King County Forestry Program
King County's Forestry Program focuses on the retention of forestland for its environmental, social, and economic benefits. The Program provides education, technical assistance, and economic incentives aimed at retaining the forest resources of King County.
Forests cover approximately two-thirds of the land area in King County and over 240,000 acres are in private ownership. King County forests offer important recreational opportunities, improve and maintain air and water quality, and provide food, water and habitat for endangered salmon and other wildlife. These same forests provide employment in wood, paper, recreation, tourism and fishing industries. Combined with agriculture, private working lands in King County generate over $150 million annually for landowners...much more for the overall county economy once raw products are processed.
King County’s 1996 Farm and Forests Report laid the foundation for the County's Forestry Program and was a call for action based upon the documented reduction of forested land by one-third between 1972 and 1996. Among the 20 recommended strategies identified in the 1996 plan were actions that continue to greatly benefit rural forest landowners, including creation of the Rural Forest Commission, strengthening the Current Use Taxation programs, and permanently protecting priority forestland.
The 1996 report was followed by a 2009 report issued by the Rural Forest Commission entitled Actions Required for King County to Conserve Rural Forests which further refined recommendations for actions needed to protect rural forestland and to support rural forest landowners. There has been significant progress on the eighteen priority actions outlined in the 2009 document and we intend to issue a 10-year progress report and plan update in 2019.
What We Do
The primary objectives of the King County Forestry Program are to enhance forest health on private, non-industrial and King County-owned forestland, enhance economic opportunities from forest management and reduce private landowner/urban interface risk from wildfire. Much of our work is in partnership with King Conservation District and WSU Extension Forestry. Specific responsibilities of the County Forest Program staff include:
- Forestry help for landowners
- Forestry Financial Incentives
- Forest policy and planning in King County
- Steward healthy forests on King County Parks lands
- Staff the King County Rural Forest Commission
- Forest fire safety
- Assist forest landowners to navigate permitting and regulatory challenges
Forestry Program Successes
- Since its inception in 1996, the forestry program has assisted approximately 2,535 landowners on approximately 136,800 acres with technical assistance on forest stewardship matters.
- Staff foresters provide an average of 400 landowner consultations per year.
- Approximately 45 landowners complete the coached forest planning workshops each year and approximately 1,500 landowners have taken the classes thus far.
Facts related to forestry in King County can be found here.
WSU Extension is holding a day-long winter school for small forest landowners at Green River College in Auburn on February 23. For more information, visit either the WSU Extension website or Facebook page.
- Forestry Program Staff
- Forestry Facts
- King Conservation District
- WSU Extension Forestry
- Agriculture in King County
- Rural services
- Loop® Biosolids