Public to weigh in on forest conservation

A plan to retire the development rights on 18,000-to-25,000 acres of Green Diamond Resource Co. forestland in Mason County will be the subject of two public meetings next week.

Working with the Trust for Public Land, the Shelton-based timber company would permanently conserve the forestland in an area east of U.S. Highway 101 between Shelton and Belfair. The forests would be available for timber harvesting, but also increased public access, trails and recreation.

It means that at least 1,700 homes that could be built on the property under current zoning laws would never be built. One of the potential sources of funding to purchase the development rights on the property is the federal Forest Legacy Program.

The public open houses to discuss the Mason County Conservation Strategy are set for 5:30-7 p.m. on:

• April 15 at the Shelton Civic Center, 525 West Cota St., Shelton. * April 17 at the Theler Community Center, 22871 State Route 3, Belfair.