OLYMPIA – The budget signed by Governor Christine Gregoire on May 2, 2012, includes $10 million dollars to 20 timber counties in Washington State. Checks will soon be distributed to the counties.
“I am grateful to the legislature and the Governor for including this badly needed money in the budget,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Counties need this assistance to help pay for vital services such as libraries and law enforcement. Government services at every level are feeling the pinch, and we are fortunate that we can provide a little relief.”
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages just over a half million acres of state forestlands on behalf of 20 counties, mostly in western Washington. Much of the acreage was deeded by the counties to the state’s care in the early 20th Century after the lands were heavily logged and abandoned by private owners.
In fiscal year 2011, those lands generated $96 million in non-tax revenue that was distributed to those counties from the Forest Development Account (FDA). After the $10 million is distributed the FDA will still have a 6 month reserve for operations. DNR uses a portion, currently 21 percent, of those revenues to manage natural resources sales, plant trees after timber harvests, protect clean water, and restore habitat on those lands.
Distribution of the $10 million is based on the 10-year average of each county’s revenue from state forestlands. Counties receiving the money will be utilized as part their budgeting processes. DNR will have no influence on how the funds will be used.
A list of counties and their distributed amount can be found on Section 706 of 3ESHB 2127 (page 228) at: