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A forest practice permit is required for the removal of 5,000 board feet or more of merchantable timber. This is the equivalent of approximately one standard log truck load of logs.

Class IV-General forest practices are forest practices that are conducted on (1) lands platted after January 1, 1960, (2) lands that have or are being converted to another use or (3) forest practices which would otherwise be Class III but which are taking place on lands that are not to be reforested because of likelihood of future conversion to urban development. Class I and Class II forest practices located within the UGA are, by definition, Class IV-General (see RCW 76.09.050, external links).

Until recently, all forest practices on non-federal lands were regulated by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In 1997, the FPA was amended giving authority to each city and county to exercise jurisdiction over all Class IV-General forest practices.

On August 10, 1999, DNR transferred the administration and enforcement of Class IV-General forest practices conducted within unincorporated King County to King County. DNR retained jurisdiction over Class I and II forest practices outside of the Urban Growth Area and over Class III and IV-Special forest practices.

Class IV-General forest practice permits are administered by King County through the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division (Permitting). This permit is often approved as an adjunct to another development permit such as a building permit or residential subdivision and in this circumstance would not require filing a separate application. If no other development is being proposed, a separate application for the Class IV forest practice would have to be filed with the department. This type of Class IV forest practice permit is processed in the same manner as a standard clearing and grading permit and uses the same fee schedule.  See the Clearing and Grading packet.

Effective January 1, 2005, King County established a new type of Class IV-General forest practice. This is a voluntary program that enables a landowner to conduct a conventional forest practice on lands that were platted after 1960 that would otherwise, by definition, be considered to be a conversion.

Property owners wishing to participate in this program will be required to develop a long term forest management plan (also known as a forest stewardship plan) and the property will be subject to the six-year development moratorium.

    If you have questions on filing an application for a Class IV-General non-conversion permit, contact the Permitting at 206-296-6600 or email

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