Goss Lake Woods transfer to county seems guaranteed

State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen's office notified constituents last week on Whidbey Island that the conversion of 600 acres of woods on Lone Lake Road to a county park is all but guaranteed.

According to Randy Acker, a legislative liason for the state Department of Natural Resources, the land -- which is known as the Goss Lake Woods -- is definitely on a land transfer list and is destined to become an Island County park. He passed that information on to Haugen's office last week, information that was then relayed to constituents.

As late as two weeks ago the woods' future was undecided. On a transfer list with the DNR, the woods was not guaranteed to be turned over to Island County due to a possible shortfall in funds.

Acker said he received assurances from the DNR last week that the property would go to the state's Board of Natural Resources as a transfer recommendation. At this point, he said, he cannot imagine the transfer being denied.

"Judging from past experience, I'm not aware of the board every looking at them and saying 'no,' " he said.

Evert Challstedt, a DNR spokesman, said last week his agency received more than 100 letters during the past week from Whidbey Islanders who support the transfer. The Board of Natural Resources will make its decision on June 3. Challstedt said that with this sort of support, he believes island residents will get what they want. "I think it will be very good news."

The Goss Lake Woods has long been in a state program under which state-owned timber lands are used to generate money for school construction. The DNR considers the woods to be unproductive in terms of generating this funding.

Money from the state's general fund will be used to compensate the DNR for the land and timber it will turn over to Island County.

Island County Commissioners have stated their intention to turn the heavily trailed woodland into a county park as recently as last week in a letter to the DNR.

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