Snoqualmie Tree Farm sale to Hancock closes

SNOQUALMIE - Hancock Timber Resource Group has finalized its $185-million purchase of the Snoqualmie Tree Farm from Weyerhaeuser Co. and is preparing to hire area workers and reopen the 104,000-acre site to logging and recreational activities.

The company, a Boston-based division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, announced the deal's closure last week bringing to an end more than a year of speculation over the property, which was originally slated to be purchased by the nonprofit conservation group Evergreen Forest Trust.

In 2002, Weyerhaeuser and the trust entered into a yearlong purchase-and-sale agreement that prevented other potential buyers from acquiring the land. The trust was trying to get federal legislation passed that would allow it to issue tax-exempt bonds to fund the sale. When that deadline expired in January, Weyerhaeuser announced that it would entertain other offers.

The legislation was approved in March, but it was too late to save the deal as two weeks earlier the sale agreement with Hancock was announced.

John Davis, western regional manager for Hancock Timber Resource Group, said there are still a number of details to be worked out regarding a time frame for the logging of the farm, but said the company will likely start with two projects already permitted by Weyerhaeuser.

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