The state Department of Natural Resources is adding 630 acres to its growing forest lands near Lake Cavanaugh.

The state agency announced this week that it is preparing to buy the property northwest of the lake from private timber company Weyerhaeuser for $1.65 million.

The 630 acres will be added to a block of forest land in the area Natural Resources is calling Mount Washington, Trust Land Transfer Project manager Robert Winslow said.

It’s near two other large blocks of forest lands: an area called Deer Creek and the regionally well-known Walker Valley, which includes access for off-road vehicle recreation.

The addition will bring Natural Resources lands encircling the Lake Cavanaugh area to about 61,400 acres.

The new 630-acre piece of land will be put into the state’s Land Bank, which allows Natural Resources to provide timber revenue to trust beneficiaries, according to a news release. Winslow said this property is being purchased to replace trust lands that were sold or transferred out of trust status elsewhere in the state.

The new Lake Cavanaugh area trust lands will also be managed for public access similarly to those nearby. Winslow said that means walk-in, nonmotorized recreation is allowed, including hiking, hunting, fishing, berry picking and photography.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who oversees Natural Resources, said in the news release that creating large tracts of land in certain areas like near Lake Cavanaugh is advantageous.

“By putting our lands into bigger blocks — instead of smaller, disconnected parcels — they are easier to manage, generate more money for our schools, and provide richer recreational opportunities,” she stated.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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