EDITORIAL: Senate needed for monumental step —

EDITORIAL: Senate needed for monumental step

By the Editorial Board
Kitsap Sun

The purchase and sale agreement signed this week between Forterra and Pope Resources is a significant step, but let’s remind legislators of its importance — and their pending role — before popping any corks.

The deal would preserve about 535 acres along Port Gamble Bay through the $4.65 million sale, securing the first piece of the North Kitsap Forest and Bay Project to be turned over for public ownership. The 1.5 miles of shoreline property has among the highest values of the 7,000 acres of Pope land just south of Port Gamble, both in a sense of real estate worth and the environmental value for a sensitive bay going through significant clean up.

After six years of negotiations and other changes to this historic proposal, this is a meaningful accomplishment, paid for through a mix of state and federal grants, local funds, private donations and money dedicated to environmental clean up. It’s hopefully the first of several we’ll see by next spring.

So why the worry? Two items in the current Senate budget: One that does away with a ranking system that helps allocate money spent through the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program, and funding in its current budget, at $39 million, would be the lowest in the program’s 24-year-history. ...

More at the Kitsap Sun.

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