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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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March 10, 2014
Contact: DNR Contact: Diana Lofflin, 360-902-1023
WDFW Contact: Mike Livingston, 509-457-9325

Members announced for Teanaway
Community Forest Advisory Committee

20-member panel will advise DNR and WDFW on development of a forest management plan

OLYMPIA - The Washington State departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have appointed a 20-member advisory committee that will help them develop a management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest in Kittitas County.

"I am extremely pleased that we have such a diverse group of highly qualified and passionate individuals to help the State of Washington develop the management plan for its first Community Forest," said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. "We are committed to working with our new advisory committee to ensure that the management plan we adopt for the Teanaway Community Forest reflects the values and priorities of the communities that fought so hard for its conservation."

When the Washington State Legislature and Governor approved the purchase of the 50,272-acre Teanaway property last year, they directed DNR, in consultation with WDFW, to manage the land as Washington's first state-owned community forest. They directed the agencies to develop a management plan by June 30, 2015, with the assistance of a community-based advisory committee, to address watershed protection, working lands for forestry and livestock grazing, recreational opportunities, conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, and establishment of an ongoing community partnership to guide management of the forest.

WDFW Director Phil Anderson said nearly 90 people applied for committee membership. "We had far more qualified candidates than membership slots, so we are encouraging everyone who applied to remain involved and contribute to the process," he said.

The committee's first meeting is scheduled for March 31 at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange, 1361 Ballard Hill Road, Cle Elum. Further details will be announced before the meeting. All advisory committee meetings will be open to the public.

Committee members, who will serve through June 30, 2015, include:

  • Gregg Bafundo of Tonasket, representing Trout Unlimited. He also serves as co-chair of the Washington Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and is a member of the Traditional Bowhunters of Washington and the WDFW Game Management Advisory Council.
  • Dale Bambrick of Ellensburg, a professional fish biologist, who has participated in outdoor recreation opportunities in the Teanaway Valley for many years. He has 28 years of experience working in the Yakima Basin and is a member of the Washington Water Trust board of directors.
  • Gary Berndt of Ellensburg, Kittitas County District 2 Commissioner. A resident of Kittitas County for 40 years and former Cle Elum mayor and city council member, he worked for DNR from the early 1970s through 2011.
  • Mark Charlton of Ellensburg, representing the Kittitas County Farm Bureau, of which he is president. He has worked with counties, cities, tribes and other groups to promote restoration projects in the Teanaway.
  • J.J. Collins of Roslyn, chair of the Kittitas Chamber of Commerce economic development committee and Forterra board member. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the board of advisers to the Central Washington University College of Business. He fishes, hikes and bicycles in the Teanaway.
  • Kitty Craig of Seattle, representing The Wilderness Society. A land use planner, she also serves on the lands subcommittee and outreach committee of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
  • Brian Crowley of Woodinville, representing the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. He owns property near the community forest and participates in fishing, hiking, trail maintenance, and mountain biking in the forest.
  • Jeri Downs of Cle Elum, a second-generation farmer in the Teanaway Valley. A retired teacher, Downs has farmed, grazed cattle, managed forestland, and engaged in many forms of recreation in the Teanaway Valley.
  • Reagan Dunn, a member of the King County Council who owns property near the southern boundary of the Community Forest. He is a member of several outdoor recreation and conservation groups, the Swauk-Teanaway Grange, Friends of the Teanaway, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust advisory committee.
  • Urban Eberhart of Ellensburg, representing the members of the Yakima Basin Joint Board, which includes the City of Yakima and several irrigation and reclamation districts, and the executive committee of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. He has worked on Yakima Basin resource issues for more than 30 years.
  • Deborah Essman of Ellensburg, president and representative of the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club. She is the treasurer of the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Kittitas Environmental Education Network. She hunts, fishes, rides horses, and pursues photography and bird-watching in the region.
  • James Halstrom of Ellensburg, a founding board member of Friends of the Teanaway. He is a member of Swauk-Teanaway Grange, and the Washington State Horticultural Association. He participates in horseback riding and trail restoration in the Teanaway.
  • Andrea Imler of Seattle, representing the Washington Trails Association. An active hiker, mountain biker, and camper, she also has been involved in communication and outreach for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
  • Steve Justham of Ronald, representing off-road vehicle users. Justham is active in groups that support trail use in the forest and is an active hiker, skier, backpacker, and dirt bike rider.
  • Wayne Mohler of Cle Elum, an engineering and project management consultant, representing the Washington State Snowmobile Association.
  • Jason Ridlon of Thorp, representing the Back Country Horsemen of Washington. He has ridden, fished, bicycled, and hunted in the Teanaway area and has worked in the logging industry in the region.
  • Phil Rigdon of Toppenish, deputy director of the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources.
  • Derek Sandison of Wenatchee, director of the Office of Columbia River for the state Department of Ecology.
  • Doug Schindler of Preston, representing the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. He is a past president of the Washington Trails Association, and has hiked, camped, and ridden horses in the Teanaway.
  • Martha Wyckoff of Cle Elum, a neighbor of the Community Forest and a family farm landowner for 25 years. Member and former national board member of the Trust for Public Land; member of the Swauk-Teanaway Grange and Friends of the Teanaway.

Washington's first state-managed community forest

The Teanaway Community Forest is located at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed. Its acquisition in 2013 was the largest single land transaction by Washington State in 45 years and reflects more than a decade of collaboration involving many organizations and individuals. The property is Washington's first state-managed community forest under the terms of legislation enacted in 2011. That law established a model for managing state trust lands that empowers communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests that support local economies and public recreation.

Acquisition of the property was a key step in implementing the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, an initiative developed by a coalition of public and private organizations to safeguard the basin's water supply, restore fisheries, conserve habitat, preserve working lands, and enhance recreational opportunities.

The forest will be managed through a partnership between DNR and WDFW, with input from the local community and interested stakeholders.