[10/28/21] County Exploring Forest Products Campus
In the last 20 years there have been 53 wildfires of 1,000 or more acres in Chelan County. Most of the forest land is in the central to eastern part of the county, and is categorized as having a high or very high risk of forest fires. The county is searching to find a way to build better forest resilience, and one solution they’re looking at is to increase the use of prescribed burns and mechanical thinning of overcrowded young trees. They’re also exploring the building of what used to be called a sawmill – now called a forest products campus. Chelan County Natural Resources Director Mike Kaputa:
The Natural Resources Department has raised more than half a million dollars in federal, county and private dollars to explore its project. The county has been looking into it for several years, but it’s starting to gain steam with support from State Public Lands Commissioner Hillary Franz, and 8th District Congressperson Kim Schrier, who spoke to the U.S. Forest Service about it last month. Kaputa says there are a number of questions they’re looking for answers to:
Kaputa says the next step is to put together a task force of up to eleven leaders by the end of the year, and work through 2022 to come up with a plan.