A 535 acre chunk of Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula will be protected from future development under a 4.5 million dollar deal, announced Wednesday.
The chunk of land abuts Port Gamble Bay and includes tidelands, mudflats and 1.5 miles of shoreline along state route 104.
The land was owned by Pope Resources, a timber company. It’s a small but important part of a 7,000 acre parcel the company wants to sell.
The Washington department of Ecology, with help from the National Fish and Wildlife Service, is picking up the tab for this section.
Michelle Connor is a vice president at Forterra, the environmental group who has lead the funding effort to put this area of timberland into conservation.
She says the purchase of this waterfront parcel is a solid step in the right direction.
“The hard part now is for people to understand that this is a whole connected system and this won’t thrive unless we protect the forest land behind it” said Connor.
The purchase prevents the land from being subdivided for housing development.
The Port Gamble S'Klallam tribe’s reservation is on the opposite side of the bay. Jeromy Sullivan is the tribal chairman and says protecting the shoreline will help protect the tribe’s shellfish resource in the bay.
“We see that as a positive. We wish that the whole thing would have been purchased up but that didn’t quite happen yet” said Sullivan.
The area surrounding an old mill on Port Gamble Bay, as well as the small town of Port Gamble could still be redeveloped.
Copyright 2013 KUOW