November 2022 Conservation Corner

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Nason Ridge Protected at Last!

By Ken Moore, Chairman

After four years of hard work, Western Rivers Conservancy, Chelan County, and Chelan Douglas Land Trust successfully created Nason Ridge Community Forest.

Washington’s newest community forest now spans 3,714 acres above Lake Wenatchee. It permanently protects two miles of Nason Creek and all of Kahler Creek, two outstanding salmon-bearing streams and critical sources of cold water for the Wenatchee River.

This landmark project has its roots in and owes its success to the people of Lake Wenatchee, who have tried to protect Nason Ridge for over two decades. The property is highly visible from around the lake and is home to a network of trails that connect to the neighboring Lake Wenatchee State Park. With some 60,000 people visiting Nason Ridge every year to hike, mountain bike, and cross-country ski, the property has long been part of the fabric of the community. But Nason Ridge was owned by the Seattle-based timber company Weyerhaeuser, and its future was uncertain for years.

In 2018 Western Rivers conservancy negotiated a deal to purchase Nason Ridge from Weyerhaeuser. They then held the property and joined forces with Chelan Douglas Land Trust, Chelan County, and the local community to raise funds to convey it to a steward that could keep the property intact and in public hands forever. That steward turned out to be Chelan County.

Following Western River Conservancy’s purchase of Nason Ridge, the partners raised over $6 million in public and private funding to convey the property to Chelan County and to underwrite its stewardship as a community forest and public recreation area, all while helping to protect and restore habitat.

Western River Conservancy conveyed the property to the county in April, beginning an exciting new chapter for Nason Ridge.

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