I strongly support King County’s acquisition of development rights on the 43,000 Hancock acres east of Enumclaw. This very important action will keep this area as a working forest, preserve wildlife habitat and ensure continued recreational opportunities for the public.
I was particularly cheered to hear of this acquisition shortly after a large tract of forest on the edge of Black Diamond began undergoing logging, in preparation for the huge urban planned development to be constructed there over the next 20 years. Seeing the beautiful large trees laid on the ground saddened me. When forest land near rural cities and towns in King County is lost to development, it is lost forever.
The farms and forests in and around Enumclaw are the heart of the Enumclaw community. Preservation of this large tract of Hancock forest will help to ensure that Enumclaw’s rural and timber resource heritage is maintained for the children and grandchildren of Enumclaw’s citizens. These resource lands are irreplaceable.
In response to the concerns expressed by Enumclaw City Council member Darrel Dickson over potential lost development opportunities on this land, I would say this. There is a considerable amount of undeveloped land within the city limits and the UGA already. There is no shortage of housing, or of subdivisions, in Enumclaw. The essence of living on the Plateau is not access to new real estate development projects. It is in the farms and fields, the views of Mount Rainier and the verdant green forests that surround our town. The city has worked hard to cultivate an identity as scenic small town, within a short distance of the best of the mountains and forests that make western Washington such a compelling place to live. Preserving the forests east of town in the foothills of Mount Rainier will keep our community green and ensure that recreational tourism will continue to contribute to the vitality of Enumclaw businesses.
The interests of the Enumclaw community will be greatly enhanced by this forest land acquisition. I applaud King County for making this deal possible and urge the King County Council to promptly approve it.