SEATTLE, Aug. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today announced an agreement to open roughly 90 acres of sustainably managed private forest near the peaks of West Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, Wash., to permanent public access following a planned harvest this month. Working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Weyerhaeuser will then support rebuilding trails and opening the property for public recreational access as soon as possible after the completion of harvest activities this fall.
Weyerhaeuser has gradually transitioned most of its acreage on and around Tiger Mountain to public ownership starting in the 1970s, helping establish the trails system that has become a popular resource along the I-90 corridor for outdoors enthusiasts in Seattle and surrounding areas. The company retained these 90 acres in part to maintain access and clearance for communications towers located on the mountain. While still preserving access to the towers for ongoing maintenance, Weyerhaeuser has committed to a long-term conservation strategy on its remaining acres on West Tiger Mountain to ensure largely contiguous public access throughout Tiger Mountain State Forest.
"Our vision for forest preservation within the Issaquah Alps and across the entire Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area has always included a balance of both forest conservation and retention of working forest lands," said Jon Hoekstra, executive director for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. "Tiger Mountain is a unique place where many uses come together: conservation in some areas, sustainable timber harvest in others, recreational activities, and environmental protection of headwater streams for salmon. We value our decades-long history of collaboration with public land management agencies and private landowners like Weyerhaeuser to achieve a positive mix of public and environmental benefits on the landscape."
"Tiger Mountain is a unique and beloved place to us," said Lindsay Frickle, executive director of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club. "It's at the center of much of our advocacy work and has always included working forests alongside conservation and recreation. Our work over the last 40 years in collaboration with land management agencies as well as Weyerhaeuser has focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for all land use needs. We realize no one likes to see logging in their own backyard, but we believe there can be a balance between working forests, conservation, wildlife and recreation. The positive outcomes we've advocated for, including a conservation strategy for land where possible, replanting of healthy and resilient forests, and the restoration of trail systems for recreation on Tiger, prove that's true. Throughout this harvest and afterwards, we will encourage conversations from all perspectives, including conservation groups, recreationists and the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this land since time immemorial. We will also voice the ongoing concerns of our community and promote solutions that balance the needs of all who love the Issaquah Alps."
Working in consultation with the Greenway Trust and IATC, DNR is leading the design work on rebuilding a sustainable trail system.
"We are working in good faith with all our partners and will do our best to help mitigate disruptions to the trail system on West Tiger Mountain," said Scott Sargent, DNR's South Puget Sound Region Manager.
Weyerhaeuser expects harvest activities to be completed before the end of the year, and trail work could begin on the ground as soon as spring 2022. In addition to reconnecting existing corridors that were closed or changed during the harvest period, planners are looking at opportunities to adjust and improve certain routes, including how to capitalize on new view opportunities near the summit. Also, in accordance with Weyerhaeuser's sustainable forestry standards and state regulations, 100 percent of the area will be replanted after the harvest with a mix of native Douglas-fir, noble fir and other species.
"We recognize the tremendous importance of this land to the recreational community, and we have always valued working proactively with local organizations, conservation groups, public land managers and other partners," said Travis Keatley, vice president of Western Timberlands for Weyerhaeuser. "We appreciate their understanding of the value of working forests in Washington, and we're excited to find a positive solution on West Tiger Mountain that will ensure long-term, and safe, public access to this special area."
Of the nearly 23 million acres of forestland in the state of Washington, nearly 11 million acres are working forests. These forests are described as "working forests" because they produce a sustainable supply of trees for the production of essential wood, paper and pulp-based products, all while providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, among many other benefits. Nearly 70 percent of the timber harvest in Washington comes from privately owned forestland, and working forests overall support more than 101,000 jobs in communities across the state.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, began operations in 1900. We own or control approximately 11 million acres of timberlands in the U.S. and manage additional timberlands under long-term licenses in Canada. We manage these timberlands on a sustainable basis in compliance with internationally recognized forestry standards. We are also one of the largest manufacturers of wood products in America. Our company is a real estate investment trust. In 2020, we generated $7.5 billion in net sales and employed approximately 9,400 people who serve customers worldwide. We are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index. Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WY. Learn more at www.weyerhaeuser.com.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages nearly 1,300 miles of trails and 160-plus recreation sites in 3 million acres of working forest state trust lands and 92 natural areas. DNR trust lands keep forests development-free, provide clean water, and generate revenue for public services and school construction. DNR also conserves 164,000 acres of highest-quality ecological features in designated Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resources Conservation Areas that provide opportunities for research, environmental education and low-impact recreation. For the latest information on recreation on DNR-managed lands, visit dnr.wa.gov/open.
ABOUT MOUNTAINS TO SOUND GREENWAY TRUST
The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area is a unique geographic corridor made up of connected ecosystems and communities spanning 1.5-million-acres from Seattle to Ellensburg along the I-90 corridor. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is a coalition-based organization that leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance this special landscape, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to conserve and restore natural lands, open spaces, and historic sites; build and maintain recreational trails; engage with students through our environmental education program; advocate for public lands and recreational access; lead a robust volunteer program; and so much more. Learn more at mtsgreenway.org.
ABOUT THE ISSAQUAH ALPS TRAILS CLUB
The Issaquah Alps Trails Club is a 40-year old organization dedicated to engaging the public to preserve, protect, and promote the land, wildlife, and trails of the Issaquah Alps for present and future generations. We raise awareness around challenges facing our public lands through guided hikes and community education. We take action to make sure everyone can enjoy the trails, parks, and open spaces of the Issaquah Alps now and into the future. Learn more about the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, or join us for an event at issaquahalps.org.
For more information contact:
Analysts – Beth Baum, 206-539-3907
Media – Mary Catherine McAleer, 206-539-4546
SOURCE Weyerhaeuser Company