DNR Does the Right Thing!
Back in 1989 when I first moved to Washington State, old-growth trees were being cut down faster than Congress can spend money on wars, entitlements, and subsidies. Matter-of-fact, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which manages over five million acres of our public lands had a hard time trying to convince me that DNR didn't stand for Department of Nothing Remaining! But common sense and a more balanced approach (not yet achieved by Congress however when it comes to spending) started becoming the order for DNR in the mid 1990s. Among the department's new enlightenment was that we didn't have to cut down every tree to fund our schools (which can probably do a little more belt-tightening-but that's another story). Yep, there were some areas, particularly groves of old-growth and exceptional wildlife lands that are more valuable to us standing for recreation, wildlife and watershed protection than by being piles of lumber. DNR continues to march to this new and improved management strategy by declaring over 10,000 acres of its Middle Fork Snoqualmie River lands as a Natural Resources Conservation Area. That announcement was delivered at the Mountain to Sounds Greenway Trust's annual dinner on December 2. Read here. What this means in the bigger picture for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley, is that the move to declare adjacent US Forest Service lands as wilderness is all the more important now. For if the bill that is currently before Congress (thanks to Congressman Reichert and Senator Murray) is approved into law, a much larger contiguous piece of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie will now be protected. Good move DNR. Now, lets move Congress to get the wilderness bill passed. And hopefully our governor who has shown great indifference in her 5 years in office to adequately fund our state parks and lands (even during good times-where did all the money go, Ms Gregoire?) will see the light too and not fiscally destroy this valuable agency.