There’s always need for improvement and change. But lands commissioner is not a job for an extremist hoping to clear-cut hard-fought policy agreements, including forest-protection rules that are among the strictest in the nation. …
The job requires a pragmatic manager who respects DNR’s diverse constituencies, mediates between them and balances competing views on the best use of state lands.
Above all, the commissioner must continue to manage trust lands for the benefit of schools, universities and local governments. …
Trust land was preserved when the state was created in 1889. Land in every county was set aside to financially support K-12 schools, and additional land was provided to support other public institutions.
Under this program, enshrined in the state Constitution, 3 million acres continue to generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Since 1970, they have generated $8 billion for school construction, universities and county governments.
Clearly, trees will continue to grow and be harvested in Washington to provide lumber, paper and other products. The trust program is sustainable, environmentally sensitive and lucrative. Really, it’s like having a rich uncle who sends checks every year, helping to make ends meet.