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Working resource lands benefit the public by providing food and wood products while helping to prevent flooding of rivers, protecting water quality, providing open space, offering passive recreation experiences, providing opportunities for research and education, and serving as a buffer between development and rural/natural resource industry areas. King County working resource lands consist of forests and farms ranging in size from just a few acres to more than 1,000 acres.

Working forest lands conserve tracts of forested property in the Rural Forest Focus Areas and the Forest Production District (FPD) that remain in active forestry, protect areas from development and/or provide a buffer between commercial forestland and adjacent residential development. Working forestlands are managed to balance sustainable timber production, conservation and restoration of resources, and passive recreational use. King County owns five working forest sites totaling about 3,050 acres. In addition, the Natural Resource Lands program manages easements on more than 94,000 acres of privately owned forests. These easements have removed development rights from these properties to ensure that these sites remain as working forests in the long term (note: these lands remain privately owned). The programmatic plan for working forests (Acrobat PDF) describes general policies for site management.

Taylor Mountain forest photo
Taylor Mountain Forest is an excellent example of working to obtain a balance of sustainable timber production, conservation and restoration of resources, and passive recreational use. Taylor Mountain Forest comprises 1,822 acres near the community of Hobart. There are two major tributaries of Issaquah Creek, Holder and Carey Creeks, which provide over five miles of spawning and rearing habitat for six species of salmon; and more than 75 wetlands. The majority of the forest is less than 60 years old, and two-thirds of the forest is red-alder. King County conducted a forest harvest on the property in 2004, removing approximately 60 acres of the mature alder. There are 33 trails covering approximately 10 miles, and the site is used extensively by equestrians.

King County-owned farms protect lands threatened by urban development in the Agriculture Production Districts (APDs) and provide an opportunity for small-scale and beginning farmers to enter the local agricultural market. King County is committed to preserving agricultural lands near the urban growth boundary because of their high production capabilities, proximity to markets, and value as open space that serves as an urban separator. King County owns six farms totaling 240 acres.

Working resource lands in King County

Mitchell Hill Connector

Island Center forest

Ring Hill

Sugarloaf Mountain forest

Taylor Mountain forest