DNR proposes expanding conservation area near Mount Si

A public hearing to discuss the expansion of Mount Si and Middle Fork Snoqualmie natural resources conservation areas is scheduled for Nov. 10.

The state Department of Natural Resources scheduled the meeting that will offer information and collect public input on the expansion of the current boundaries. The 7,119-acre expansion would allow acquisition of privately owned lands. In a statement released Tuesday, the department said it “acquires lands only from willing sellers, based on market price determined by an independent appraisal.”

The proposed expansion area is northeast of North Bend, along the western edge of the Mount Baker-

Snoqualmie National Forest.

The Mount Si area first covered 4,670 acres when it was designated in 1987. It has since been expanded to 13,363 acres, protecting old-growth forests, wildflower areas and habitat for mountain goats. It also includes the popular hikes on Mount Si.

The Middle Fork area was established in 2011 and covers 9,000 acres. It protects wildlife habitat, scenic views and the upper reaches of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

“An NRCA boundary expansion imposes no change in land-use zoning, development code requirements, or any other restrictions on landowners. It is an administrative action to designate where DNR will work with willing property owners to expand the state-owned natural area. Privately owned lands within the boundary only become part of the conservation area if they are sold to DNR,” a department statement said.

The department manages 36 natural resources conservation areas statewide. The conservation areas protect lands having high conservation values for ecological systems, scenic qualities, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreational opportunities, according to the department’s website.

Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through 5 p.m. Nov. 24. Written comments should be sent to Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Attn: Kelly Heintz, 950 Farman Ave. N., Enumclaw, WA 98022; or by sending an email with the subject line, “NRCA Boundary Proposal” to kelly.heintz@dnr.wa.gov.