Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO), Conservation Northwest, and Washington Environmental Council are pleased that on March 3, 2021 the Washington Supreme Court granted direct review in Conservation NW, et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands et al., No.; 99183-9. This historic case asks the Court to interpret the plain terms of the Washington State Constitution providing that state forests are held in trust “for all the people.”
The organizations are urging the Court to hold that the plain terms “for all the people” and Washington’s unique federal land grant history authorize and require the State to manage these five million acres of state public lands not just for income maximization but also to consider factors like climate change (carbon sequestration), tribal treaty rights, clean water, habitat for threatened and endangered species, and other public benefits. At the same time as advancing this historic appeal, the organizations are also genuinely committed to working with the specific economic beneficiaries to ensure any reforms in how Washington’s state forests are managed will be sustainable, equitable, and fair to the communities who have been historically-dependent on the state forests.