State approves 2 Yakima County land purchases

Staff reportNovember 17, 2013 

The state will purchase a 5,497-acre property 35 miles northwest of Yakima that provides prime habitat for elk, northern spotted owls, bull trout and other native species.

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission also approved a separate purchase by the department to add a 598-acre property to the Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County.

The commission approved both acquisitions during its meeting Nov. 8-9 in Olympia.

Commission Chairwoman Miranda Wecker commended the nonprofit organizations that offered the properties for sale – for their dedication to wildlife conservation.

“We applaud you for securing these properties for the public, and for the stewardship your organizations provide for lands under your care,” she told representatives of those groups at the meeting.

The properties, both on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains, will be managed to benefit wildlife, while also providing public access for outdoor recreation, Wecker said.

The agency secured an option to purchase the 5,497-acre Manastash property in Yakima County from the Nature Conservancy for an assessed price of nearly $4.7 million. Once the sale is finalized, the property will become part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.

The smaller property in Yakima County, historically owned by timber companies, is within the department’s Wenas Wildlife Area. It is home to elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and other species. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has offered to sell the property for its assessed price of $230,000.

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