Working forests are integral to Washington’s heritage and economy. Timber harvests provide lumber, paper products, and even materials for disposable face masks. According to www.workingforests.org, over 60% of Clallam County is made up of forested land, and 42% of those forests are managed as working forests. Spurred by conscientious landowners with a desire to conserve the many values of their lands, North Olympic Land Trust has conserved over 460 acres of working forests in our region.
Much of this work was influenced by the late Harry Lydiard, who has the unique distinction of having conserved more land with North Olympic Land Trust than any other individual. Over 300 acres of timber and farmland conserved with the Land Trust are a lasting reflection of Lydiard’s land ethic. This includes four tree farms that total 280 acres of timberland, forever protected for sustainable harvesting. According to Land Trust executive director Tom Sanford, “Harry’s dedication to maintaining our region’s natural resources and his efforts to keep those resources available for future generations has helped shape the Land Trust’s overall appreciation for both working and wild lands.” In 2015, the Land Trust honored Lydiard as part of a group of landowners who have helped conserve farmland (Bell Farm), and in 2018 Lydiard was posthumously honored with the Gary Colley Legacy Award, presented to those who are instrumental to the evolution of North Olympic Land Trust.
In addition to lands stewarded by the Lydiard family, working forests conserved by the Land Trust include Lazy J Tree Farm and Blue Mountain Tree Farm (at 160 acres the largest conservation easement held by the Land Trust). Through these partnerships, best forest management practices are encouraged to allow for continued timber production while promoting overall ecosystem health. Well-managed working forests help sustain Clallam County’s rural communities, while also safeguarding ecological and scenic values. The goal is to merge sustainable forest management, local economies, and healthy ecosystems into a land ethic that can support resilient communities, bountiful salmon, and magnificent forests.