News Release 12-041
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Virginia Painter, State Parks (360) 902-8562
Robert Fimbel, State Parks (360) 902-8592
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388
State Parks partners with Corrections, DNR for Riverside forest health project
May 8, 2012 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is partnering with the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to complete a forest health project at the Plese Flats area of Riverside State Park in Spokane.
Last year, the University of Washington and agency staff identified Plese Flats as a high-priority area for forest health treatments because of elevated wildfire fuel loads and the risk of a mountain pine beetle infestation in the area. Planning efforts began with the goals of reducing the risks of wildfire and beetle infestation, enhancing residual tree growth and improving the development of understory grasses, forbes and shrubs. Work to implement this plan will begin mid-May to thin small, ponderosa pine trees (trees 2 to 10 inches in diameter) across a 90-acre area of Plese Flats.
Agency Stewardship and park staff, working with DNR and DOC staff, will oversee the safe felling and processing of the harvested trees by low-risk DOC offenders. Some of the trees, which have very little commercial value, will be processed as firewood for purchase at the park.
The agencies plan to treat 20 to 25 acres per year. Work for 2012 is expected to be completed by mid-June, with the total project expected to be completed by 2015.
“This project is a great example of state agencies collaborating to save taxpayer dollars and perform work that benefits the public,” said State Parks Director Don Hoch. “This project will enhance the health and function of the natural resources under our care and generate some income for the park by selling the wood for campfires.”
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The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 99-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
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