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Logging company to start work at county campground

COUPEVILLE — Island County Commissioners approved a contract for selective logging at Rhododendron County Park Campground.

Though the cutting proposal had been controversial when first proposed – some questioned whether tree cutting would hurt the park’s signature plant, or lead to the loss of old growth trees — the logging contract was unanimously approved Monday with little discussion and no public comment.

Before the vote, Commissioner John Dean asked if the logging operation would be properly supervised by county workers.

“There’s still some concern out there that somebody from the county needs to be there to supervise,” Dean said.

Lee McFarland, the county’s interim parks superintendent, said there would be oversight of the logging.

He also said that an old-growth tree near the property line of the county campgrounds would be removed, if possible, because it poses a hazard to private property next to the county park.

“If we can remove it without endangering the neighboring property, we will,” McFarland said.

The commissioners approved a no-bid contract not to exceed $4,000 with Washington Timberland Management, Inc. The Olympia-based logging company will be in charge of the thinning operation.

The logging contract did not go out for bid because it was less than $10,000.

County officials said earlier that tree thinning at the campground was needed to keep the forest healthy. Public safety was also a prime concern, and county officials were worried hazard trees might fall and hurt visitors to the park.

The thinning effort was criticized earlier this year by residents, however, who said too many trees had been marked for logging, and some of the trees tagged did not appear hazardous.

Community Events, April 2014

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