Letters to the Editor

Blanchard funding

In 2008, a diverse group of stakeholders created the Blanchard Mountain Strategy to guide management of Blanchard Mountain. The strategy set aside 1,600 acres as a recreation and conservation area. This protected the iconic Oyster Dome, three lakes and a trail system through lovely mature forest. The rest of the mountain would be logged, enabling state land trust beneficiaries to continue receiving revenue. Blanchard’s trails are used by people of all ages, ethnicities, income and education. Mountain bikers, horse people and hikers share the mountain. They come from Skagit and Whatcom counties and from as far as Seattle and Vancouver. The mountain is a valuable asset to Skagit and Whatcom counties: we are so fortunate to have this beautiful recreation area so close! The catch? The DNR needs funding to purchase replacement lands for the protected area. To date the state Legislature has provided $6.5 million, but the deadline for funding the strategy is about to expire with $7.7 million still needed. Your voice is needed by Feb. 10 to encourage our legislators to appropriate these funds to the DNR. Without the appropriation the integrity of the strategy will be lost, and with it a beloved icon of great environmental and recreational worth. Both the Skagit Land Trust and Conservation Northwest’s websites provide more information and tools for reaching out to our legislators.

Letters to the Editor

College honors

Congrats to Whatcom Community College being included among the150 best colleges in the nation as compiled by the Aspen Institute. Interested in lifelong learning, a few years ago I took an algebra course at WCC and was impressed with the professionalism of teachers, staff and administration and I passed my viewpoint to friends and family. A feather in our cap for Bellingham.

Letters to the Editor

Prison reform

There is a rare opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate in 2016. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored SB2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. This bill focuses on reducing sentences for people incarcerated in federal prisons for nonviolent drug-related crimes, not for those in state or local jails.

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