One of our region’s most beloved bodies of water is called Little Skookum Inlet. Why beloved?
Partly for its beauty. Partly for all the recreation it supports including paddling, hiking, horse-riding fishing, and hunting. And partly for the shellfish that thrive there. It’s wide and shallow channel and exceptionally pure waters are ideal for growing famously fat and delicious clams and oysters.
One of the defining features of Little Skookum is an 816-acre area of working forest and wetlands. With new people constantly arriving in the region, there’s an ever-present risk that developers will approach the owner of the forest, Port Blakely, asking them to sell. But they’ve owned the land for 150 years, and would like it to stay in forestry. So, too, would Taylor Shellfish and the other shellfish companies who depend on Skookum’s crystalline waters, which a healthy forest protects.
Port Blakely has a reputation as a principled steward of its lands. Company executives attribute it to being owned by a family that prioritizes sustainability, and indeed the Puget Sound Business Journal named it their 2019 Family Business of the Year. Port Blakely proudly practices forest stewardship, creating jobs in rural communities, providing carbon credits to local companies, and going above and beyond environmental regulations to protect wildlife.
For example, the company moved diligently to live up to the terms of the 2006 Forests & Fish Law, which required that private landowners remove poorly-designed stream culverts that interfere with the passage of salmon. At Kitchen Creek near Little Skookum the company took out the culvert, daylighted the stream, and built a bridge. The munificent troll above stands ready to greet returning fish.
Forterra and Port Blakely are working together to maintain Little Skookum’s working forest in perpetuity in exchange for a payment extinguishing future development rights and creating a permanent conservation easement. Thanks to the generosity of a large group of public and private donors, we’re almost to our goal, and have only $300,000 left to raise. Only together can we preserve critical habitat for shellfish and salmon and protect everything that makes Little Skookum so special.
You can contribute on our donation page! (Thank you!)