Letter to my Successor

Policy Issues at Washington State’s largest Conservation District

By Preston Drew
King Conservation District Board Supervisor
December 18, 2011

Congratulations on your election to King Conservation District Supervisor. You will have much to learn and absorb in the coming months. The purpose of this letter is to assist you in getting up to speed on district business. I also want to preserve a record of what happened during my term while my memory is fresh and give you some of my thoughts for improving how KCD does business. The idea of writing a letter to a new supervisor by the outgoing one was considered and supported at a recent KCD board meeting.

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Private Owner Harvest Considerations

The following are some basic procedures that landowners should consider in order to achieve best forest practices. These procedures will be of particular interest to landowners unfamiliar with harvesting and forest marketing.

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Before the Natural Resources Board

May 21, 2008

I would like to thank the members and staff of the board for allowing me the opportunity to testify today.

My name is Preston Drew. I’ve been in the logging business since 1972. In those years, I have been involved in about every aspect of the business, federal and state timber sales, contract logging for mills and other buyers, ground based and cable operations.

Most of my experience, and where I prefer to be, is in relationships with private landowners. I offer a turn key service, from the initial cruise to the post-harvest cleanup and planting, or clearing. Statistics generated by the Washington Contract Loggers Association (I am a member) show I represent a fairly typical logging operator in most categories. (age, assets, time in business, etc.)

I own land in King county. I have substantial timber on that land, as well as my residence. I manage the timber resource by selective logging, replanting and invasive specie control.

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Forestry in King County

Forestry in King County is dysfunctional. Land values realized from development versus forestry, regulatory complexity/ uncertainty and lack of forestry infrastructure discourage the practice of forestry in King County.
Forestry is different things to different people. Wikipedia defines forestry to include traditional wood products raw materials production, as well as wildlife habitat, open space, watershed management and other environmental attributes. Regardless of which perspective the reader subscribes to, there has to be realistic balance of economics and environment for forestry to remain viable.

The moderate environmental community has lately embraced logging. This isn’t because they suddenly love us. The timber wars, fought over the last 3 decades, have largely been won by interests wanting to see vastly less logging. They have done this by subjecting timber activities to endless process, regulatory and legal actions. Now many of these interests are finally realizing that killing off the industry is a major factor driving forestland conversion.

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Conserving Rural Forest Report Response

Ms. Stangell,

I read your report on actions required to conserve King County forests. I think the report is well done. I agree with much of the content but I take issue with some of it.

I have been in the forest products industry 36 years. I am a small operator specializing in logging and clearing for non-industrial landowners. Currently I have contracts and operations in two counties and DNR regions comprising approx 7MM board feet and 345 acres. I have been active in King County forestry affairs and other public policy and land use matters. I am President of the state executive board of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights and an elected King Conservation District supervisor. I ran for supervisor with two objectives in mind, fiscal responsibility and an increased forestry focus.

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