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Teanaway River Protected (WA)

Posted: 10/04/2013
by Thomas O'Keefe

Earlier this week the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Forterra announced the purchase of 50,272 acres along the Teanaway River and its three forks to be designated as the Teanaway Community Forest. American Whitewater has long supported the conservation of these lands that are critical to river health.

The Teanaway acquisition is the largest single land transaction in Washington State in 45 years and reflects more than a decade of collaboration involving many organizations and individuals. The property will become Washington’s first Community Forest, a model designed to empower communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests that support local economies and public recreation.
 
Of importance to the whitewater paddling community, this acquisition will protect riverside lands, maintain water in the river, and keep the river open and accessible to the public. For many years the land had been threatened by development and in the arid landscape of eastern Washington any development would have severely stressed instream flows and increased pressure for water storage in the basin. The Teanaway is one of the few undammed and unregulated rivers in the Yakima watershed and the annual spring snowmelt brings fun class II+ boating with some great surfing spots as the river flows over bedrock ledges. Lands on river right along the main Teanaway River run will now be in public ownership and protected from development. In addition the put-in at the bridge just upstream of the confluence of the forks that was private land will be in public ownership. In addition to the protections for the main Teanway River run, the take-out for the less frequently boated North Fork Teanaway is also included in this transaction and will now be owned by the public.
 
For over a decade, Forterra, a statewide non-profit conservation and land stewardship organization, worked with the landowner, American Forest Holdings LLC (AFH), to negotiate a purchase and structure the sale. The Yakima Basin coalition advocated the importance of the acquisition to the state Legislature. Forterra and AFH signed a sale agreement in April, which Forterra assigned to DNR after state lawmakers appropriated $87 million for the purchase in the 2013-15 State Capital Budget. DNR supplemented that amount with a $10 million loan from its Real Property Replacement Account. The land was transferred to public ownership this week.
 
 
Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012


Associated Rivers