A conservation group has made the largest private land acquisition in Washington’s history, purchasing forest land in the Cascade Mountains from a timber company.
The Nature Conservancy bought nearly 48,000 acres of land in the Cascade Mountains, between Snoqualmie Pass and Cle Elum.
The lands are home to spotted owls, elk, salmon, and ponderosa pine. The purchase also encompasses the headwaters of the Yakima River.
Mike Stevens is the Washington state director for the Nature Conservancy. He said the group wants to restore parts of the forest to its natural condition, reduce the risk wildfires, and sell timber in certain areas.
“We can manage the forests in a way that is supportive of conservation goals, supportive of the goal of delivering clean water to the Yakima Basin, and for providing public access,” Stevens said.
The group paid timber company Plum Creek $49 million for the land.
This purchase nearly doubles the amount of land The Nature Conservancy owns in Washington state.
Copyright 2014 Northwest Public Radio