Washington has a new community forest to celebrate, thanks to grantee Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC). WRC spent the past four years working in partnership with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to purchase 3,714 acres of land and then transfer it to Chelan County for permanent stewardship.
The Nason Ridge property is located on the shores of Lake Wenatchee and two miles of Nason Creek where it provides fish and wildlife habitat. Previously owned by the timber company Weyerhaeuser, the community had desired a permanent protection for years. In 2018, WRC purchased the land and held it while working with its partners to raise the funds needed to transfer the property to Chelan County. In 2022, WRC completed the transfer to the county, which will keep the property intact and in public hands forever. This success builds upon WRC’s previous riverland conservation efforts on Nason Creek, as well as ongoing restoration efforts focused on improving salmon and steelhead habitat.
Nason Ridge is home to a wide range of fish and wildlife. Bull trout, spring chinook, and steelhead all can be found swimming in the creek. Northern spotted owls, grizzly bears, gray wolves, and Roosevelt elk are just some of the species of wildlife that will gain from this newly protected land.
The new community forest at Nason Ridge is a big win for outdoor recreationists. The area forms a significant part of the Lake Wenatchee viewshed, and it is used year-round by cross-country skiers, hikers, and mountain bikers, who use the network of trails that link up to neighboring Lake Wenatchee State Park.
With the completion of WRC’s transfer of Nason Ridge to the county, fish, wildlife, and humans will all benefit from the newly protected forest and its clean air and waters. This is a success for the community and for the future generations who will be able to explore and appreciate this special place.