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Bellingham rally highlights goal to protect ‘legacy mature’ forests

RE Sources co-organized the rally with the Center for Responsible Forestry

Dave Upthegrove
Dave Upthegrove
By Hailey Hoffman Visual Journalist

More than 200 people gathered for the Rally to Protect Mature Forests on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Maritime Heritage Park. 

RE Sources co-organized the rally with the Center for Responsible Forestry with the aim to put pressure on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop logging and conserve “mature legacy forests” — forests that were last logged after 1945 and have naturally regenerated.

DNR doesn’t recognize the term “legacy forest,” but does have policies in place to protect old-growth stands, or stands where trees are older than 150 years. The “mature” and “old growth” classifications differ based on age, structure, biodiversity and other factors.

In Western Washington, there are 2.4 million acres of “old growth” forest — just a fraction of the 13 million total acres of forest in the region, according to a 2021 DNR presentation.

Rally speakers included King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, Whatcom County Councilmember Kaylee Galloway, founder of the Washington Forest Law Center Peter Goldman and Lummi Nation Master Carver Jewell James.

Members of DNR’s board were in town Tuesday for a retreat, where they learned about “working forests,” or forests managed for environmental stewardship, logging and recreation.

Reporter Julia Lerner contributed to this report.

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