OLYMPIA – Rep. Jeff Morris’s bill to rename the Blanchard Mountain state forest in honor of local legislator and community activist Harriet Spanel past the state House of Representatives today on a bipartisan vote. It is the second time the measure has passed the House.
“Harriet did so much for our district over her 22 years as a legislator, including protecting the Chuckanut, Blanchard and Lake Whatcom forestlands so that thousands of visitors each year can enjoy the area’s natural beauty and recreational activities,” Morris said.
Morris and his legislative seatmate, Rep. Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes), have been working for years to protect the Blanchard Forest from timber harvest while also maintaining timber revenue that goes to the county and local school districts. Work started even earlier with a budget proviso passed in 2001 that looked at the recreational benefits of Blanchard Mountain – Sen. Harriet Spanel, Rep. Dave Quall and Rep. Morris drafted the proviso.
Blanchard is currently part of the state Department of Natural Resources’ timber trust land, which is used to pay for schools and other local services. Morris and Lytton recently secured $10 million in the capital construction budget to swap out other working forest land for Blanchard land so that it can be preserved from timber harvest.
“We’re proud to continue Harriet’s fight to keep our wilderness and recreational areas intact,” Morris said. “Naming this core area after her is a fitting tribute to all she did throughout her career to make our region a better place to live.”