Final parcel added to Middle Fork Snoqualmie conservation area

The last piece of trust land inside the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area has been permanently conserved following a decision by the Washington State Board of Natural Resources.

The 26-acre parcel sits next to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, and its conservation was paid for by the Trust Land Transfer program. The $140,000 paid for the transaction will be used for the Common School Trust. It covers the value of the property and supports K-12 school construction across the state. It also provides money for the Department of Natural Resources to buy replacement forestland elsewhere in the state to generate revenue for schools.

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie conservation area was created in 2011 and includes more than 9,000 acres of King County between the Middle and South Forks of the Snoqualmie River. It also houses the popular hiking destination of Mailbox Peak, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The land is home to a variety of forests, with trees ranging in age from 15 to 500 years. The majority of lower elevation forests are 70 to 80 years old while older portions at higher altitudes have been around for half a millennium.

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie conservation area is next to the Mount Si conservation area. Together, they provide a 23,000-acre chunk of lands that protect wildlife and plant habitat while allowing low-impact recreation like hiking.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Natural Areas program manages more than 165,000 acres in 57 preserves and 38 conservation areas throughout the state. It manages the forestland, and controls non-native invasive species, restores wildlands and provides site-appropriate access for environmental education or low-impact recreation.