Pope Resources' North Kitsap Lands

What's your legacy going to be? 

 

Anticipated Timeline

 

2011

 

  • Signed an 18-month contract with Forterra on September 28, 2011 that enables Forterra to search for conservation funding to purchase as much land as possible from the OPG/Pope Resources North Kitsap holdings.

 

2012

 

  • Submit Port Gamble Town Plan [UPDATE: town plan was submitted on January 17, 2013]
  • Resume harvesting [UPDATE:  harvesting did not resume in 2012 due to conflicts with the community]

 

2013

 

  • January 17, 2013 - Port Gamble Redevelopment Plan was submitted to Kitsap County
  • Option contract with Forterra expires on March 28, 2013
  • Initiate bulk land sales
  • Initiate 20-acre lot sales

 

2014

 

  • Approval for the Port Gamble Town Plan
  • Conduct final dredging in Gamble Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Future: What will the future be?

Pope Resources has been a part of Kitsap County for nearly 160 years, and we pride ourselves on our commitment to the communities we live in and our stewardship of the land.

 

Since 2007, it's been our stated goal to divest our timber and real estate holdings in north Kitsap County.  We have participated in countless discussions, meetings and planning sessions to find a way to leave a lasting legacy of open space, trails and shorelines for the public to enjoy while fulfilling our business obligations to our company and its shareholders.

 

In 2010, we proposed the North Kitsap Legacy Partnership (NKLP), which would assist the public in acquiring and preserving more than 7,000 acres of land in north Kitsap County in exchange for revised development rights in and near the historic town of Port Gamble.  Similar ideas have been successfully implemented elsewhere to acquire and preserve public lands, not only in Washington State but broadly throughout the United States.  In order to facilitate discussions around the idea, we put a temporary hold on timber harvesting in Kitsap County.

 

The NKLP proposal had the support of the community at large, but not from key government officials, tribes, special interest groups, and agencies, and we were unable to shape a workable plan that balances the needs of the community and key stakeholders with those of the company.  As a result, we have essentially abandoned the NKLP and are moving forward with our long-standing goal of divesting our timber and real estate holdings in north Kitsap County.

 

We will continue to be open minded to new concepts and ideas, but need to be proactive in ensuring that our company's needs are being met.  We know that business decisions need not be mutually exclusive from community considerations, but our actions with respect to north Kitsap County have to make economic sense.  We would be foolish to think otherwise.  No matter which path is ultimately crafted, our exit will be characterized in the same way as our ownership - with high standards of stewardship and community-mindedness.

 

Our short-term goal is to own significantly less land in north Kitsap County by the end of 2015.  The following is an overview of our plans and an outline of our schedule for accomplishing that goal.

 

Forestlands and Real Estate

Most of our property in north Kitsap County has been and currently is managed for timber production.  This activity has served our community well by providing jobs and tax revenue for almost 160 years.  Like other kinds of agricultural lands, our tree farm is highly subject to land use patterns on surrounding properties.

 

More than 80,000 people now live in north Kitsap County and the population growth is projected to continue.  As more and more people move into the area around our lands, the ability to continue as a commercial forestry operation becomes more challenging.  This growth has increased land values in north Kitsap County, reinforcing our decision to liquidate these properties so we can acquire new timberlands elsewhere.

 

Additionally, real estate and timber markets are improving and are projected to do so through the middle of this decade.  The window of time to accomplish something is not indefinite, and we cannot miss the opportunity to accomplish our goals.

 

On September 28, 2011 we entered into an 18-month Option Agreement with Forterra that allows them the time to search for conservation funding to purchase as much land as possible from the OPG/Pope Resources North Kitsap holdings.

 

After the Forterra Option Agreement expires on March 28, 2013, we anticipate marketing and selling our real estate holdings in north Kitsap County for bulk or large parcel sales.

 

Additionally, we are going to proceed with a development plan in the town of Port Gamble that utilizes currently allowed zoning for expansion of the town's housing stock. [UPDATE:  the Port Gamble Redevelopment Plan was submitted to Kitsap County on January 17, 2013]

 

Environmental Clean-Up

Port Gamble and the sawmill that used to operate there created widespread community benefits.  The mill generated jobs and tax revenues for over 140 years and employed tribal and non-tribal peoples right up to its closing day.  Like many long-time industrial sites, Port Gamble also created its share of impacts to the environment.  Today the mill is gone and the area's environmental footprint is much cleaner than it was even 10 years ago.

 

Since 2002 we have enrolled the properties in the Voluntary Clean-Up program under the State of Washington's Department of Ecology.  To date, five landfills have been remediated, thousands of tons of contaminated soils and many underground storage tanks have been removed, and harmful sediments have been dredged from Gamble Bay.  We have participated for many years in a stakeholders group that includes state agencies and a local tribe that is nearing completion of this lengthy and very costly effort in early 2013.

 

Although recent laboratory work has indicated that Gamble Bay's ecology is undergoing very measurable improvements naturally, we are examining the potential need for additional dredging of wood-laden sediments near the mill site.  A final clean-up plan is being developed which we expect to implement in concert with receipt of approval for our town redevelopment plan.

 

Communications With Our Community

Communication and transparency are key components of our stewardship ethic, and we want to ensure that the people of Kitsap County and the thousands of others who regularly use our lands and Port Gamble are aware that the status of these properties is changing.