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Originally published Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM

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Sale protects nearly 6,900 acres of forest from development near Mount St. Helens

Pope Resources on Thursday announced the sale of a $2.4 million conservation easement to the state Department of Natural Resources adjacent to Mount St. Helens, permanently protecting the forestland from development.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Pope Resources on Thursday announced the sale of a $2.4 million conservation easement to the state Department of Natural Resources adjacent to Mount St. Helens, permanently protecting the forestland from development.

The easement prohibits development on nearly 6,900 acres of private forestland while allowing timber management and harvest to continue, as well as recreational use by the public.

"It is rewarding to see historically competing interests find the common ground in which everyone wins," said Jon Rose, president of Olympic Property Group of Pope Resources, in a prepared statement.

The conservation easement was purchased by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with funds from the federal Forest Legacy Program. The easement is on Pope timberlands south of Swift Reservoir in Skamania County, adjacent to state trust land managed by the DNR.

Pope's total forestland holdings in the area make up the largest tract of private land in Skamania County. Swinging the deal took continued work and cooperation of the rural county, the timber company and a conservation group, and may lead to larger accomplishments.

In the works for years with the Columbia Land Trust, the deal is one part of a larger-scale plan by the land trust and Pope Resources still in the making.

Pope and the land trust are working with county officials on a plan that would allow development of part of Pope's lands in the area while protecting 20,000 acres of forest overall from development.

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or lmapes@seattletimes.com

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