Nature Conservancy, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Plum Creek team up for wildlife, people

SEATTLE: The Nature Conservancy has purchased 1,280 acres of timberland from Plum Creek in the Manastash area west of Ellensburg, and transferred it to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to be managed as part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.

This acquisition is the most recent in a decade-long project to weave together a checkerboard of public and private land in the Cascade Mountains. Working with partners including the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Yakama Nation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Conservancy has now brought more than 25,000 acres of private timberlands into public ownership as part of the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, securing public access and protecting this vital resource for our communities.

These particular sections are full of streams and tributaries that flow into the Yakima River. Conserving this forest will protect valuable river habitat for wildlife as well as ensure water downstream for people, fish, and the rich agriculture of the Yakima Valley.

Plum Creek has played an important role in keeping these forests intact while the Conservancy brought together financing to bring them into public ownership.

“Because of our collective efforts, these forests will continue to provide for people and nature for generations to come,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for The Nature Conservancy. “Protecting the streams and forests in this region supports the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Plan, assuring water for people, salmon, wildlife and farms into the future.”

“Plum Creek recognizes the public benefits of this project and is pleased to participate in the partnership that achieved this important conservation outcome,” said Jerry Sorensen, senior director of land management for Plum Creek.

“Together, we’re ensuring that the public will continue to have access to this land for fishing, hunting, hiking and camping,” said Mike Livingston, Southcentral Region director for WDFW. “This diverse habitat supports threatened and endangered species such as bull trout, steelhead, spotted owls and wolves, as well as big-game such as mule deer and elk.”

The Washington Department of Ecology provided funding for this project through its Office of Columbia River.

Plum Creek: Managing working forests for stewardship, rural prosperity, and shareholder value. Plum Creek is among the largest and most geographically diverse private landowners in the United States with timberlands in 19 states, and wood products mills in the Northwest.  We manage our lands using sustainable practices to benefit Plum Creek’s many stakeholders.  Our talented employees work together to serve as stewards of the environment, make wood products for everyday use, and build strong communities to create shareholder value. For more information, please visit www.plumcreek.com.

Contact information

Robin Stanton
The Nature Conservancy
(206) 436-6274

Kathy Budinick
Plum Creek
(206) 467-3620

Mike Livingston
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
(509) 457-9325