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To the Editor:

In recent weeks controversy over management of the Roslyn Urban Forest has escalated. The issue is forestry: what is the best way to address the forest's beetle kill while following long-term management requirements for the health of the forest?

The majority of the council backed the mayor in filing a forest practices application (FPA) with DNR that they have acknowledged does not comply with the binding Land Stewardship Plan (LSP) that was a condition of creating the Roslyn Urban Forest. Concerned citizens have opposed these plans and have asked the city to withdraw its current FPA.

In 2004, the citizens' group RIDGE and Suncadia together acquired Roslyn Urban Forest for the City. At that time, both parties wanted to enable future logging for forest health while preventing any future administration from taking the forest “to the bank” by commercially logging for revenue. To that end they required, and Roslyn agreed to, a permanent “Declaration of Covenant” that prohibited logging within the Forest “except in compliance with a Land Stewardship Plan” (LSP). In 2007 Roslyn adopted this LSP and granted RIDGE and Suncadia the right to approve or reject future amendments to it. Since then, both RIDGE and Suncadia’s rights were transferred to successors, Conservation Northwest and New Suncadia LLC.

Lots of abbreviations, lots of technicalities. But the issue is clear.

The city is pursuing an FPA that threatens Roslyn with increased danger of fire, flood and beetle infestation while doing lasting damage to ecological, scenic and wildlife values that the Forest’s Land Stewardship Plan was intended to protect.

In what may be a positive development, on April 1, the City of Roslyn and Conservation Northwest agreed to jointly fund an evaluation of the city's proposed logging activity. The idea is to come up with immediate modifications to these plans that are in keeping with the Land Stewardship Plan, incorporating better management practices, while addressing the beetle kill. Resilient Forestry is doing the work.

The city has not agreed to follow Resilient Forestry's recommendations, and it is still seeking approval of the FPA that damages the forest and fails to comply with the LSP. We are hopeful that the Mayor and Council will incorporate Resilient Forestry's proposals. This could open a path to revising the current Long Term Forest Practices Application (2018) to address the emergent beetle infestation without causing further damage to our beautiful Urban Forest.

Doug Kilgore


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