Yesterday, acquisition of 47,921 acres of land in the Central Cascades by The Nature Conservancy from Plum Creek Timber Company was announced. These acres include irreplaceable habitat for wildlife, including elk and bear, as well as rare and threatened species such as wolverine and spotted owl. Touching three lakes and adjacent to the Teanaway Community Forest, this project connects some of the most ecologically diverse forests in the world.
“We are incredibly pleased that The Nature Conservancy has made such a huge commitment to conserving important fish and wildlife habitat in the Upper Yakima Basin. This land is a critical connective corridor between the north and south Cascades for hundreds of species, and their acquisition of these checkerboard lands removes the risk of incompatible development. TNC’s approach to managing their lands for ecological integrity will be essential for the long term health of these species. We welcome them to the partnership that is building safe passage for wildlife across I-90 and this landscape,” said Charlie Raines, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition Director.
Among the many groups that have worked to conserve this great landscape are The Cascade Conservation Partnership, Forterra, Conservation Northwest, Mountains to Sound Greenway, Trust for Public Land, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation, the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, and the many members of our own coalition. The Forest Service, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Parks, and Washington Department of Transportation are agencies that have made substantial contributions to this effort.
“We are not only thrilled with this announcement of conservation today, but the opportunities for restoration of habitats and watershed health that this presents for tomorrow,” said Jen Watkins of I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition.