Local forestland preserve to be named after Bellingham community activist Harriet Spanel

February 10, 2017 | By Washington House Democrats

OLYMPIA – Rep. Jeff Morris is pushing legislation in Olympia to name a proposed conservation area in the Chuckanut Range after long-time local legislator and community activist Harriet Spanel.

Morris (D-Mt. Vernon) said the tribute (HJM 4010) would be a lasting legacy to Spanel, who passed away last February.

“Harriet did so much for our district over her 22 years as a legislator, including protecting the Chuckanut, Blanchard and Lake Whatcom forestlands so that thousands of visitors each year can enjoy the area’s natural beauty and recreational activities,” Morris said.

Morris and his legislative seatmate, Rep. Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes), have been working for years to protect the Blanchard Forest from timber harvest while also maintaining timber revenue that goes to the county and local school districts.

Blanchard is currently part of the state Department of Natural Resources’ timber trust land, which is used to pay for schools and other local services. Morris and Lytton are advocating a number of ideas, including a land swap through DNR’s Trust Land Transfer program that would substitute other properties as revenue generators in place of Blanchard.

“We’re proud to continue Harriet’s fight to keep our wilderness areas intact,” Morris said. “Naming this core area after her is a fitting tribute to all she did throughout her career to make our region a better place to live.”