Washington state has purchased more than 50,000 acres of private timberlands in the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed to be operated as a community working forest. State officials on Monday hailed it as key in protecting the basin's water supply, restoring fisheries, conserving habitat and enhancing recreational opportunities. It's the largest single land transaction in the state in decades, and ensures the land remains a working forest.
The state bought the land in the Teanaway River Valley from American Forest Holdings with $87 million set aside by state lawmakers and a $10 million state loan.
The nonprofit conservation group Forterra had worked with the landowner for over a decade to negotiate a purchase and signed a sale agreement in April. Forterra assigned the agreement to the state in April.
Teanaway River Basin information from WA Dept. Ecology
October 1, 2013