Community Forest Program Grant
Great Peninsula Conservancy, with the support of a coalition of community partners, is hoping to finalize the last project in the Kitsap Forest and Bay Community Campaign after more than a decade. A new grant opportunity would allow GPC to acquire the 487-acre North Kitsap Divide Block Community Forest. Funding for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO)’s new Community Forest Program Grant is proposed in the 2021-2023 state budget, with the legislature now in session. The RCO Funding Board ranked the following 15 applications and proposed funding at $22 million.
In Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed budget, the Community Forest Grant would only be funded at $9 million. Great Peninsula Conservancy recognizes that funding for the Newberry Woods Community Forest will not be possible under this grant but is advocating to include the North Kitsap Divide Block Community Forest and urging our local representatives to fund the program at $16 million.
The North Kitsap Divide Block Community Forest
The North Kitsap Divide Block Community Forest is the last remaining large block of private timberland in North Kitsap. Strategically located within a matrix of Department of Natural Resource State Trust Land, private forestland, GPC’s Grovers Creek Preserve, and Kitsap County heritage parks with active restoration logging programs, the 487-acre property is an ideal location for a community forest.
- The property’s good soils, ample moisture, road infrastructure, and moderate slopes gives it some of the best growing conditions in western Washington.
- It is also the future route of the regionally significant Sound to Olympics Trail, which will connect the Mountains to Sound Greenway with the Olympic Discovery Trail.
- A broad coalition of 30 community groups have expressed their support for the project as part of the larger Kitsap Forest and Bay Project.
- The property is owned by Rayonier and is highly threatened with conversion to 24 largelot residences.
- Once purchased, it will be managed as a community forest for wildlife habitat, recreation, and sustainable forestry.
The North Kitsap Community Forest would be actively managed, restored, and developed by Great Peninsula Conservancy with guidance from a citizen advisory board to benefit the local community and economy.
A Call to Action
Help save the North Kitsap Divide Block Community Forest from development!
Add your name to the letter and contact Kitsap County’s 23rd district legislators today to urge them to increase Inslee’s proposed funding for the Community Forest Grant Program to at least $16 million.