Thursday, March 27, 2014

Logging OK’d in 2004 may have exceeded approved boundary

By Mike Baker and Justin Mayo
Seattle Times staff reporters

Clear-cutting near site of fatal mudslide: In 2004, the state allowed logging company Grandy Lake Forest to clear-cut next to a sensitive area above the landslide-prone Hazel slope.  But it appears it crossed into the restricted area.  Seattle Times
TIMES WATCHDOG: A WA forest clear-cut nine years ago appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed on Saturday and took at least 16 lives.

A forest clear-cut nine years ago appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed Saturday.

A Seattle Times analysis of government geographical data and maps suggests that logging company Grandy Lake Forest cut as much as 350 feet past a state boundary that was created because of landslide risks.

The WA State Department of Natural Resources is supposed to verify a timber company’s proposed cut on the ground and then reinspect the site after the harvest has been taken.

State Forester Aaron Everett reviewed records on the issue Wednesday afternoon and said it appears that a portion of the clear-cut’s footprint extended into the sensitive zone. He said his agency was trying to locate records to show whether it inspected the site after it was logged.

“I was surprised,” Everett said. He will investigate further before concluding whether Grandy Lake went beyond the borders.

Grandy Lake officials have not returned calls seeking comment.  READ MORE

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