March 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM
King County buys development rights to White River Forest
King County, reaching one of the biggest deals of its kind, has agreed to buy development rights on a 43,000-acre forest stretching from Enumclaw to Greenwater along the White River.
County Executive Dow Constantine announced the $11.1 million deal with Hancock Timber Resources Group at a news conference Thursday, saying it will expand the county’s “green wall against sprawl.”
The deal, approved Thursday by the Hancock board of directors, is subject to approval by the Metropolitan King County Council. Councilmembers Larry Phillips and Reagan Dunn, chair and vice chair respectively of the council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, declared their support for the agreement.
Constantine said the forest is the largest block of privately owned land in the county that isn’t already protected from development. It would continue to be operated as a working forest, with the public allowed to use the land for recreation.
The biggest deal of this type was King County’s 2004 purchase of development rights on Hancock’s 89,000-acre Snoqualmie tree farm.
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