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Trillium clearcut has a buyer

A 780-acre clearcut that was the site of South Whidbey's most recent anti-logging demonstration is going to have a new owner.

On April 2, Trillium Corporation, one of Washington's largest forestry companies, is expected to close a deal with an undisclosed Whidbey Island buyer. According to Todd Bitts, a real estate agent with Freeland's Coldwell Banker/Tara Properties who represents the potential buyer, there is an offer on the property, which is listed for a price of $2.4 million.

Located between Smugglers Cove Road and Mutiny Bay Road in the Freeland and Greenbank areas, the property was the site of some controversy in 1988 when Trillium clearcut the acreage. Clinton's Marianne Edain, who was one of the protesters, said the people who gathered at the site made one road into the property almost impassible by parking their cars there. In spite of the protests, the company logged the property successfully. It has retained ownership of the acreage since then.

The property is one of many Trillium is selling off. Randy Bartelt, a forester with the company, said Trillium is trying to consolidate its land holdings. He said the Freeland acreage is one of a number of "scattered" logging properties the company owns on Whidbey Island. It is no longer a priority for the company to hold onto lands like this for reforestation and future harvest, he said.

"We're trying to consolidate our forest lands," Bartelt said.

The current offer on the property is the only one in the offing, although Edain said she did have a conservation buyer who had expressed some interest in purchasing the land. John Chambers, a listing agent with Coldwell Banker Oak Harbor, said he has never heard from another interested party.

At present, the land is zoned rural forest. If it were to be developed, it could be used for homesites at a density of one house for every 10 acres. The acreage is in proximity to South Whidbey State Park.

No other information was available about the potential buyer. If the sale goes through, that information will become public record through the Island County Assessor's Office.

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