than $200,000

Ballots due today for elections in Clallam, Jefferson counties

It’s Election Day for voters in Quilcene and Clallam… Continue reading

Jefferson PUD has clean audit for 2022

Jefferson County Public Utility District #1 has received a… Continue reading

Jefferson Transit opens survey on climate action plan

Jefferson Transit Authority will conduct a survey through June… Continue reading

Three volunteers sought for Clallam County Disability Board

The Clallam County Disability Board is seeking volunteers to… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Mary Kelso, Jane Marks, Barbara Silva and Linda Cooper.
School donation

The Port Angeles Garden Club donated $800 to the Crescent School in… Continue reading

Clayton Hergert, 2, along with is mother, Mandy Hergert of Port Angeles, sit at the bow of a U.S. Coast Guard response boat on display during Saturday’s Healthy Kids Day at the Port Angeles YMCA. The event, hosted by all three Olympic Peninsula YMCA branches, featured children’s activities designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and a love for physical activity. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Captain on deck

Clayton Hergert, 2, along with is mother, Mandy Hergert of Port Angeles,… Continue reading

Clallam County Fire District 3 commissioners agreed on April 2 to seek a real estate market analysis for Lost Mountain Station 36 after multiple attempts to seek volunteers to keep the station open. They’ll consider selling it and using funds for emergency supplies in the area, and offsetting construction costs for a new Carlsborg fire station. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Fire District to seek market analysis for station

Proceeds could help build new building in Carlsborg