State approves series of land acquisitions —

State approves series of land acquisitions

Tri City Herald Editorial Board, May 13, 2008

COLVILLE -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved five land transactions.

The nine-member commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, approved the acquisitions for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation in Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skagit and Snohomish counties during its meeting last week. Parcels to be acquired with grants from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program are:

-- 1,079 acres of wetlands, streams and other diverse fish and wildlife habitat along the West Branch of the Little Spokane River, between Fan and Horseshoe lakes in southern Pend Oreille County.

-- 19.54 acres on Beaver Creek between Twisp and Winthrop in central Okanogan County to be managed within the Methow Wildlife Area for bull trout, songbirds, mule deer and more.

-- Two parcels of riparian forest and wetland habitat at the convergence of the north and south forks of the Skagit River, north of Conway in Skagit County.

A fifth parcel -- 808 acres of Deadwater Slough wetlands east of the Snohomish River and west of Ebey Slough near Everett in Snohomish County -- will be acquired with a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant and managed along with adjacent department property in the Ebey Island unit of the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area.
If the effort is successful, the Tri-Cities would enjoy a unique natural asset, providing a welcome addition to our quality of life.
The hitch, of course, is money. And it will take a lot of it.

If the Friends come up with $1 million by the end of June, the group can apply for a matching $1 million State Recreation and Conservation Office grant.

The Friends of Badger Mountain already have drummed up some community support from local businesses and a few generous individuals, but Sharon Grant, president of Friends, doesn't discount the smaller donors. Hundreds of individuals donated in the push to buy Badger Mountain.

Grant points out that if 10,000 families donated $100 each, they would have their first million.
There still are a lot of "ifs" in the deal.
If the Friends of Badger Mountain can raise the $1 million by the end of June. If the group is awarded the matching grant from the state. If the sellers and buyers can come to a mutual agreement.

But it seems doable. We would like to see this project succeed, "if" it can.

Editorials are the consensus of the Tri-City Herald editorial board.

Editorial board members are Rufus Friday, publisher; Chris Sivula, editorial page editor; Ken Robertson, executive editor; Matt Taylor, contributing editor; Lori Lancaster, editorial writer; Shelly Norman, editorial writer and Jack Briggs, retired publisher

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