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This proposal for lands reconveyance has just appeared on the major public screen. We need more information to either approve, disapprove, or modify such a proposal.

This two=page handout was distributed at the meeting of the Committee of the Whole of the Whatcom County Council, about 6:30PM on September 25th 2007. (note: the below text was distributed by County Employees, on plain paper, not attributed to any agency, office or person. OCR scanned by Beddill)

Proposed Re-conveyance of State Forest Lands
In the Lake Whatcom Watershed

Draft Framework

  1. Purpose of the transactions proposed in the Agreement
  2. Summary of the Agreement
  3. Background and current situation relevant to the Agreement
  4. Scope - description of the specific parcels involved
  5. Rationale for inter-grant exchange
    a. Current configuration and disadvantages
    b. Objectives to create more manageable blocks for the parties' respective purposes
  6. Requirements for inter-grant exchange
    a. valuation (including appraisal costs, etc.)
    b. balancing of values on the respective sides
    c. maps
    d. decision-making authority
  7. Rationale for re-conveyance of State Forest Trust lands for park purposes
    a. park purposes, including distinction from general multiple use of trust lands
    b. unique aspects of the situation for the Lake Whatcom watershed
    c. specific park intentions and elements related to specific parcels to be re-conveyed
    d. expectations for management of adjacent state trust lands
  8. Requirements for re-conveyance of State Forest Trust lands for park purposes
    a. Whatcom County request
    b. Action required by DNR, RCO, Board of Natural Resources, etc.
    c. Conformance to final inter-grant exchange
    d. Legal documentation and maps, including encumbrances, improvements, agreements obligations, retained rights, etc.
  9. Management issues for re-conveyed lands
    a. management obligations and costs
    b. disposition of any revenues received from management
    c. liabilities, encumbrances, hazards, etc.
    d. timber management
    e. obligations/rights retained by the State of Washington
    f. criteria for reversion of lands to the State of Washington
  10. Management issues for retained federally-granted trust lands and for Skagit County State Forest Trust lands in the watershed
    a. physical characteristics of retained land; benefits of working forest, revenue, watershed protection, and multiple use
    b. management direction from HCP and Policy for Sustainable Forest
    c. effects of retaining or not retaining the Lake Whatcom Watershed Landscape Plan
    d. agreements on specific management elements in support of park purposes on re-conveyed land (Eg: trail easements, multiple use, etc., but excluding management restrictions for scenic qualities beyond PSF)
  11. Status of Lake Whatcom Watershed Landscape Plan and potential future legislative action
  12. Proposed steps to implement the MOA
    a. Joint stakeholder outreach and communication plan
    b. Legal/transaction steps
    c. Due diligence steps
    d. Financing plan to carry out transactions
    e. Future legislative Strategy
    f. Decision-making requirements
  13. Effect on current beneficiaries of Whatcom County State Forest Land
  14. Proposed Timeline
  15. commitment by parties to proceed and complete agreed on actions
(note: the above text was distributed by County Employees, on plain paper, not attributed to any agency, office or person. OCR scanned by Beddill)

I asked for official attribution of this strange anonymous document, and I did get an answer from Michael McFarlane (forwarded by Pete Kremen).
To: (Pete Kremen),
Cc: (WC Council)
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 09:52:07 -0700

Pete Kremen
Whatcom County Executive

Dear Pete;

Regarding the possible reconveyance of forest land in the Lake Whatcom Reservoir watershed, recently in the news:........

Please give us some simple facts. At Council meeting on Sept 25th, I publicly asked several questions about this plan, which was quickly re-characterized as a "non-plan", only "discussions". These questions are now posted on the website: .

I now have two key questions directly to you, Mr. Kremen:

1) Who prepared the paper which was distributed at the Committee of the Whole meeting? It is a single page, printed two-sided, with about 15 numbered statements about this "non-plan". It is anonymous, not attributed to any person or any agency. I called this anonymous circumstance to the attention of you and the Director of the County Parks Department, during and just after the presentation. Who developed that handout?

2) Who has been involved in these discussions about reconveyance, during the last six months? Please name all the elected officials, all the government staffers, all the persons or groups who own or control land within the watershed, and all the citizens who have attended meetings or conversed with the principals in these discussions.

Some of them, we know or can reasonably assume (pending your reply):
Pete Kremen, Whatcom County Executive;
Doug Sutherland, WA State Lands Commissioner;
Dan McShane, Whatcom County Councilmember;
Dewey Dessler, your executive assistant;.........
...Who else?

Regards, and in the spirit of sunshine and disclosure;

Marian Beddill
cc: County Council
LakeWhatcom discussion list

The answer:
Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2007 11:13:30 -0700
From: "Pete Kremen"
To: Marian Beddill
Subject: Fwd: Who has been involved?- response
References: <>

>>> Michael McFarlane 10/1/2007 8:43 PM >>>
Marian: I'm responding to your questions at the request of and on behalf of the County Executive.

1) Regarding your first question pertaining to who developed the handout: The handout illustrating the items that would be required to form a framework for an agreement between the DNR and Whatcom County was crafted by DNR staff in Olympia and further refined by County Executive Kremen and Public Lands Commissioner Sutherland. The attached 2006 watershed map was from the Parks & Recreation Department and created from the County's own GIS data base.

2) Regarding your second question on who has been involved in the initial discussions: I have initiated most of the discussions over the past year that have included County Executive Kremen, Deputy Administrator Dewey Desler and our consultants Kaleen Cottingham and Miguel Perez-Gibson located in Olympia. Our most recent conversation with DNR staff in Olympia was with Bonnie Bunning and Craig Partridge. Pete Kremen, Dewey Desler, Doug Sutherland, Craig Partridge, Bruce Macky, along with myself and Bill Wallace (by phone) met on September 21st to discuss the above framework, timing and next steps. After that meeting we met briefly in Olympia with staff from the Washington State Association of Counties on the general direction we were pursuing to draft an agreement. Council Member McShane was not involved in the meeting with the DNR or WSAC. There were no other meetings besides our discussions with the County Council during development of the budget, nor have we facilitated talks with any local group, landowner or organization regarding a proposal.

Marion [sic], I hope this response is helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Michael McFarlane
Director Parks & Recreation

This still does not explain WHY this page was "anonymous"!

A map was also handed out.

click map for larger image -

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