POULSBO — Pope Resources announced that it will spray herbicides in Jefferson County throughout the Hood Canal Tree Farm during the summer, using both aerial sprays and backpacking teams.
Aerial spraying is not the best tactic for some areas, so that is why the backpacking teams are being used, said spokesman Adrian Miller.
“We are aware of the concerns in more densely populated areas and will be enlisting the help of backpacking crews to carefully apply herbicide in these areas as well as in areas where helicopter operations are not logically feasible,” Miller said via press release.
“These applications are necessary to remove unsafe weeds from overtaking the growth of new trees.”
The state requires Pope to use a professional contracted company for the spraying and apply for permits in regard to the aerial spraying, said Miller.
Their permits for the aerial spraying are in review and the decision regarding them will be made by Aug. 1, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The back spraying should start by the end of July and finish in September, as no permits are required, Miller said.
The Hood Canal Tree Farm is a patchwork of land throughout Jefferson County that is owned by Pope Resources. A full map of what locations will be sprayed can be found at www.popeneighbor2 neighbor.com/jefferson- maps.
Pope will be making different attempts to contact neighbors of the spray zones through posted signage and mailing notifications, Miller said.
“As is our practice, we evaluate each harvested area on a case by case basis,” Miller said via press release.
“We will not automatically spray an area for weed control.”
The safety of the community and environment is a major priority for Pope Resources, said Miller.
“Safety remains our top concern — for our employees and contractors, for our neighbors and for all who enjoy our private timberland for recreation,” Miller said. “We have invited representatives of the state Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources to observe our application process.
“Every herbicide and application faces rigorous regulation and scrutiny by state officials. We believe these applications are necessary to control weeds in these areas and are committed to taking all necessary steps for a safe application.”
Pope land is commonly used by hunters, who Miller said shouldn’t worry about the spraying impacting the upcoming hunting season.
“It shouldn’t have an effect during hunting season,” Miller said. “The applications will generally take place before hunting season and the chemicals that we use do not impact wildlife.
“These are herbicides, so they kill the brush relatively quickly after the herbicide is applied. So there is very little risk to human or animal health.”
Miller recommends that hunters and recreational users of the land with concerns check the maps and avoid the areas.
Pope Resources supported a herbicide work group created through the passing of State Bill 5597, that was sponsored by Bainbridge Democratic Sen. Christine Rolfes.
More information regarding the specific locations of the spraying can be obtained by either calling the state Department of Agriculture at 1-877-301-4555 or going online to www.pope neighbor2neighbor.com.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].