Washington Community Forest Trust Program
Protecting Working Forestlands for Communities
Since the 1980s, more than seventeen percent of Washington’s commercial forests have been converted to other land uses. As working forests vanish, so do many of their benefits, such as local timber sources, jobs, clean air and water, and open land for outdoor recreation. The Community Forest Trust program gives DNR and communities a way to protect these vital landscapes from conversion and to maintain all of these benefits.
The nomination period for funding in the 2017-2019 Biennium has closed.
How Does The Community Forest Trust Program Work?
Community Forest Trust lands are working forests that have significant value to local residents but are at high-risk of being converted to other, non-forest uses. Community Forest Trust lands are selected based on nominations by communities and purchased from willing sellers of private forestland or from other state land trusts. DNR prioritizes nominations based on the program’s statutory goals and presents those projects to the Board of Natural Resources for consideration. Projects approved by the Board are submitted to the legislature for funding of the state's portion of property acquisition costs. The community partner is responsible for a local financial contribution of at least fifty percent of the difference between the parcel’s appraised fair market value and the parcel’s timber and forest land value. The local community contribution may be provided through any means deemed acceptable by the department and the local contributor, including: (a) traditional financing or bonding; (b) the purchase of conservation easements; or (c) the purchase or transfer of development rights.
Community Forest Trust lands are held by the state and managed by DNR based on the location's working forest management plan. The working forest management plan, which is developed by DNR and a local advisory committee, must specify financial, conservation, and recreation objectives for the forest. State law requires that community forests be maintained in a working status and generate revenue at levels that are, at a minimum, capable of reimbursing the department for management costs and providing for some reinvestment into the forest's management objectives.
How Can Your Community Get Started?
- Identify local working forests at risk of conversion to other land uses
- Consult with DNR, as needed, in the identification and proposal process
- Gain broad community support for a Community Forest nomination
- Identify sources of funding for the local share of acquisition costs (at least 50 percent of the difference between the parcel’s appraised fair market value and the parcel’s timber and forest land value)
- Submit the Community Forest Trust Nomination Form and requested attachments when the next nomination period is announced.
For more information, contact Laurie Benson at email@example.com or (360)902-1120.