To the Editor:
Bellingham’s proximity to outdoor areas is undoubtedly one our city’s most beloved advantages. Blanchard State Forest, located just south of Bellingham, is one of the most scenic places around. However, this forest is now being threatened by logging.
In 2007, a plan was formed to permanently protect a 1,600-acre tract of Blanchard Mountain from logging. However, an additional $7.7 million in funds is required in order to purchase this land. If the state Legislature does not donate the funds by the end of the 2017 legislative session, logging will begin in the core of Blanchard Mountain.
Blanchard Mountain is home to popular hikes such as Oyster Dome and Lily and Lizard lakes. Logging in the area would have serious impacts on local recreational opportunities. As the only place in Washington state where the Cascade Mountains meet the shoreline, the mountain is also ecologically valuable. It features stands of mature trees, a variety of wildlife and many types of native plants. The intrinsic value of Blanchard Mountain simply cannot be measured in board feet.
Logging in Blanchard Forest is an urgent issue for our community, and it deserves more publicity than it has been given. Blanchard Mountain needs your voice! For more information, see the Conservation Northwest website at http://www.conservationnw.org/what-we-do/forests/blanchard-mountain.
Danny Gibson is a junior at Sehome High School.