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Learn about planned Island Center Forest health work at Sept. 18 public presentation, upcoming forest walk

Summary

King County wants to improve the health of Island Center Forest by selectively thinning mature trees from a small portion of Vashon Island’s largest public forestland – and the public is invited to a Sept. 18 presentation and upcoming forest walk to learn more about what’s proposed.

Story

To help build a healthier forest, King County plans to selectively harvest crowded and spindly Douglas fir trees from a 10-acre portion of the 440-acre Island Center Forest.

King County Parks has scheduled a public presentation about the proposed forest-management action at the next Friends of Island Center Forest meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Vashon Land Trust, 10014 SW Bank Rd. A guided walking tour is being planned for later in September, when interested citizens can see the area where the thinning would occur.

The planned selective thinning is expected to last two weeks and be completed in late 2018 or early 2019. This work builds on previous projects in 2008 and 2014 to improve the health of portions of the forest that are crowded and overstocked with Douglas fir trees.

While the trees in the designated thinning area range in age from about 70 to more than 100 years old, their crowded condition has left these portions of the forest undersized and overstocked. Tall, skinny trees with small crowns are the norm in these areas.

Selectively thinning trees implements recommendations from the site's 2006 Forest Stewardship Plan and increases the growth rate of the most desirable trees. These types of forest stewardship actions also promote plant diversity by increasing light in the understory and enhances the forest’s value as fish and wildlife habitat. Forestlands scrub the air and store carbon – an essential component of King County’s efforts to combat climate change.

Island Center Forest is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, the nation’s most demanding forest-certification program, as a sustainably managed forest. The certification means trees harvested from the forest can carry the FSC label, a voluntary, market-based system similar to organic certification for farmers or food processors.

Island Center Forest is one of the most-popular outdoor recreation sites on Vashon-Maury Island and features more than 10 miles of trails for hiking and running, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.

For more information about the thinning and harvest work, contact David Kimmett, at 206-477-4573, or david.kimmett@kingcounty.gov.

RELEVANT LINKS:

• Island Center Forest
• 2006 Island Center Forest Stewardship Plan (PDF)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Doug Williams, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4543

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About King County Parks
King County Parks - Your Big Backyard - offers more than 200 parks and 28,000 acres of open space, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails, 215 miles of backcountry trails and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs.