Thinning at Island Center Forest on hold while county searches for a bidder

King County officials will likely restructure a 90-acre logging proposal at Island Center Forest after they put out two bids for the project and got no takers.

The county announced plans last fall to hire a logging company to conduct two commercial thinnings at the popular recreational forest — a stand of a densely packed Douglas fir and a separate stand of large, aging alders. The thinning would represent the largest logging operation since King County took ownership of the forest, now 400 acres in size, from the state Department of Natural Resources seven years ago.

But no one submitted an offer when the county put out its bid packet to the timber community in April, said King County Forester Bill Loeber. A logger who hopes to win the bid to log several thousand board feet of timber from the Vashon Island School District’s forested campus next month said he might be interested in doing both jobs, so the county re-issued its bid last month. Again, Loeber said, no one responded, including the logger who had said he might be interested.

“It just didn’t pencil out,” Loeber said. “It’s not overly lucrative.”

The county will likely offer up the logging as a firewood sale, working with a firewood dealer, Loeber said. Or the county will try to pay someone to do the work.

The county wants the logging done for forest health, Loeber said. The alder stand isn’t critical, he said, but the Douglas fir stand needs thinning to allow other tree species to take root.

“It definitely would benefit the forest,” he said.


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