Pope Resources’ Timber Harvest in Port Gamble Heritage Park
Since 2007 Pope Resources has been working with a broad coalition of stakeholders as part of the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project to conserve forestland in North Kitsap, and prevent development. In 2014 Pope Resources sold 535 acres (the Shoreline Block) to Kitsap County for conservation and development into the Port Gamble Heritage Park. That purchase included both land development rights and the standing timber on the land. In December of 2016, Pope Resources sold Kitsap County an additional 1,360 acres of land in the Port Gamble block, increasing the Park to about 1,900 acres total. However, in this second sale, Pope Resources retained the right to harvest the standing timber for 25 years. After Pope Resources harvests the existing timber and replants new, the new trees will belong to Kitsap County.
Why are the existing trees not purchased for conservation?
Buying just the land and not the timber allows for more acres to be conserved for future generations. Pope Resources sold the 1,360 acres of land without trees for $2.36 million, funded by a legislative appropriation through the Department of Ecology (DOE). Had Pope Resources sold this same land with the trees, the DOE appropriation would have only conserved approximately 250 acres. After the 25-year period is completed, Pope Resources will no longer have any harvesting rights and Kitsap County will own both the land and trees.
What trees will be replanted?
Pope Resources is responsible for planting as required by Washington State’s Forest Practices Regulations. Kitsap County and Pope Resources will coordinate to plant native species that will provide for a more diverse future stand to develop over time.
When will the harvest happen?
Harvesting will occur periodically over a 25-year time frame. Harvesting typically occurs in fall and an average of about 50 acres will be harvested each year as the trees reach marketable size.
How does harvesting affect public access?
During active harvest operations, trails and roads internal to the harvest area will be closed to public access. Closed areas will be delineated in the field and with public notification. Roads accessing the area will remain open so you should expect log truck and other vehicle traffic. These closures must be respected for both the contractor’s and the public’s safety. Willful violations of the closures will be reported to law enforcement.
Who can I contact for more information?
Current Timber Harvest in Port Gamble Heritage Park
In accordance with the purchase agreement, Pope Resources expects to begin harvesting 80 acres adjacent on the north end of the Port Gamble Heritage Park, beginning the last week in September of 2017 and may last though January of 2018 (see the attached map for the specific location). Closed areas will be delineated in the field. During active harvest operations, the harvest area, trails, and roads internal to the harvest area will be closed to public access. This includes the following trails; Hope, E.T., and portions of Ewok and Ranger. Roads accessing the area will remain open, however, but you should be alert for log truck and other vehicle traffic. These closures must be respected for both the contractor’s and the public’s safety. Willful violations of the closures will be reported to law enforcement.
Allowing Pope to harvest trees over the next 25 years was a tradeoff that allowed Kitsap County to expand the land acquisition by over 1000 additional acres that could not have been purchased if the trees were included with the land. Put another way, the purchase of all trees on the 1360 acres would have cost an additional $9 million of so. No trees will be harvested from the initial 535 acre purchase and Pope will replant harvested areas with a diverse mix of native trees after the work is done.