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.
Anne Braaten, Sedro Woolley