A Startup woman has begun circulating a petition to stop a timber harvest that would remove trees from nearly 200 of acres of land located northeast of Gold Bar near Wallace Falls State Park.
Inessa Pearce, a paraeducator and Russian translator for the Monroe School District, moved to the Sky Valley 17 years ago. Amazed at the park-like beauty of the area, Pearce quickly fell in love with the Skykomish River and the lush, green forests surrounding her home. So she was stunned three years ago when the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began logging the hillside located northeast of her residence.
"It went for months and months and months,GÇ¥ Pearce said. "And the next year, they started logging in the spring again.GÇ¥
Now, with some of her livelihood invested in her new lodging business, Pearce is not interested in seeing any more trees go. When she heard about the Singletary timber sale, a large-scale timber harvest slated for the Sky Valley area, she created a petition in hopes of spreading awareness of the situation.
"My business is a recreational lodging business, so I rent out half of my house to visitors who come to the valley from all over the United States,GÇ¥ Pearce said.
Her business, known as Rocky's Retreat, has been functioning since March of this year. Pearce worries about excessive logging around her home because it takes away from the aesthetic appearance of the area.
"People come and they see this,GÇ¥ Pearce said, gesturing to a hillside near Startup that is devoid of trees. "People don't like it. They come to see green and forests.GÇ¥
Constitutionally mandated, DNR timber sales provide funding for K-12 education and things like emergency services. The revenue generated from the sale near Wallace Falls State Park is slated for Snohomish County, with funds to be allocated to the Sultan School District, EvergreenHealth Monroe and Snohomish County Fire District No. 26 located in Gold Bar.
But Pearce is convinced that there has to be a better way to get the money. She has been collaborating with other local conservation agencies, including the Sierra Club, Save the Sky River and Friends of Heybrook Ridge, in hopes of learning the best way to effectively handle such a complex issue. Her goal is lofty GÇô she wants legislators to alter the state constitution and abolish the trust land timber harvest mandate.
The predominant tree species in the area is Douglas fir, but the region to be harvested also features western hemlock, western red cedar, big leaf maple, red alder and black cottonwood. The harvest area directly borders the Wallace Falls State Park for roughly 3,200 feet. In the past, trust land transfers have been utilized to protect areas considered to be environmentally significant.
To learn more about Pearce's petition, please click here.
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