Conservation between Snoqualmie Pass and Cle Elum
at 4:24pm by David Kroman
In a news conference this afternoon, The Nature Conservancy announced two major land purchases: 48,000 acres in Washington state and 117,000 acres in Montana for a total of $134 million in acquisitions. Combined, the land totals more than 260 square miles. The Washington land is in the Central Cascades, along the I-90 corridor between Snoqualmie Pass and Cle Elum. It was purchased from Plum Creek Timber, a publicly traded timber company. As a conservation organization, the goal of The Nature Conservancy is to protect the land and the varied species of elk, birds, fish, bears, wolves and big cats within it. However, as Board of Trustees leader Mary Ruckelshaus put it, the land will be useful. Think Forest Service philosophy, not National Park. There will be selective logging, community access and recreation as well as conservation. The land is not one, large swath, but rather a checkerboard of plots. Plum Creek Timber was the odd man out in the area, surrounded by national forest, Yakama Nation land and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. According to members of The Nature Conservancy, the purchase will make conservation of the area much simpler as each of those organizations have a “shared management” of the land. For those interested, they are offering site tours of the new territory. — D.K.