Tenino adds forest to city park —

Tenino adds forest to city park

By John Dodge, Staff writer
The Olympian

TENINO - Tenino's city park and signature stone quarry swimming pool have received a new layer of protection with a recent 12-acre park expansion.

Nine acres of forested hillside behind the swimming hole, once slated for logging by the Weyerhaeuser Co., instead was sold to the city for $123,560, said Julie Keough, Weyerhaeuser’s forestland-use manager for the Vail Tree Farm.

The city and timber company also swapped about three acres each to complement the park expansion.

The deal, which closed Oct. 29, was the culmination of a grass-roots effort begun by Tenino residents more than two years ago to protect the park and swimming hole from logging.

“Everybody’s really happy,” Tenino resident and park-expansion project manager Paul Donohue said.

Citizen opposition to Weyerhaeuser’s proposed plans to log its property next to the park triggered meetings among a citizens groups called Friends of Tenino, city officials and Weyerhaeuser.

Weyerhaeuser agreed to postpone its logging operation while the city pursued funding to purchase land from the company to expand the park.

A breakthrough occurred in 2009, when the city landed a $57,500 state grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, matched by the city.

Subsequently, citizen park activists, aided by the Heernett Environmental Foundation, raised $5,000 toward the purchase. In addition, a $25,000 federal grant to the city from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is pending.

With the park expansion completed, the next phase of the project is to develop trails linking the park property to adjoining property owned by the Heernett group and dedicated to wildlife habitat and environmental education.

In October, Weyerhaeuser moved ahead with logging of 50 acres above the park.

“But the new acquisition completely screens the logged area from view,” Donohue said.

The logged land will remain in timber production and will be replanted soon, Keough said.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444 jdodge@theolympian.com

Read the complete story at The Olympian
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