(Seattle) — This year marks the 25th year of Forterra’s commitment to conservation of habitat in the upper Snoqualmie Watershed. Over that time, Forterra has worked with persistence and innovation to conserve nearly 100,000 acres in the area through more than a dozen transactions involving private landowners, multiple government agencies and the nonprofit.
One of Forterra’s proudest accomplishments in 2023 was ensuring an additional 600 acres – the largest remaining inholding within the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area – was transferred to Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for management. The acquisition completed last spring fulfills a long-standing, published DNR conversation plan. The property, known as Bessemer Mountain, was purchased from the Hoenig family, and funded through the state Recreation and Conservation Office’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
“Forterra is here to close critical gaps – like Bessemer Mountain – in conservation landscapes,” said Forterra CEO Michelle Connor. “Support from our donors allows us to take the time, care and creativity to find solutions for the hardest conservation transactions.”
The property includes alpine forests ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation and provides habitat connectivity between the Mount Si NRCA and the USDA Forest Service lands. This acquisition was the second phase to a successful 2003 acquisition, also facilitated by Forterra, between the Hoenig family and DNR. That acquisition resulted in 597 acres, including three spectacular alpine lakes – Lake Nadeau, Lake Moolock, and SMC Lake – being added to the NRCA. As part of this year’s transaction, the Hoenig family also renounced granite mining rights that had been retained from the 2003 transaction.
Mount Si is a popular destination for hikers and was one of DNR’s first NRCAs to be established in 1987. It was designated to protect numerous natural resources including outstanding geologic features, examples of old growth forest, wildflower communities and habitat for mountain goat and other wildlife species. Now, the NRCA protects more than 14,000 acres of forestland, including Bessemer Mountain, Mount Si, Little Si and Mount Teneriffe.
Forterra works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions.